International Effort Brings Saab Back From Dead

December 3rd, 2013

2014 Saab 9-3

How’s this for international teamwork?

A Chinese/Japanese company purchased Saab from a Swedish-based automaker after years of U.S. ownership that led to an eventual bankruptcy.

If any car company epitomizes the idea of the Phoenix, rising, burning down, then rising again, it’s Saab.

There was even a Saab concept called the Phoenix, which never made it to production. Now the Saab 9-3 is rising from the ashes, but not for the Saab-o-philes living in these United States.

Not yet, anyway.

The used market is still the best (and only) way to buy a Saab in America currently. Choices are ample, ranging from the early years between 1948 and 1969, the awkward years of 1969 to 1989, which saw some FIAT influence, and the GM-influenced years that spanned 1989 to 2010 and ultimately led to Saab’s first demise.

That led to a brief rise and a swift fall under supercar-maker Spyker, which many thought to be the final nail in Saab’s hard-to-close coffin.

Against all odds, consumers will again have the option of buying a new Saab. There’s a catch, though.

National Electric Vehicles Sweden (NEVS) has built two 9-3 Aero sedans and will begin a slow trickle of production to build 10 4-cylinder 220-horsepower gas-powered cars each week, increasing production until it builds an electric version of the car next year.

But here’s the aforementioned catch:

The cars will be available only in Sweden and China. Some serious challenges exist, even in those markets. First of all is the limited quantity. How can an automaker make money building 10 cars per week?

Next is pricing, which begins at the equivalent of $42,600. That’s a lot for what is essentially still a GM sedan.

Finally, there is no longer a dealer network in place. All Swedish orders will be picked up at the factory, and NEVS will sell directly to consumers in China via its website.

Combined, those three factors team up to virtually guarantee Saab’s latest rise from the ashes will exclude a U.S. comeback.

Would you like to see Saab make a U.S. comeback as an electric-car maker?

-tgriffith

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Used Saab 9-3

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  1. Randy
    December 4th, 2013 at 07:00 | #1

    We’ve already got way too many brands and models competing for consumer dollars. And an oddball nameplate, overpriced and with dubious lineage? Why?

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