Electric car company tries to bail out Saab

saab phoenix concept pictures 04 pressApparently, some cars are just too good to die. After a tortured existence under General Motors and a short period of independence, Swedish car company Saab finally went under last December. Chinese company Youngman Lotus tried unsuccessfully to acquire Saab’s assets, but now a new electric car company is picking off where Youngman left off.

National Electric Vehicle Sweden is trying to give Saab a last minute reprieve, and its timing could not be better. The company has only been registered with the Swedish government since earlier this week, but it is now the lead bidder for Saab’s assets. Since National Electric Vehicle Sweden is so new, it is hard to tell what its plans are. To add to the mystery, the company is backed by an Asian conglomerate; 245 of the 500 shares are owned by Sun Investments, an outfit from either Japan or China. “We don’t know if it’s a Chinese or a Japanese company behind this conglomerate,” TTELA, the newspaper of Saab’s hometown, Trollhattan, told Autocar, “Nobody has really a picture of what kind of resources they have or what their intentions are, besides the fact that they want to produce electric vehicles.”

The remaining shares are owned by Mikael Kubu, president of Swedish law firm Ac-Gruppen. Karl-Erling Trogen, former head of Volvo trucks, is reportedly involved with the company.

If the deal goes through, National Electric Vehicle Sweden will own one of the quirkiest, and most troubled, names in automobiledom. “Born from jets” and, according to Top Gear, “driven by architects,” Saabs have never been normal.

Saab started out making small, front-wheel drive cars powered by two-stroke engines, and then built the turbocharged 900 sport sedan that was every yuppie’s delight.

The company was bought by GM in 1989, and every car it made after that was based on someone else’s. The second-generation 900 and 9-3 were based on the Opel Vectra, and there was also the Chevy Trailblazer-based 9-7x. Nonetheless, GM managed to include traditional Saab design cues, such as a “night panel” that turned off all dashboard lights except the speedometer’s, and having the ignition on the center console.

GM divested itself of Saab as part of its post-bankruptcy reorganization. The Swedish carmaker found a savior in Victor Muller, owner of Dutch boutique car company Spyker. Saab introduced the new, GM-designed, 9-5 sedan and 9-4x crossover, but those two cars were not enough to keep the company afloat. Youngman Lotus and another Chinese company tried to acquire Saab, but GM blocked the deal and subsequent negotiations went nowhere.

If National Electric Vehicle Sweden wins its bid, it could revive Saab, or just use its assets (factories, etc.) to produce its own cars. GM has not licensed any of its designs to the Swedish upstart, so restarting production of any existing Saab model would be impossible.


It’s not easy being green. Why EVs have a long road to replace gas vehicles

Electric vehicles are all the rage right now, but are they really better than your average gas-powered car? We take a look at the advantages and disadvantages of the technology, and whether or not they're ready for mass adoption.

The best smart helmets are full of cool tech, and totally worth the messy hair

Helmets might be a haircut's worst nightmare, but they're constantly evolving, and have undergone a 21st-century makeover. No matter your sport, here are the best smart helmets currently on the market.

Kia draws inspiration from Greek mythology to create a crossover for millennials

Kia will expand its global portfolio of crossovers and SUVs when it unveils a model named Seltos on June 20, 2019. Developed for milennials, the Seltos is a small, high-tech model named after the son of Hercules.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Plant-based shoes and a ukulele learning aid

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!

Don’t let the SUV bodies fool you, BMW’s X3 M and X4 M are bona fide M cars

BMW is launching the first M versions of its X3 and X4. The 2020 X3 M and X4 M Competition pack a new 503-horsepower 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged inline-six and BMW’s usual array of performance tech.

After years of Le Mans misfortune, Toyota becomes impossible to beat

Toyota scored a one-two finish at the 2019 24 Hours of Le Mans, its second win a row at the legendary French race. Toyota is the first Japanese automaker to win Le Mans twice, but its wins came without any real competition.

Intel hates that your car is dumber than your phone. Here’s how they’ll fix it

Motorists are often underwhelmed and/or frustrated with their car's native infotainment system, so millions of them rely on Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. Intel is helping Google and Volvo change that by bringing phone-like tech to the…

Uber drivers reportedly triggering higher fares through Surge Club

Uber drivers are reportedly participating in a so-called Surge Club to artificially trigger higher fares. Many drivers said that they do not want to join the shady practice, but they are forced to do so due to pay cuts.

Fisker wants to make sure Tesla’s Model Y isn’t in a class of one when it lands

Fisker Inc. plans to launch an electric SUV with a base price of under $40,000, and a range of around 300 miles in 2021. The unnamed vehicle could compete with the Tesla Model Y, if it ever gets into production.

Could a high-performance Nissan Leaf steal the mighty GT-R’s lunch money?

Nissan developed the electric Leaf with range and practicality in mind, but the hatchback could lend its hardware to a high-performance flagship. One of Nissan's chief executives announced a four-motor, 850-hp model could arrive during the…

Forget turrets. Hummer could fight its next war in the electric SUV segment

General Motors is considering resurrecting the Hummer brand it axed in 2010 to make electric off-roaders. The plan hasn't been approved yet, and it risks alienating some die-hard Hummer fans, but it makes sense on several levels.

This futuristic driverless pod will soon be delivering pizza in Texas

Pizza delivery using driverless pods is about to become a thing. Domino's has partnered with autonomous-tech specialist Nuro to use the futuristic pods for a trial delivery service starting later this year.

The flat-six makes a brief but triumphant return in Porsche’s hot-rodded 718 duo

Porsche unveiled a pair of 718-based sports cars that brazenly buck the industry's downsizing trend. The 718 Cayman GT4 and the 718 Spyder ditch the turbocharged flat-four in favor of a naturally aspirated, 4.0-liter flat-six rated at 414…

Waymo at last fires up the self-driving smarts of the Jaguar I-Pace

A year after inking a deal with Jaguar to use its I-Pace crossover for its self-driving program, Waymo has started testing the electric vehicle in autonomous mode with a view to adding it to its driverless ridesharing service.