As one takeover bid fails, another contender enters the arena
By John Silcox on May 27, 2012 10:59 AM
Saab vehicles may proudly display a lion on its badge but the bankrupt company could soon have more in common with a phoenix, if reports are to be believed.
According to articles on automobile blogs, the iconic Swedish brand could rise from the ashes and be reborn as an electric vehicle specialist, thanks to a Japanese/Chinese consortium.
The consortium, that is thought to include a battery manufacturer keen to expand its interests, is backing a company called National Electric Vehicle Sweden to take-over what is left of the manufacturer. The company was only created on Monday 21 May and is directed by ex-Volvo Trucks CEO Karl-Erling Trogen. It is now the leading bidder for the takeover after Youngman Motors of China pulled out of the deal on Thursday 24 May.
The saga of the Saab takeover has now become a long drawn-out affair since the company filed for bankruptcy on the 19 December 2011. At the time, there was talk of Saab being rescued by Chinese investment but this fell apart after General Motors opposed it. GM owned Saab before selling it to an investment group in 2009 and many of the components in its new models were taken from the American giant.
At the 2010 Paris motor show, Saab unveiled the 9-3 ePower electric vehicle concept (pictured) which promised an impressive range of 125 miles. A test fleet began production in China in 2011 but because of the company’s financial difficulties, the full trial was never started.
If this latest takeover bid is successful, the 9-3 is likely to be Saab’s first production car in its new guise.