The death of the Swedish Saab marque wasn’t particularly dignified. When General Motors grew tired of the brand it was sold, only to go bankrupt in quick succession, then bought by another company, and now faces a curious future as a Chinese electric car that’s not allowed to use the Saab logo. For true Saab fans it was a heartbreaking struggle that in some ways still doesn’t have a definitive closing chapter. Or does it? This Saab 9-3 is technically the last new Saab ever made.
When the Chinese consortium National Electric Vehicle Sweden (NEVS) acquired Saab Automobiles assets, it produced the existing gasoline powered 9-3 from the original Trollhattän factory in Sweden. However, another financial squabble meant that this only lasted for 5 months. This 2013 9-3 Aero Turbo was put to one side for crash testing, but was ultimately never used. Technically the last new Saab to ever leave the factory, this 217-horsepower saloon has covered just 3.1 miles.
Sweden’s annual Saab Car Museum Festival in Trollhattän celebrates all things Saab. NEVS has decided to display the car before it will eventually be auctioned later this year. It’s certainly a model of historical significance, so we’ll be eager to see if a keen Saab enthusiast is willing to pay top-dollar to add it to their collection.
So, how exactly did Saab end up this way? General Motors owned Saab outright from 2000, after owning 50% of the marque from 1989. In 2008 GM decided that it was either going to sell or shut down the much loved Swedish car maker, something that prompted a flurry of offers. Everyone from Koenigsegg to the Chinese government was interested, but ultimately Saab was sold to the quirky sports car manufacturer Spyker in 2010.
By 2011 the enterprise was bankrupt, and Saab’s future was up in the air once again. In 2012 a Chinese consortium known as the National Electric Vehicle Sweden bought Saab’s assets with the intention of creating an electric 9-3, however, by 2014 NEVS was in financial difficulty itself. NEVS has since acquired new partners and fully intends to launch an electric 9-3 in China, but it will no longer carry the Saab name.
It’s a sorry tale, that technically ends with this forgotten 9-3 Aero.
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