No, Saab isn't risen from the dead--yet anyway. But the company that bought the automotive brand after its collapse, NEVS
(National Electric Vehicle Sweden AB), has re-started production
for the purpose of validating the Trollhättan plant's functionality as of today. So far, a single pre-production model of the 9-3-based electric car is all that has been built.
The news is rather remarkable given that NEVS only purchased Saab's assets in 2012. The company has been consistently aggressive in setting goals, however, stating it would have an electric version of the 9-3 ready for sale in late 2013 or early 2014
. Today's test of production indicates the company may be on schedule.NEVS' announcement
of the milestone was, by auto industry standards, incredibly terse, however. NEVS acting president Mattias Bergman, in a written statement, said, "I am pleased that today we have assembled our first car to verify all the production processes here in Trollhättan. Prior to our decision to start production of Saab cars, we need to finalize a few remaining dialogues to build partnerships with suppliers. We now know that the plant is ready for production."
Nestled in the brief announcement is a giant mire of uncertainty: the need to finalize partnerships with suppliers. Whether that finalization involves the simple negotiation of quantities, dates, and specifications, or the acquisition of capital to purchase the supplies isn't clear.
Whatever the reasons for the hold-up, the Trollhättan plant won't be the main source of production volume should NEVS manage to get its electric 9-3 into full swing; the plan is to begin in Sweden, then ramp up volume in China.
At any rate, we're happy to see the Saab badge back on a new car, even if it is a pre-production example of an old one.