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2014 Saab 9-3 officially relaunched, reborn

Thu, 05 Dec 2013 14:00:00 EST

Saab is officially building cars again. Production of the 9-3 Sedan has kicked back off in Trollhättan, Sweden, and the first example is reportedly earmarked for the company’s museum. Initial sales are targeted for China, although Swedish customers will also be able to buy new Saabs built in their country right away, too.

It isn’t immediately clear if the model will be available in the rest of Europe, let alone in North America.

The initial run of 9-3s will be powered by a 220-horsepower, 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder before an electric model joins the range next year. There are no Biopower or XWD all-wheel-drive models presently in production. And while the lion’s share of the 2014 9-3 is a carryover from the pre-bankruptcy car, there are some changes, including a new anti-whiplash seat system and a greater number of non-GM parts, reports SaabsUnited.

I am very proud of the dedication and the focus that NEVS management and employees have demonstrated over the year that has passed since we became owners of the plant in Trollhättan, and who have made this possible. Swedish expertise along with Japanese technology around batteries and new lightweight materials and our Chinese group’s focus on green technology is our strength for the future, said Kai Johan Jiang, the founder of Saab’s parent company, National Electric Vehicle Sweden.

Saab 9-3 production has restarted

Sun, 01 Dec 2013 14:00:00 EST

If you’re one of the small cadre of Saab drivers, first of all, kudos to you. Because as Top Gear pointed out, Saab drivers are among the most intellectual drivers out there. Secondly, we’ve got good news for you, because the 9-3 has officially resumed production at the Trollhättan plant in Sweden.

For those of you who may not have followed the story, a quick refresher: Founded in 1947, Saab Automobile AB was an independent automaker until 1989 when General Motors began the decade-long process acquiring it. Unable to make it profitable, GM sold Saab to Spyker in 2010, but that Dutch automaker proved unable to make a go of it, either, and finally shut it down a year later. Much of Saab’s assets were acquired by National Electric Vehicle Sweden, which in turn is partially owned by the Chinese city of Qingdao, which pledged to get production back online by the end of the year.

NEVS has apparently made good on its promise, bringing 600 workers back to the factory to resume production of the 9-3 much as it was when a workforce of 3,500 labored on it and its stablemates prior to the bankruptcy. The reborn 9-3 will be sold in Sweden and in China, with an electric version to bring some other updates sometime next year.

Saab 900 SPG is the latest Petrolicious love story

The latest video from the crew at Petrolicious covers one funky Swede — a 1989 Saab 900 SPG. Produced from 1978 to 1998, the 900 enjoyed a long history, and thanks to its iconic look, it’s quickly becoming a modern classic for the off-kilter car enthusiast. The SPG, short for Special Performance Group, makes this a particularly rare find, with owner Jordan Melville saying, I didn’t even realize what I had at the time.

Melville gives a rundown of his life with the 900 and his passion for Saab overall, even reflecting on that dark day that saw the Swedish brand closed its doors. As always, the videography is excellent and the story is intriguing in this latest video from Petrolicious. You can view the entire video down below.

Victor Muller to pay Sweden back taxes for Saab work

Thu, 03 Oct 2013 11:29:00 EST

Victor Muller, Saab’s CEO from 2010 to 2011, has been ordered by the Swedish court to pay the back taxes he owes the country for his work at Saab, Autoweek and Volkskrant report. When he was the automaker’s CEO he received a salary of about 8 million Swedish Krona ($1.25 million), which was recorded as a reward for consultancy work for a company in the US that Muller owns. The move allowed him to evade taxes for awhile, but the court has ordered him to pay taxes on his full salary.

Saab restarts production line in Trollhattan

Thu, 19 Sep 2013 13:30:00 EST

The new owner of Saab, National Electric Vehicle Sweden, has bolted together its first two new cars at the company’s traditional home in Trollhättan. The two 9-3 sedans were built to work bugs out of the production line and test newer components before full-scale production starts near the end of the year.

NEVS acting President, Mattias Bergman, issued a statement saying, Prior to our decision to start production of Saab cars, we need to finalize a few remaining dialogues to build partnerships with suppliers. We now know that the plant is ready for production. First up for NEVS will be gas-powered, turbocharged 9-3s, before bringing a facelifted, electrified variant later next year.

There are also plans to rejigger Saab’s never-was Phoenix architecture for production, although NEVS needs to excise the remaining General Motors tech from the platform before building anything.

According to a report on Automotive News Europe, once under way, NEVS has set an optimistic target of 120,000 units per year by 2016, with sales focused in Europe and China — there’s no official word on if NEVS ever plans to bring the Saab name back to North America.

Saab plant reopens, production to resume by year’s end?

