SWEDEN: NEVS pencils autumn 2013 for Saab 9-3 petrol/diesel restart
National Electric Vehicle Sweden (NEVS), says it is aiming to restart Saab production this autumn as it continues a recruitment drive for its new venture.
NEVS is looking to produce both petrol and diesel versions of its 9-3 model and although no sales numbers have yet been envisaged, the company is talking to around 500 potential component manufacturers and Scandinavian supplier body, FKG.
"The aim for the restart...with the existing 9-3 model we hope we would start later this autumn," a NEVS spokesman told just-auto from Sweden. "The production start is with the existing 9-3 - that is not an electric vehicle - the launch of the EV will be in 2014."
"When we started the dialogue with suppliers, because of the demand we experienced, we wanted to restart with the conventional powertrain later this year. Around 80% of the parts [are] the same for the vehicle based on the 9-3."
NEVS is discussing its requirements with suppliers for the petrol/diesel version of the car itself, as well as for future electric vehicle production that aims to see the large Saab plant at Trollhattan near Gothenburg restart work.
The Trollhattan site currently employs around 140 staff paid by NEVS, who are working on components for Saab Automobile Parts that never had the same bankruptcy problems of the car manufacturer.
The component company is owned by the Swedish government as it has shares as security for the European Investment Bank loan.
"We are recruiting personnel to be ready for production whenever that will be," said the NEVS spokesman. "It is not that we have made the single production start [date], but we are still in negotiations and discussions with suppliers.
"There are still some parts we need to secure. There are around 2,400 different parts to produce. We had discussions with around 500 suppliers, so it is pretty tough work and it is not finalised."
NEVS has previously said it is partnering with Chinese investment company, Quingdao Qingbo, to produce Saabs in China, with what appear to be other partners also involved in the joint venture.
Quingdao Qingbo - owned by the city of Quingdao - said it would plough SEK2bn (US$303m) into the operation that will see it take 22% of NEVS through a rights issue.
The deal will see production run in tandem with that of electric vehicles at Saab's Trollhattan factory in Sweden, although no numbers are yet available for volumes in both countries.
Speculation in China has formerly centred on a total investment of 10bn Yuan and annual production of around 400,000 models per year for the new venture in the country.