Saab 9-3 back in production at Saab Sweden factory – Autoweek

19 Jun 2014 | Author: | Comments Off on Saab 9-3 back in production at Saab Sweden factory – Autoweek

Saab 9-3

restarts production in Trollhдttan. sort of

The first Saab to roll off the Trollhдttan line since the lights went out in 2011. Photo by SaabsUnited.

A momentous day for Saab fans, if the SaabsUnited commenters are to be believed. Photo by SaabsUnited.

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Would you look at that? They started building Saabs again. A bright future, perhaps, for the Sick Carmaker Of Europe. who after its excision from General Motors and dalliances with the Swedish government and the Dutch, was snapped up by an Asian conglomerate billing itself as National Electric Vehicle Sweden (NEVS). A few people got arrested.

A few crocodile tears were shed.

And, then, nothing. All quiet on the Eastern front.

Until today. A secret cabal of Saab tifosi gathered in Trollhдttan with bated breath, tipped off by NEVS men. They waited in front of the Saab main gate.

Noon came, then 1. Then, the hum of a car — a small silver sedan, one bearing a blackened Saab badge. (No more Gripen . a casualty of NEVS’ investments .) This wasn’t a leftover from the shadows of the factory. No, this was a brand-new Saab 9-3! A 2014, if there was a model year!

NEVS owns Saab Automobile Powertrain and the keys to the Trollhдttan factory (though the company claims that most new Saabs will be built in Qingdao, China ). After promising the warm hum of electric Saabs by 2014, it has taken its greatest leap forward toward full EV production: Two pre-production models were run through the production line to calibrate its readiness. NEVS has alluded in the past to only selling electric Saabs in China. as they’d be too crude for our populace that witnesses enough Tesla Model Ss to bore even Elon Musk.

This current Saab, however, doesn’t have an electric motor. It’s got a conventional gasoline engine sourced from — at this point — anyone but GM: Details are scant. SaabsUnited only said it had #8220;some new goodies under the hood.#8221;

Nonetheless, big things are coming: NEVS is allegedly planning a facelift of the 9-3, a welcome respite from the still-handsome death mask first rendered in 2008. The chassis is still an Epsilon, now old enough to enter middle school. Saab worked on the all-new Phoenix platform in 2011 before locking the documents in a filing cabinet somewhere.

NEVS wants to find the key.

It’s been a long and tiresome journey for Saab, as one of its chief engineers described the process as akin to walking up a ski slope that someone’s poured water on the night before. (His words, honest.) NEVS promised production by the end of this year, and they’re on their way. #8220;A lot of people had gathered in the final assembly building, and everyone felt that the Saab spirit truly was alive,#8221; said SaabsUnited .

This might actually be true. Free from the yokes of such burdensome things like corporate stewardship, financial stability, transparent accounting, eager investors and an efficiently achievable five-year plan, Saab can now be free to practice its own thoroughly unique brand of underdog comeuppance and sheer pluck. Instead of Svenska Aeroplan AB, the parent is National Electric Vehicle Sweden.

Instead of trolls from Trollhдttan. it’s the Chinese and Japanese. Just like that, it’s back to its old roots as the de facto indie-quirk carmaker started by a small, passionate team of men who sort of had an idea of what they were doing. We wish them well and envision a future of humming along dirt-rutted rally stages in whisper-quiet 9-3s.

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