CHINA: NEVS signs Quingdao Saab production deal
National Electric Vehicle Sweden (NEVS) says it has inked a deal to produce Saab vehicles in China, in parallel with manufacture in Sweden that will see electric and conventionally-powered models being made in Trollhattan.
NEVS is partnering with Chinese investment company, Quingdao Qingbo, to produce Saabs in the country, with what appear to be other partners also involved in the joint venture.
Quingdao Qingbo - owned by the city of Quingdao - will plough SEK2bn (US$306m) 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, slated to begin next year, although no numbers are yet available for volumes in both countries.
"There will be a feasibility study and when that is done, we will know more details about what can be produced and when," a NEVS spokesman in Sweden told just-auto.
"It is complement [ary] - in parallel to the production in Trollhattan that will start earlier of course - I don't know exactly the date of Chinese production. Swedish cars will [still] be exported to China.
"Quingdao's harbour is strategically placed in the province of Shandong, so the export will be made through their harbour on the east coast of China. There will be several investments in a joint venture in China."
NEVS added it 'welcomed' new investment into the company provided potential partners 'enhanced' the business plan, which, although essentially based on electric models, also envisages production of a conventionally-powered 9-3 model.
To that end, NEVS is currently in negotiation with around 500 Saab suppliers to restart production of the 9-3 with a traditional engine and has inked a potential start date as early as this summer.
"If the suppliers can supply parts in time, we can start production this summer of the traditional 9-3," said the NEVS spokesman.
"We have to have all the parts, we have to have 100%. We have to take the decision at the beginning of this year."
Speculation in China has 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.