Saab Owner NEVS Close To Reaching Deal With India’s Mahindra: Report

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Saab 9-3 EV electric prototype shown by NEVS, 2014

Saab 9-3 EV electric prototype shown by NEVS, 2014

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Earlier this month, cash-strapped Saab owner National Electric Vehicle Sweden (NEVS) asked a Swedish court to extend the period for its restructuring so that it could finalize a deal with a new investor. NEVS said at the time that it was in talks with two Asian firms, which court documents have now confirmed to be India’s Mahindra and China’s Dongfeng.

The documents, which were obtained by the Financial Times, show that Mahindra, a major manufacturer of tractors and SUVs, is close to signing off on a deal that will see it become the majority owner of NEVS and in the process the owner of Saab.

Mahindra has been attempting to source an internationally recognized brand for several years and was a bidder for Saab prior to the Swedish automaker’s eventual sale to NEVS two years ago. Other brands that Mahindra has bid on in the past include Aston Martin, Jaguar Land Rover and Ssangyong, the latter of which it managed to acquire in 2010.

Mahindra is believed to be seeking a brand where it can market a premium SUV. Its chief, Anand Mahindra, previously told the Financial Times that his company needs to acquire brands to be able to grow rapidly.

"We need brands, because the one thing you cannot build, if you want to grow globally at least—something that can take a lifetime, and we are in a hurry—is brands," Mahindra is quoted as saying during a 2013 interview.

Mahindra may have another reason for teaming up with NEVS and turning around Saab. The company is a key proponent of vehicle electrification—it even has a team in the Formula E Championship—and one of the goals of NEVS is to launch battery-powered Saabs. Pictured above is a battery-powered Saab 9-3 prototype NEVS presented prior to its restructuring.

Stay tuned for an update.


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