by Jo Borrás
Fans of quirky Swedish design have a lot to celebrate this week, as Saab has rises from the ashes of GM’s bankruptcy and begun production of its 9-3 sedan once again!
The first new Saabs began rolling off the company’s Trollhätten assembly line last week, and news of progress on the company’s EV front came over the weekend. You can read about both news items, below, in articles that originally appeared on our sister site, Gas 2.
New Saab Begins Production
After years of rumors and speculations of the will they/won’t they variety, a brand-new Saab 9-3 has – finally! – managed to roll down the assembly line! Don’t be fooled by the fact that this new Saab looks just like the 2009 models the company was building when it was spun off from GM’s bankruptcy, however. This car features all-new components designed by Saab engineers and manufactured in Trollhättan, Sweden.
Saab, now owned by the National Electric Vehicle Sweden company, promised its new cars would reach production in 18 months. That was in September of 2012, so they’re about 6 month ahead of schedule. That on-track message puts NEVS-owned Saab in a decidedly different league than faux car-makers like Detroit Electric and Elio Motors, who’ve spent more time justifying delays than they have building cars.
Saab’s back, baby! All we need now is a new Saab 900 revival and we’ll really be in business!
The first new Saab of the NEVS era rolled off the company’s Trollhätten assembly line in Sweden last week, getting the ball rolling on one of the biggest post-bailout era automotive success stories. Inside EVs is reporting that these first new-era Saabs, which are gasoline-powered and not the upcoming “Saab ePower” electric model, are being built for sale to government agencies in China and to get any bugs in the new assembly process “worked out” before commercial sales of the EVs restart.
Meanwhile, the core of the new Saab ePower line – the NEVS lithium-ion phosphorus cell battery packs – are reportedly wrapping up development in Japan and are on-track for delivery to Saab’s Swedish assembly line sometime early next year, in time for NEVS and Saab to start putting electric 9-3s and, hopefully, 9-5s on the road in time for the 2015 model year.
We’ll have more updates on the new Saab ePower 9-3′s production timeline, and whether or not Saab will pull the trigger on electric/hybrid concepts like the Saab Phoenix coupe or a new Saab 900 Phoenix model, in the coming weeks and months. Stay tuned!