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Saab restarts cars, may return to Australia

A new Saab has rolled off the production line for the first time since the former struggling GM brand went bankrupt.

Under new owners, Hong Kong-based National Electric Vehicle Sweden (Nevs), Saab has restarted production at its Trollhatten plant in Sweden, with the first car a new 9-3 Aero.

Saab ceased production in April 2011 when its previous Dutch owner, Spyker, was struggling with financing for the brand, which had been formerly under the General Motors umbrella. In December 2011, Saab filed for bankruptcy but has since been revived by Nevs with plans to build conventional petrol vehicles while ramping up plans for electric cars.

The first 9-3 Aero is a revised version of the model last sold in 2011, and is powered by a turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine.

Deliveries of the electric car based on the 9-3 will start in the first quarter of 2014, costing 279,000 kronor ($42,500) each, with Nevs saying its partner and part owner Qingdao Auto has ordered an initial pilot fleet of 200 electric cars.

However the company has big aims, including becoming "a front runner in the automotive industry, with focus on electric vehicles" and while currently seeing China as the main market for those vehicles, is hoping the Saab brand to global sales.

Though that will likely mean targeting European markets first, there is still a chance we could see Saabs return to Australian showrooms.