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Auto blogWed, 14 Nov 2012 13:29:00 EST
Do you believe in reincarnation? Like how we hope that, maybe, all of our hard work as auto writers will result in an eventual return as a swarm of beautiful butterflies. If you are a Saab fan, the equivalent could be this bit of news: The 9-3 Convertible may rise again, as an electric vehicle.
Word comes from the Dutch version of Autoweek that Chinese entity National Electric Vehicle Sweden (NEVS) has indicated that it will bring an electric version of the 9-3 Convertible to market in the next 18 months. The EV droptop would first debut in the Chinese market, but could expand, as could the lineup to other 9-3 variants, such as the sedan and SportCombi. A NEVS spokesperson has stated, "NEVS basically no doors holds." We're not sure if that's the spokesperson or the translation from the Dutch report, but you get the gist.
NEVS also indicated that conventionally powered versions of the 9-3 could be produced as well. The internal combustion engines could be the originally intended General Motors engines. Regardless of powerplant, we would be very eager to see Saab return, potentially as an EV to boot!
It's ironic that Saab's current vehicle architecture is called the Phoenix platform, because like the mythological bird, the company keeps returning from the ashes. That's right, the embattled Swedish automaker isn't completely dead yet. Again. Actually, it may be facing yet another buyout, and this time, the buyer may be from India.
Less than a month ago, the situation looked ominous for Saab. National Electric Vehicle Sweden, the carmaker's current owner, temporarily shut down 9-3 production at its Trollhättan factory not long after restarting it in the first place. According to Just Auto, it laid off about 100 consultants allegedly linked to problems making June payroll, as well. At the time, Saab claimed that the measures were temporary, and it was negotiating selling part ownership to another automaker.
Those assertions might have some truth behind them, it seems. Indian newspaper The Economic Times reports that Mahindra & Mahindra and an unnamed Asian automaker are negotiating with NEVS to purchase part of the company. It claims that the Indian automaker sees Saab as an opportunity to add a premium brand to its business.
National Electric Vehicle Sweden, the new owner of Saab, has good news for you if you happened to miss out on picking up a 9-3 before the company plummeted through bankruptcy. Automotive News Europe reports NEVS may offer a gasoline-powered 9-3 in 2013. That move would effectively step up the brand's re-launch plan by a full year. Originally, the company planned to introduce an electric vehicle in 2014, but NEVS is currently investigating ways to start production next summer using "a 9-3 with a traditional powertrain" in order to generate more cash for the electrification effort.
NEVS purchased Saab earlier this year with the intent of resurrecting the brand with a fully electric product portfolio. The new EVs would theoretically ride on the Saab Phoenix platform and be manufactured at the automaker's plant in Trollhattan, Sweden. The report of a resurrected gasoline model came courtesy of Mikael Oestlund, a company spokesperson familiar with the company's workings.