NEVS-backed car resumes production in Sweden; petrol variants to be replaced with all-electric model in 2014
Darren Moss
4 December 2013

The Saab 9-3 has restarted series production at the firm's Trollhättan plant in Sweden.

According to media reports, Saab owners National Electric Vehicle Sweden has said output at the facotry will resume at a "humble" pace, with the option to increase capacity over time. 

The move comes following the successful production of two 9-3 prototype saloons back in September. The first cars to be created at the site since the production line was closed in 2011, the two saloons were intended to show that NEVS had re-built the Saab supplier chain necessary to produce new cars.

Although for the moment any 9-3s produced at the site will use the same 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine used in the pre-collapse cars, NEVS will switch production to an all-electic variant from next year. The new car will initially be aimed at the Chinese market, with the first batch of cars already pre-sold to government agencies in the country.

Current plans suggest the company will launch the new 9-3 for Europe at the Frankfurt motor show in 2015.

The new 9-3 cars will still be badged as Saab, as part of the agreement reached when NEVS took over the company. NEVS is forbidden from using the Griffin badge, however, and cannot rename itself to Saab at any point.

Our Verdict

Saab 9-3 Sportwagon

Minor tweaks both simplify and improve the 9-3. Likeable, but lagging behind

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Comments
21

2 December 2013
If they succeed, great, roadtest the car. But between now and 2015 please let's not have 35 pieces alternately lauding the enterprise and then rubbishing it to which readers - for and against - can once more append their own opinions about whether or not this car honours the traditions of Saab.

2 December 2013
Cars pre-sold to government agencies who no doubt invested huge amounts of money in the project? When this venture fails, the taxpayers will claim it'd have been cheaper buying a fleet of Bugatti Veyrons. Not that I don't wish any new business success, but the fact that National ELECTRIC Vehicle Sweden has opted to install their cars with tdi engines suggests the writing is already on the wall for this venture. Correction: Just noticed it's the even more ancient 2.0t petrol units they're using! OMG.

4 December 2013
[quote=scotty5]Correction: Just noticed it's the even more ancient 2.0t petrol units they're using! OMG.[/quote] But is it ? The Triumph/Saab engine was finally dropped some time back because it couldn't be updated yet again to meet the then new EU emission regulations - it was replaced by a GM Ecotec engine although the Saab 2.0T version was slightly different to the Opel/Vauxall 2.0T

2 December 2013
If they succeed, great, roadtest the car. But between now and 2015 please let's not have 35 pieces alternately lauding the enterprise and then rubbishing it to which readers - for and against - can once more append their own opinions about whether or not this car honours the traditions of Saab.

2 December 2013
The engine is not important. What is important is simply getting the factory up and running and the staff and suppliers in place for when the electric car comes into production. Leaving the factory fallow would have been the real writing on the wall.

2 December 2013
Having been at the end of SAAB a couple of years ago I can only wish them good luck and hope it all goes well

2 December 2013
If you're going to do an all-electric car then surely you'd want to start with a clean sheet of paper? One aspect, however, that I do like is that they're starting off with a traditional car so it will be recognisable to a decent car. Yes, I know that's contrary to my previous statement! As for the engine they're using, why not use petrol? No particulates, which is one of the worst pollutions in cities now. Plus, too many just look to fuel economy when comparing petrol to diesel and forget about performance. Comparisons should be made with models of comparable performance. Then diesels don't look such a smart choice! To get the same performance typically you need a bigger diesel engine, and with that up goes fuel consumption and purchase costs of not just the fuel itself.

2 December 2013
I believe they are working on a clean sheet design but as that will be taking a long time to come to market they will launch this car as a stop gap and then an electric version of this car as a second stop gap. They had already been working on a electric version of this model 9-3 before going bust and the design of that was advanced enough to allow it to come to market whilst they get the all new model ready.

6 December 2013
[quote=Symanski]If you're going to do an all-electric car then surely you'd want to start with a clean sheet of paper? One aspect, however, that I do like is that they're starting off with a traditional car so it will be recognisable to a decent car. Yes, I know that's contrary to my previous statement! As for the engine they're using, why not use petrol? No particulates, which is one of the worst pollutions in cities now. Plus, too many just look to fuel economy when comparing petrol to diesel and forget about performance. Comparisons should be made with models of comparable performance. Then diesels don't look such a smart choice! To get the same performance typically you need a bigger diesel engine, and with that up goes fuel consumption and purchase costs of not just the fuel itself.[/quote] Both petrol and Diesel give off Hydrocarbons and NOx and Diesels have partical filters anyway for any excess. The NOx figures of modern diesels are not that much worse than Petrol powered cars and engines, such as the 1.6TDI Units from Audi in the year 2000, have NOx and HC emissions so low they meet the current Euro5 standards released 9 years later! Diesel cars also get their performance from bags and bags of torque. Streight line speed and 0 to 60 is not the best metric for engine performance (its quite useless, actually, for a road car) - in gear performance is what you want and a Diesel will give you that with their seemingly endless Torque values when compared to a simmilar displacement Petrol. So, no, Diesel is still a very wise choice for car buyers. They offer many benefits and are getting cleaner and cleaner by the day.

2 December 2013
I'm just pleased to see SAAB going, in whatever form that may be. Here's hoping that this isn't another false dawn. I have my doubts about it all but for now let's will them on.

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