National Electric Vehicle Sweden (NEVS) will commence series production of the Saab 9-3 mid-sized sedan at its Trollhattan site on Dec. 3, 2013 -- almost two years since the carmaker was forced to file for bankruptcy. The last Saab cars rolled off the production line in April 2011. Saab -- then owned by Spyker NV -- filed for bankruptcy on Dec. 19, 2011.
The move was confirmed by NEVS spokesman Mikael Oestlund to Automotive News Europe. He added that initial output would be at a "humble" pace with the possibility to raise the volume over time. More details will be provided on Monday.
NEVS bought Saab out of bankruptcy in August 2012. NEVS was able to restart production after it inked an agreement with parts suppliers, according to Oestlund. He said that the production car would be powered by a turbocharged gasoline engine and would resemble pre-series models built for testing in September.
This means that the first Saab 9-3s that will roll off the line will look like the last production 9-3s built at Trollhattan in 2011. According to Oestlund, NEVS will commence output of an electric variant of the 9-3 in 2014, which will be initially sold in China and may feature a face-lifted exterior.
In August, Oestlund told Automotive News Europe that the new 9-3 will be available in Europe and China initially, with US sales possible later.
NEVS had said it plans to produce cars based on the Phoenix platform that Saab developed before its bankruptcy. Saab needed to modify the platform to get rid of 20 percent of components sourced from former owner General Motors.
In September, NEVS produced two Saab 9-3 test cars at the brand's Trollhattan site in Sweden. The Saab 9-3s were the first vehicles that rolled out from the Trollhattan production line since that plant was shut down in April 2011.
According to NEVS, the manufacture of the 9-3 test cars at Saab’s Trollhattan plant is primarly intended to assist in calibrating production line systems as well as to test new components ahead of full production. Mattias Bergman, acting president of NEVS, said in a statement that before their decision to commence production of Saab cars, they need to “finalize a few remaining dialogues to build partnerships with suppliers.”
He said that they now know that Saab’s Trollhattan site is finally ready for production. NEVS is planning to start production of the turbocharged Saab 9-3 later this year. Mikael Oestlund, a spokesman for NEVS, told Automotive News Europe that the new 9-3 will be very similar to the last Saab, which was built in 2011.