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Saab finds new life

The Swede was sold overnight for an undisclosed sum.

The brand now turns into an all-electric car company with its focus on the Chinese market. The Swede was sold overnight for an undisclosed sum.

Buyers are a consortium of Chinese and Japanese environmental technology companies. It will retain its Saab nameplate - but lose its circular logo - and come under the ownership of National Electric Vehicle Sweden AB (NEVS) that is 51 per cent owned by Hong Kong alternative energy group National Modern Energy Holdings and 49 per cent by Sun Investment LLC of Japan.

NEVS made a massive investment in Saab, buying out the company that owns the production facility in Trollhattan, purchasing the Phoenix platform that is designed to replace the 9-5, the intellectual property rights to the 9-3, the tools, manufacturing plant and test and laboratory facilities. Saab Automobile Parts AB, as well as intellectual property rights for the Saab 9-5, ow ned by General Motors, are not included in the purchase agreement.

Receivers for the bankrupt Saab say the deal was cash. NEVS chairman Karl-Erling Trogen says: "In approximately 18 months, we plan to introduce our first electric vehicle based on Saab 9-3 technologies and a new technology electric powertrain." The company has quietly engineered and developed the first of its electric vehicle in China and Japan. The first model to be developed will be based on the current Saab 9-3, which will be modified for electric drive using advanced EV technology from Japan.

It is expected to be launched in early 2014. NEVS CEO Kai Johan Jiang says the work will now continue at Trollhattan. Mr Jiang is also the owner and founder of National Modern Energy Holdings. The company says that marketing and sales of its first car will be global, with an initial focus on China, projected to be the largest and most important EV market.

"China is investing heavily in developing the EV market, which is a key driver for the ongoing technology shift to reduce dependence on fossil fuels," says Mr Jiang. "The Chinese can increasingly afford cars. However, the global oil supply would not suffice if they all buy petroleum-fueled vehicles.

"Chinese customers demand a premium electric vehicle, which we will be able to offer by acquiring Saab Automobile in Trollhattan." NEVS says its recruitment of the management team and key positions is in progress. As of last night, about 75 people have received emp loyment offers.