Saab to restart 9-3 production Monday

The 9-3 that will go into production Monday will closely resemble the original (shown).
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Saab's new owner, National Electric Vehicle Sweden, will begin series production of the 9-3 mid-sized sedan at its plant in Trollhattan, Sweden, on Monday, almost two years to the day since the company was forced to file for bankruptcy.

The last cars produced by the automaker rolled off the production line in April 2011. Saab, then under the control of Spyker NV, filed for bankruptcy on Dec. 19 of that year.

"Yes, we will start the actual production on Monday," NEVS spokesman Mikael Oestlund told Automotive News Europe, adding that initial output would be at a "humble" pace with the possibility to increase the volume over time. He promised more details on Monday.

NEVS bought Saab out of bankruptcy last August. The production start became possible after NEVS reached an agreement with parts suppliers, Oestlund said.

Oestlund said the production car would be powered by a turbocharged gasoline engine and would resemble pre-series models built for testing in September. The car that comes off the line on Monday will closely resemble the last production 9-3s built at Trollhattan in 2011.

Oestlund said NEVS will begin production of an electric variant of the 9-3 in 2014. That car initially will be aimed at China and will likely feature a face-lifted exterior.

In August, Oestlund told Automotive News Europe that the new fuel-powered 9-3 will be sold in Europe and China initially, with U.S. sales possible later.

Phoenix-based cars

NEVS previously said it plans to build cars based on the Phoenix architecture developed by Saab before the automaker's bankruptcy. The company needed to modify the platform to remove the 20 percent of parts sourced from former owner General Motors.

NEVS is owned by Hong Kong National Modern Energy Holdings, which is run by Swedish-Chinese green energy entrepreneur Kai Johan Jiang. NEVS is 22 percent owned by the Chinese city of Qingdao following a deal earlier this year.

You can reach David Jolley at djolley@crain.com.


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