Saab story: NEVS pushes back plans for Saab 9-3 EV, moves production to China

2012 Saab 9-3 Sport Combi

Beware of zombie Saabs.

National Electric Vehicle Sweden (NEVS), the conglomerate that bought Saab last year, is finally ready to restart production. The new owners plan to continue production of the 9-3 in China and follow it up with an electric version, Autocar reports.

This is a bizarre twist to an already bizarre story. When Spyker Cars failed to keep Saab’s doors open, a group of Chinese and Japanese investors under the NEVS banner purchased the remains of the company, including Saab’s Trollhattan factory and the rights to build the 9-3, with the stated purpose of building an electric car.

NEVS originally intended to start selling an EV based on the 9-3 in 2014, but now it seems the company will move ahead with internal combustion versions as well.

Those cars also won’t be built in Sweden, as NEVS originally stated. Instead, they’ll be built in Qingdao, China as part of a deal with the city government, which now owns 22 percent of the company.

According to Autocar, NEVS owns the rights to the Saab name. That means the cars built in China may wear Saab badges, although fans will probably wish the company had just stayed dead.

When the 9-3 went out of production in 2012, it was already a dated design. Based on General Motors’ mediocre Epsilon platform, it had been in production since 2002 and received a facelift in 2008. It was sold as a sedan, convertible, and “Sport Combi” wagon.

In addition, the resurrected 9-3 will likely only be available in China. Its continued existence will help satisfy the Chinese government’s desire to put more electric cars on the road, but it will be too crude for other markets.

The desire for quantity over quality is the only logical reason for a company to acquire a dated car and shift production to China. NEVS’ decision to build conventional versions of the 9-3 before starting EV production shows that it is even having trouble with that slapdash plan.

It looks like Saab is destined to be an automotive zombie; a mere shadow of its former self.

Photography

2018 was a terrific year for new cameras. Here are our favorites

This year, we saw the unveiling of several exciting new cameras. We look back at our favorite models -- each delivering something unique, yet all are powerful and feature-rich. Camera fans, rejoice!
Deals

This MasterClass Bogo gets you classes from Gordon Ramsey, Helen Mirren, and more

MasterClass is bringing back its buy one, gift one promotion. Through midnight on December 27, you can purchase an All-Access Pass for $180 and gift a second pass to a friend or loved one at no additional cost.
Product Review

It's not just light. Alienware's m15 is an entirely new breed of gaming laptop

Thin and light gaming is a new category of laptop, led by options like the Razer Blade. Alienware now has its own entry -- The Alienware m15. It’s not the thinnest, lightest, or sleekest option in the bunch, but it doesn’t hold back in…
Cars

2020 Toyota Supra caught hiding in a trailer without a shred of camouflage

Toyota's plan to once again lure enthusiasts into showrooms involves bringing back the Supra, one of its most emblematic nameplates. Here's what we know so far about the upcoming coupe, which Toyota is developing jointly with BMW.
Cars

Infiniti previews its leap into one of the hottest industry segments

Infiniti has released a teaser image to preview a concept it will unveil at the 2019 Detroit Auto Show. The yet-unnamed design study is an electric crossover shaped by Infiniti's newest design language.
Cars

What’s next for in-car entertainment? Audi believes it knows

Audi is bringing two technologies to CES 2019. The first turns a car -- a luxury sedan, in this case -- into a drive-in movie theater. The second is presented as a new entertainment format that turns the journey into the destination.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Booze-filled ski poles and crypto piggy banks

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!
Product Review

The all-new 3 Series proves BMW can still build a compelling sport sedan

Seat time in the entry-level BMW 330i ($41,425) and M340i xDrive ($54,995) will test the German automaker’s commitment to driving dynamics, powertrain refinement, and cutting edge technology.
Cars

California wants all-electric public bus fleet on its roads by 2040

California approved a regulation that targets an all-electric public bus fleet for the whole state by 2040. The effect of the full implementation of the regulation is equivalent to taking 4 million cars off the road.
Cars

1,000-mph Bloodhound supersonic car project finds a last-minute savior

The Bloodhound supersonic car (SSC) project has found a buyer. The project was going to be disbanded after running out of funds, but its assets were purchased by British businessman Ian Warhurst.
Cars

Ford’s prototype Quiet Kennel uses noise-canceling tech to keep dogs stress-free

Ford is ending 2018 by venturing into the doghouse market. The company's European division has built a kennel equipped with active noise-canceling technology and soundproof walls that help dogs sleep through fireworks.
Mobile

Car-branded phones need to make a U-turn if they ever want to impress

Your car and your smartphone are becoming one, yet smartphones branded or co-created by car companies are a problem. We look at the history, some examples of the best and worst, then share hopes for the future.
Emerging Tech

Self-driving dirt rally vehicle offers crash course in autonomous car safety

Georgia Tech's AutoRally initiative pushes self-driving cars to their limit by getting scaled-down autonomous vehicles to drive really, really fast and aggressively on dirt roads. Here's why.
Cars

The best compact cars pack full-size features in fun-size packages

The best compact cars on the market rival their counterparts in many ways, proving that bigger isn’t always better. Here, we've rounded up some of the better options available, including an SUV and an electric alternative.