China's Evergrande Group, a key investor in U.S.-based Faraday Future, announced Tuesday it has acquired a controlling stake in NEVS, the Chinese-backed, Swedish company born out of the ashes of Saab.
In a statement, Evergrande said it acquired 51 percent of NEVS in a quest to diversify into the auto industry. The remaining shares are owned by companies controlled by NEVS founder Kai Johan Jian.
Evergrande is one of China's biggest companies with operations in the health, real estate, tech and tourism sectors. Its foray into the auto industry got off to a rocky start with an initial investment in Faraday Future.
That initial deal went sour last October, with Evergrande holding back funds due to unmet milestones and Faraday Future accusing Evergrande of trying to gain its intellectual property. The two worked it out last December, with Evergrande agreeing to purchase 32 percent of Faraday Future.
Production of first NEVS 9-3 at plant in Tianjin, China is celebrated
For those unfamiliar with NEVS, it is the company that bought the assets of bankrupt Saab in 2012 and attempted to revive the brand as an electric car company. Unfortunately, NEVS lost the right to use the Saab name, which is actually owned by the Saab aerospace company, and thus introduced its own eponymous brand. The first model from NEVS is an electric version of the last Saab 9-3.
NEVS currently has vehicle plants in Trollhättan, Sweden, and Tianjin, China, and the company is building a third in Shanghai, China. NEVS's next model might be an electric version of the last Saab 9-3X.
The new injection of funds from Evergrande will help NEVS with its ambitious plans to eventually develop a family of electric cars including sedans and crossovers, as well as self-driving cars. Sales will take place in China and Sweden initially, but the plan is to eventually expand sales to the rest of Europe and even the United States.
As for Faraday Future, the company has completed development of its first model, the FF91 crossover, and is hoping to start deliveries in the first half of 2019.