Saab 9-3 production restarts

Saab 9-3
2 Dec, 2013 1:14pm Jonathan Burn

Saab 9-3 production has restarted under the manufacturers' new ownership

Production of the Saab 9-3 has restarted today at the firm’s Trollhattan plant in Sweden, under the new ownership of National Electric Vehicle Sweden (NEVS).

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The announcement comes two years after the brand filed for bankruptcy. Saab called time on production back in April 2011, then under the control of Dutch firm Spyker – after its supply chain broke down thanks to mounting unpaid debts, and Spyker also filed for bankruptcy by December of the same year.

After that, NEVS bought Saab out of bankruptcy and in September 2013, the manufacturer started to produce new pre-production prototypes of the 9-3. Saab has now announced regular production of the saloon has begun, albeit at a ‘humble’ - in other words much reduced - pace.

These models will use the same 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engines as before the collapse, but the plan is for an all-electric version to be launched at some point next year. It will initially be aimed at the Chinese markets and feature a facelifted exterior - with first cars to roll off the line already ear-marked for Government agencies in that country.

Although this new car will be badged as a Saab, NEVS is forbidden from using the famous Griffin badge, as part of an agreement reached with the brand's previous owners and creditors. There are rumours that they aim to launch an all-new 9-3 in time for the 2015 Frankfurt show, but this is unconfirmed as yet.

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I suspect the Trollhattan operation is being used as a marketing ploy to build and sell cars in China in the same way that SAIC is using the loss-making MG division in the UK as a front. Apparently the small initial production run is destined for agencies of the Chinese government, which is telling.

they'll be building approx 10 cars per week... does that count?

Spyker made a mistake. They took over a load of rubbish from GM. They should have cut off the 9-5, scaled everything down, and concentrated on one model - the 9-3. Launched an updated 9-3, then made some money first. They bit off more than they could chew and put patriotism before business sense - Saab was loosing anyway before spyker came in. Spyker should have called me in and i would have fixed it all, and Saab would still have been ok.
Yes i agree with Murgatroyd below - this is a marketing exercise for the Chinese, which i don't blame them for doing.

No griffin badge, from the pictures I've seen they've used a similar round badge, black backround, with the 'SAAB' word and font.

The brand is in a unique position in that the name, font and grille shape are all that is required for brand recognition. I can't think of any other current marque that would be in such a position - if they lost their logo that they'd still have a successful (as in recognisable) branding. Early 80s Toyota maybe.

the reason the cars are bound for government agencies is that they have paid for them, via the grant to re-launch the facility.

Opkar, you talk rubbish, the 9-5 was a brand new model, the 9-3 was getting near its sell by date, so your analogy that they keep teh old out of date car and get rid of the brand new one, shows you have little knowledge.

They had an X model in production in the US for a long while after the brand stopped production in Sweden, this was a popular car, but not popular enough for it to continue bringing in much needed income.

GM did screw them over, in the same way that BMW screwed MGR, Spyker was never "man" enough to keep a brand like that going, the Chinese or Indian manufacturers should have taken them on.

The Brand SAAB and NEVS has a lot of clauses, some mentioned here, however the main one is that they can not ever rename the company SAAB, it will have to remain NEVS or anything else, but never SAAB, hence the removal of the huge SAAB name on the Trollhatten plant.

They have the Phoenix platform, which apparently is class leading, this will underpin the new 9-3 for 2015, I have seen some pictures of the face lifted car, it is not the prettiest, but it is definitely a SAAB, having the Chinese on board will keep the brand going for a long time, whether it be in Sweden or China.

Frankly, who cares? Saab used to be an exciting car maker. Now it's as dead as Maggie.

Welcome Saab. Missing you a lot!

Love Saab! Hate Audi. Audi stinks!

The future of Saab is building cars in China for the Chinese market. A relaunched Saab will not be able to make an impact in Europe or North America and cannot hope to compete with the Germans who have the premium sector sewn up. Saab was uncompetitive and loss-making for many years before its closure and a new Saab would be in exactly the same position only worse. As I said before, the Trollhattan operation is a Longbridge-style marketing ploy designed to establish the brand in China. Nothing more, nothing less.

Yes, the new 9-5 was a huge mistake as there is no market for a big Swedish barge. The basic problem is that Saab were playing out their league for years and the brand should have been repositioned while GM were in control. Trying to compete head-to-head with the Germans was never going to work.

The slow-selling 9-5 should have been axed years earlier and a new 9-3 plus a new small family car based on the Astra platform prioritised. If they had come up with a good, sensibly priced Golf/A3/Civic/Focus competitor then they could have had a lifeline which would have enabled them to survive. Why they bothered with the 9-5 is beyond me.

well you'll find that new tech does not mean sales. You can make the best product in the world - if you can't sell it, you'll go out of business. 9-3 was selling more than the 9-5, so concentrate on what sells. Keep the company going and worker in jobs.

