SWEDEN: NEVS sticks to autumn Saab 9-3 relaunch date
National Electric Vehicle Sweden (NEVS) is remaining coy concerning any precise restart date for its Saab division, but insists it will still be "this autumn," as final supplier contracts are negotiated.
Despite it already being 9 October, the automaker is sticking to its autumn production start timetable, maintaining there are only a "handful" of supplier contracts still to negotiate before it begins manufacture of its 9-3 Saab model.
The much-anticipated start of manufacturing at Saab has followed discussions with around 400 component makers, as the NEVS company insists it is on track to start imminent production.
"There are 500 suppliers for the whole 9-3 programme - team members are finalising negotiations," a Saab spokesman told just-auto today during a visit to the automaker's headquarters at Trollhattan in Western Sweden.
"It is not really a matter of are there components - it is more business negotiations. They have discussions with 400 and in total there are 500 suppliers - it is much fewer [left] than 100 - it is a handful."
Saab has already manufactured the first batch of 15 pre-series vehicles using stored components out of a total 30 models it will produce as the Trollhattan facility is validated and ahead of what it still insists is a start date "this autumn."
"It is the business dialogue now being finalised - we are closing these dialogues in the near future," said the spokesman. "Of course we have a date, but we are very careful.
"We are quite confident in starting production later this year. The vast majority that were former suppliers are the same we have contracts with now.
"In our strategy we are trying to consolidate suppliers but to be able to start to work a little bit more than a year after the acquisition, we had to chose suppliers that were already suppliers."
NEVS has been recruiting staff since last year for a restart, initially of the conventionally-powered 9-3 model, before its intention to manufacture an electric vehicle in 2014.
The most recent headcount now sees Saab employ a total of 347 people at the Trollhattan site.
In its heyday, the manufacturer employed around 4,000 staff, although the current owners decline to reveal what levels employment eventually might reach.