Saab's new owner is maintaining its plans to re-start sales of the brand in 2014, but it's not ruling out an earlier coming-out party.
National Electric Vehicle Sweden (NEVS), which acquired the iconic but bankrupt Swedish automaker this summer, is about 18 months away from debuting an all-electric vehicle based on the Saab 9-3 platform, which will start sales in China, the Swadeology blog reported, citing an interview with NEVS' Mikael Östlund. After re-launching the 9-3-derived car as an EV, NEVS will work on finishing development of an electric-powered vehicle on the so-called Phoenix platform.
Still, Östlund, who insisted that the 9-3-platformed vehicle would have a redesigned interior and exterior, didn't rule out re-launching the 9-3-derived model in gas-powered form next year in order to bring in some cash flow and ensure that consumers didn't forget about the brand. Additionally, NEVS, which has started talks with a number of former Saab contractors, plans on making the car at the Saab factory in Trollhattan, Sweden, and producing the batteries in China. Either way, the executive said the 9-3 EV will be the "first premium electric vehicle produced in volume."
Earlier this month, the Dutch version of Autoweek reported that NEVS may bring back the 9-3 convertible within 18 months, and that the car may be powered by an electric motor.