The Saab Phoenix Concept

Electric vehicle company may have purchased Saab

There have been a great many rumors about companies interested in purchasing the bankrupt Saab brand but according to Swedish media outlets, a Swedish electric car company has made a bid for the majority of the Saab brand – although all parties involved are not commenting in support or in denial of these reports.

Those companies interested in Saab included Chinese firm Youngman Lotus, Indian firm Mahindra & Mahindra and Swedish firm National Electric Vehicle Sweden (NEVS); with the Swedish company reportedly making the bid that would be accepted by the administrator overseeing the court-forced bankruptcy proceedings. Unfortunately, NEVS has only confirmed that they made a bid on April 7th (the last day that the Swedish gov’t was accepting purchase offers) while the court appointed administrators have refused to comment to either confirm or deny the news that there is a buyer lined up for Saab.

According to English-speaking Swedish news source the Local, Trollhattan city manager Annika Wennerblom confirmed that there was a buyer chosen for Saab but she did not know who the prospective buyer was nor did she know any other official details. Unfortunately, another (higher ranking) member of the Trollhattan city management has explained that Wennerblom was incorrect and that her comments were based on “a misinterpretation”.

While there is no official verification of NEVS having made the winning bid for Saab Automobiles, the Swedish electric car company had previously stated that they were interested in paying between $210 million and $250 million US dollars (1.5-1.8 billion Swedish Kronor). This bid reportedly would give NEVS the rights to Saab Automobile, Saab Tools and Saab Powertrain but it would not include the Saab replacement parts division.

Saab was sold by General Motors to Spyker for around $400 million US dollars in 2010. When the company first entered bankruptcy late last year, they reportedly were facing around 13 billion Swedish Kronor ($1.83 billion US dollars) but after assessing the company’s assets and liabilities – that amount was lowered to “just” 9 billion Swedish Kronor ($1.26 billion USD). Considering the fact that Saab was only sold for $400 million US dollars in 2010 by GM only to have the company compile over a billion American dollars in debt – the shell of what remains of Saab could conceivably end up selling for as little as $210 to $250 million USD.

Chinese company Youngman Lotus reportedly was prepared to pay 2 billion Swedish Kronor ($280 million USD) early this year but with the refusal by General Motors to hand over the keys to their vehicle technology to the Chinese company, the purchase agreement between the Saab and Youngman Lotus has been shot down before. GMs refusal to cooperate with the Chinese firm could have forced Youngman to lower their bid which would improve the chances of NEVS of their bid being accepted but Youngman’s problem may also stem from the Chinese government’s refusal to approve the deal as well.

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National Electric Vehicle Sweden/ NEVS is a Swedish-based firm but the company was founded through a partnership between a Hong Kong-based alternative energy company and a Japanese investment firm.

It is hard to say whether NEVS wants to reincarnate the Saab brand around the world or if the electric car company just wants the assets of the defunct automaker in order to help spread their business around the world. It could also be a combination of the two – where NEVS plans to use the Saab brand and the recognition around the brand in various global markets to help sell the existing Saab products along with helping to market NEVS electric vehicles under the umbrella of the Saab brand. After all, modifying a brand to fit into a company’s goals is easier than attempting to start a brand around the world from scratch.

The other angle is that NEVS is a Swedish company who sees the chance to buy a company at a fraction of what the business is actually worth. In buying Saab, NEVS will not be responsible for the debts accrued prior to the acquisition and it was that debt which prevented Spyker-run Saab from doing making and selling new vehicles. However, should Saab ne alleviated of the company debt through the government-aided bankruptcy proceedings – perhaps the Saab brand may have a chance at surviving under the reign of NEVS. Unfortunately, this purchase would come far too late for many names in the Saab dealership network around the US and the rest of the world so NEVS will have some work to do if they plan to benefit from Saab’s previous global dealer network.

TorqueNews has been covering the saga of Saab since the company first failed to pay its suppliers back in April of 2010 (when production officially stopped) and we will continue covering this topic until Saab is dead and gone – or until the company has triumphantly returned with the help of a yet-to-be-named buyer. Sadly, it looks as though the world may not get their hands on the ultra cool Saab Phoenix concept shown above, regardless of the outcome of the purchase agreement.

Source: The Local