The 9-5 had been developed and was a goer as far as GM were concerned. So Spyker launched to try and sell it. Launching a product also brings huge expense.

They should have shelved it or repositioned the product to appeal to a different market. I would have shelved it and shrunk the company - chopped off all the extra expenses. Small and better managed is better than large and bleeding costs any day. Spyker tried to do the impossible, and the Chinese were always waiting for his to happen. I would have done the same if i was looking to buy a car firm.

So there you go the 9-5 is a nice car - but the sales did not save them. Great! New tech still did not work. Check the depreciation of the 9-5 - it shows how much it is in demand ( of course it is worse, now Saab closed down).

what rubbish, how can you say there is no commitment to the 9-3, they have stated that production has restarted, an all electric car WILL be launched next year, and brand new 9-3 will be showcased on the new Phoenix platform in 2015, the new 9-3 has been designed and just minor changes are being made, other than that it is signed off.

As usual you fail to see the bigger picture, like Longbridge, sales are increasing with Novembers sales far exceeding any sales so far, this will continue, especially as the new MG SUV, Tf replacement, new saloon and Zero hybrid are launched, all within the next few years.

SAAB will not have it easy, I am fully aware of that, but like Volvo it is succeeding due to its Chinese sales, are you saying that Volvo in Sweden is a cottage industry, because you cant have it both ways, no matter how much bluster and tripe you continue to post.

and your wrong again, the 9-5 was outselling the 9-3 towards the end, so get you facts right, as for new tech, the pheonix platform was only just being completed at the end, it is now fully completed, with all GM IP removed, look at all SAAB depreciation, they ALL bombed after closure, not just the 9-5, your very closed mind seems not to understand that, which is typical for these forums, one idea and that's got to be right, and in this case your not.

Garbage. There is NO future for Saab outside China. The 9-3 is only good enough for the Chinese market and all the rest is PR hype. Saab doesn't stand a chance in either Europe or North America.

MG has been a complete flop in the UK. They have no viable dealer network and have sold hardly any cars in almost 3 years. The only production at Longbridge is a few dozen workers assembling Chinese kits and that is it. MG can't compete in the UK or Europe and the only reason they have Longbridge is as a marketing device to sell locally produced cars in China.

Why you are bringing Volvo into this is beyond me as their position is completely different. In any case, most of their production is now outside Sweden and has been for years. You are clearly some kind of deluded fanboy that cannot accept reality.

Nonsense again. Saab should have been building smaller, cheaper cars to compete in the class below the 9-3. A new 9-5 was never going to sell in significant numbers and the money spent on this would have been better used elsewhere. Saab had been unable to compete successfully in the Audi A4/A6 and BMW 3 Series/5 Series league for years and it was foolish to continue trying to do so.

BMW screwed MGR? Are you sure it was not the other way round? BAe were desperate to flog off MGR and pulled the wool over BMW's eyes re. the true state of the company. BMW thought they were buying a stand-alone company with in-house R&D, healthy sales and good future growth projections. They weren't. MGR was badly run, in long-term decline and reliant on Honda for product development. BMW were in fact buying a lemon, which is why no one else (VW, Fiat etc.) wanted to take MGR on.

You are living fantasy land - look at the facts. SAAB died because of lack of great product and sales compared to others in the market. GM mashed it up long ago. You sound like a large SAAB fan. So i understand why you insist on fighting for your cause, and not face up to reality. SAAB will never be the same. I hope the Chinese take the brand product to a new level and give it the commitment GM never did.

Time will tell. In the mean time stop looking for meaningless facts - SAAB closed down - because some things were not right, End of story.

far from it, I see the facts and not make up just a lot of old rubbish like you and others do.

The money is now there for SAAB to succeed, whereas under GM ownership they refused to put money in, and it failed, if you cant accept that then your the one with the issues not me.

I have forgotten more about teh MGR debate than you will ever know, yes BMW screwed Rover, and dumped them with millions of debt when they took the MINI free of all costs. They lied to teh workforce and unions, even a week before they showed designs for a new factory and models, yet less than 7 days later they closed it, even with government grants in place, so tell me now that they didnt screw over MGR

GM made the mistake of selling it to Spyker, there was no way ever of them being able to run SAAB, how this was not flagged up right at the start is beyond me, someone somewhere should be shot for allowing a tin pot sports car company making one car a decade to take over a large plant and all its costs without due diligence.

The kiss of death for Saab in the UK was the GM electronics and their expense and high failure rate. I have had a 9.5, 9.3 hatch and a 9.3 convertible all liked drinking fuel but were good to drive but spoilt by GM putting their American opinion before the knowledge of European wisdom in Autos