In a little less than two years since it filed for bankruptcy, Swedish automaker Saab is back on track, hoping to restart production later this year.
According to Mikael Oestlund, a spokesman for Saab’s new owner National Electric Vehicle Sweden (NEVS), the Saab Trollhattan plant is “practically ready” to begin production on the 9-3 model. The automaker has hired around 300 personnel including team leads to oversee assembly and hopes to start production before the end of the year.
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According to Oestlund, the 9-3 that will enter production in the near future will be very similar to the 9-3 the automaker was producing before it filed for bankruptcy. The electric variant of the 9-3 however will get a significant facelift, and is planned to launch next year. Initially, Saab will return to selling vehicles in Europe and China only, with possible exports to U.S. later on down the road.
As for new models, NEVS plans to build future cars on the Phoenix architecture that was developed by Saab before it went bankrupt in 2011. The platform however, will be modified to remove components sourced from GM, which accounts for about 20 percent of its parts. In the interview with Automotive News Europe, Oestlund also elaborated on the 9-5 electric variant, which will use batteries built by sister company Beijing National Battery Technology. NEVS plans to build 120,000 units of the 9-3 per year by 2016.
[Source: Automotive News Europe]
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