After the National Electric Vehicle Sweden (NEVS) consortium purchased Saab earlier this year, few auto industry analysts thought the world would ever see a true Saab again in both name and design. Those fears have been temporarily allayed as rumors of a Saab 9-3 Convertible EV hit the web.
After GM (former owner of Saab) launched a series of lawsuits blocking NEVS from producing vehicles in China for fear of leaking design secrets, it was unclear if NEVS would even be allowed to use Saab designs, let alone the Saab nameplate. Recently, NEVS was granted full use of Saab’s Sweden-based testing grounds, assembly plant and tools, opening the door for the re-birth of old Saab models.
According to Dutch site Autoweek.nl, the first Saab in the pipeline will be a 9-3 EV. Rather than designing a new vehicle from scratch, NEVS has opted to re-appropriate the aging 9-3 platform as an electric vehicle with convertible, sedan, and wagon versions in the works.
Excitingly, the Saab Phoenix platform has also been pushed into development just behind the 9-3. The Phoenix — unlike the nearly decade-old 9-3, which was based upon the Vectra from German automaker Opal — is state-of-the-art.
We urge stateside Saab fans not to get too excited by the 9-3 EV news. The reasons are threefold: The old 9-3 platform probably won’t make for a great EV as battery packs will likely dominate an already small interior space. Additionally, given NEVS current financial state, the 9-3 will be a small production volume vehicle. And, lastly, is not likely bound for the US.
If Saabs of old were born from jets, the new NEVS Saabs will be born from older, modified jets originally designed by the Germans in the 1990s and discarded by the Americans in the 2000s.