2012 Saab 9-3
The rumors about Saab's death have been greatly exaggerated -- at least, that's what the brand's new owners say. According to Bloomberg news, Saab's long-quiet assembly lines will return to action this summer, and the company hopes to meet some pretty lofty production goals within three years.
A full recounting of the Saab saga is more suited for a tell-all bestseller, not a blog post. But if you haven't been following along at home, the major plot points are:
Bloomberg received a copy of a letter recently sent by NEVS to Saab's parts suppliers. In that letter, NEVS details a few of the company's goals for Saab, including:
Some analysts are dubious about Saab's prospects in the electric-car market -- and rightly so. NEVS' goal of 120,000 is just shy of Saab's production peak of 133,000, reached in 2006. It's also significantly more than the 107,200 fully electric vehicles assembled by all automakers around the globe in 2012.
According to Bloomberg, the key to NEVS' hopes and dreams for Saab lays in China. The country has an aggressive plan for electric-vehicle adoption, including boosting sales of alt-fuel vehicles to 500,000 units by 2015 (from fewer than 13,000 in 2012) and by adding 400,000 recharging stations within 20 major metropolitan areas by 2015. If China sticks to its plan, electric Saabs could be well positioned for success.
Also boosting Saab's chances for success: a $307 million infusion of cash, courtesy of the city of Qingdao, which it's providing in exchange for a 22% stake in NEVS.
Other factors could also lend a hand -- for example, if Saab relies more heavily on extended-range electric cars than on fully electric vehicles. That, combined with looming advances in battery technology, could also help overcome consumer's range anxiety.
We'll reserve judgement on Saab's prospects for now, but we'll keep you posted as NEVS releases further details about its plans.
[via John Voelcker]