SWEDEN: Potential NEVS owner comes up against Saab AB brick wall
What's in a name? Quite a lot for potential new NEVS majority owner as it battles with Saab AB
National Electric Vehicle Sweden's (NEVS) new potential owner is embroiled in intense talks with Saab AB surrounding any use of the totemic brand name for future vehicles.
NEVS is currently in a state of reorganisation, a Swedish Chapter 11 equivalent, but any future owner is predicating its investment on retaining the brand-equity rich Saab name, a position the global defence company roundly rejects.
The Swedish automaker - which owes considerable money to hundreds of suppliers - is currently involved in protracted negotiations with two possible new investors but a major sticking point appears to be the name.
"The company planning to be the new majority owners of NEVS is in negotiation with SAAB AB," a NEVS spokesman told just-auto from Sweden. "That discussion is on-going for a while and it is not finalised.
"The fact the discussions are ongoing has affected NEVS because the new majority owner will not be able to invest without having rights to the name. It is an important issue for them.
The Swedish automaker is in the process of applying for an extension to its bankruptcy protection, due to be heard in a District Court on 2 March, but is still actively pursuing potential OEM interest.
NEVS has established a creditor committee made up of representatives from the 500 or so suppliers with an interest in the reorganisation and says moves are being made in terms of talks with its component providers.
But the new possible owner appears to be bumping up against the resolute opposition of Saab AB, which has seemingly set itself four-square against any use of the name by the automaker.
"We have withdrawn the right for NEVS to use the name Saab as a product name and we have nothing new to say regarding that," a Saab AB spokesman told just-auto from Sweden.
"We never comment on discussions we have or do not have with other parties. When you sign an agreement, there are different prerecquisites which in this particular case I can't go into.
"What I can say is we have withdrawn the right for Saab to use the product name with cars."
All NEVS creditors have been invited to what the company describes as an 'information meeting' at the company's West Sweden headquarters in Trollhättan on 26 February.