For all intents and purposes, Saab has died.
Maybe the death sentence began when General Motors acquired the storied Swedish brand. One thing for sure, the brand took its last breath after being taken over by Spyker and then suffering through an extended tug-of-war between American, Swedish and Chinese companies.
So how can the Saab name live if the brand has died?
That’s due to a complicated international consortium formed by Swedish and Chinese stakeholders to build cars using existing resources and Japanese technology. Yes, Saabs will be built again through some worldwide cooperation. But with three really big catches.
National Electric Vehicle Sweden (NEVS) has completed its acquisition of the Saab name and says it plans to debut an electric vehicle in about 18 months. That’s the first really big catch: Any future Saab models will be electric. And probably sold only in China, at least to start. That’s the second really big catch. Now for the third catch:
When the car comes to market, it will wear the Saab name, but not the marque’s well-known logo. Can we really say that the Saab brand lives if the logo is gone, the cars are all electric, and they’re sold only in China? That’s certainly not the Saab so many have come to know and love. If you want a real Saab, you’re better off hitting the CarGurus used listings and finding a quality used one.
The electric Saab vehicles will likely come based on the company’s new Phoenix architecture for the 9-3, which NEVS acquired in its deal to take over the name, along with Saab’s tools, the manufacturing plant, and test and laboratory facilities.
Remove the wings and the Pontiac-styled tail lights on the Phoenix concept, and you’ve actually got a pretty good-looking car, but still not one that should wear the Saab name.
Can Saab make the transition to a purely electric car brand?