Like a zombie, Swedish automaker Saab just keeps coming back from the dead.
National Electric Vehicle Sweden (NEVS), which owns Saab, took another step towards becoming a player in the electric car segment by obtaining approval for a factory in China that could manufacture up to 200,000 vehicles a year.
The company’s electric vehicle production license was approved by the Chinese National Development Reform Commission (NDRC) and allows NEVS to officially begin production of its vehicles, reports Green Car Congress. Companies must receive approval from the NDRC before manufacturing electric cars in China.
NEVS, which is a joint venture company that has investors from within and outside of China, is the first of its kind to get its investment approved by the NDRC. As of right now, the NDRC is requiring companies to get approval before going ahead and investing in the automotive industry within China. The government, though, is working on a plan to make it easier for foreign automakers to invest in the country.
The plant in Tianjin, China, is still under construction, states NEVS, but should be operational by the end of the year. When the facility is up and running, it will have the ability to manufacture up to 200,000 electric passenger vehicles a year.
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The electric vehicle segment is booming in China. NEVS already has an order that will see the company manufacturing vehicles for the first three years after the plant in Tianjin opens. Panda New Energy, an energy vehicle leasing company in the country, placed an order of 150,000 of NEVS’ 9-3 electric sedans in 2015. According to the company, the deal could be worth as much as $12-billion.
Ever since acquiring Saab’s assets in 2012, NEVS has turned Saab’s old vehicles into electric ones that would first be used to serve China’s expanding market and then globally in the future. A large manufacturing plant solidifies the automaker as a serious competitor.
A version of this story originally appeared on HybridCars
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