Mon, 19 Aug 2013 10:00:00 EST

Saab is gearing up to start production of the 9-3 again in September, two years after the last exampled rolled off the assembly line at the company’s Trollhättan factory, Aftonbladet reports. Saab’s new owner, National Electric Vehicle Sweden AB (NEVS), a Chinese-Japanese consortium created solely to buy Saab, says that the model’s parts supply is the bottleneck in the production process, understandable since many of Saab’s suppliers closed after it stopped production two years ago. The automaker also needs to establish a new dealership network.

It is not entirely clear where Saab will market their new models, but North America is not expected to figure into their plans, at least initially.

Almost 400 factory employees are reportedly back working at Trollhättan, and Saab is looking to recruit 180 workers to help with production, presuming the factory can overcome its supply issues and go back online in the fall.

The new 9-3 is understood to be something short of an all-new car, a revision of the old 9-3 that started production in 2002. It will reportedly be offered initially as a four-door sedan and two-door convertible, and it will have a turbocharged engine, according to NEVS, which we expect will be a four cylinder. An electric 9-3 could come as early as next year. Turbocharged engines are part of Saab’s DNA, NEVS Vice President Mattias Bergman has stated, and future Saab models will have them — despite the automaker’s planned progression toward electric vehicles.

The 9-3 will get small facelifts over time, says Mikael Östlund, a press officer at NEVS.

Saab US bankruptcy plan gets legal green-light

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It feels utterly bizarre that we’re still talking about Saab, but Reuters is reporting that the bankrupt Swedish manufacturer’s American arm has gotten approval from the US Bankruptcy Court to liquidate its assets and pay back creditors. As part of the plan, secured creditors like Ally Financial will receive full repayment. Unsecured creditors, consisting of those affected by abandoned leases and contracts will get anywhere from 25 to 82 percent of their money back.

There are currently $77 million in unsecured claims, according to Reuters, but that number doesn’t include claims from former Saab dealers. Naturally, the entire affair is full of lawyers and legalese. A trust formed on the Saab side will be negotiating with creditors and their affiliates in an attempt to reduce claims against Saab.

This sounds like the start of a long and sordid affair.

Spyker to appeal dismissal of Saab lawsuit against GM

Fri, 21 Jun 2013 08:00:00 EST

It seems as if Spyker CEO Victor Muller has made a decision on whether or not to pursue a legal battle between his company and General Motors. Spyker has announced it will appeal a US District Court decision to throw out the company’s lawsuit against GM. As you may recall, on June 10 Judge Gershwin Drain ruled tht GM had a right to approve or disapprove Spyker’s sale of Saab to Zhejiang Youngman Lotus Automobile.

Spyker sued GM for some $3 billion, claiming that the American automaker had forced Saab into bankruptcy by stopping Spyker from transferring intellectual property to its Chinese partner.

GM recalls over 230,000 more Trailblazer-family SUVs over door electronics

Sun, 16 Jun 2013 11:01:00 EST

Back in August, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced a recall on the General Motors GMT360 SUVs (Buick Rainier, Chevrolet Trailblazer, GMC Envoy, Isuzu Ascender and Saab 9-7X) ranging from the 2005 to 2007 model years and the 2006 GMT370 SUVs (Chevrolet Trailblazer EXT and GMC Envoy XL) due to potential fires associated with the driver’s door module. Initially limited to 250,000 units sold or registered in 20 Snow Belt states (and the District of Columbia), the recall has now been expanded to include an additional 193,000 of these SUVs in the US and, according to The Detroit News, 40,000 more sold outside the US, including Canada and Mexico.

Like the original recall, the issue is still a faulty driver’s door module that can short out, which could lead to a fire. The Detroit News is reporting that, out of the 443,000 units being recalled, GM says that there were 58 fires that caused 11 minor injuries, and the expanded recall accounted for six fires and one injury. Despite the lower number of fires, the recall notice recommends that owners park their vehicles until the recall repairs has been performed.

On recalled units with functional modules, the repair consists of a protective coating being applied to the module, while vehicles with modules that are not working properly will have the driver’s door module replaced. The official recall notice is posted below, and it includes contact information for customers of all five brands.

Spyker’s $3B lawsuit against GM for blocking Saab sale thrown out

US District Judge Gershwin Drain has dismissed a $3-billion lawsuit Spyker filed against General Motors. In the suit, Spyker accused GM of attempting to bankrupt Saab after the US automaker had already sold the company to Spyker. GM in effect blocked the sale of Saab to China’s Zhejiang Youngman Lotus Automobile Company by prohibiting the transfer of some of its intellectual property.

But the court found that GM had a contractual right to approve or disapprove any change of ownership. Furthermore, Reuters reports Judge Drain said the contract between GM and Spyker is clear, unambiguous and absolute on the matter.

GM, meanwhile, says it is pleased with the ruling. Spyker CEO Victor Muller has not said whether or not his company will appeal the ruling. The Dutch automaker is expected to make a final decision once the court issues its written order on the case.


You can read the official Spyker press release about the court ruling below for more information.

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