National Electric Vehicle Sweden AB (NEVS), owner of bankrupt Saab Automobile, announced this week that it has made an investment deal with the city of City of Qingdao, China. NEVS said in a release that a Saab EV would launch in China by early 2014.
The City of Qingdao has, through its investment company Qingdao Qingbo Investment Co, Ltd, signed a contract with NEVS’ parent company National Modern Energy Holdings Ltd. and with National Electric Vehicle Sweden AB (NEVS). The city, which invested 2 billion Swedish crowns ($307.33 million) in NEVS, will hold 22 percent of company shares.
China is a key market with great potential demand for Saab vehicles according to NEVS. Qingdao is set to become the hub for NEVS’ efforts in the Chinese market, which means that exports will be shipped through the Port of Qingdao, a strategic location along Chinese East Coast, says the company.
NEVS, headquartered in Trollhättan, Sweden, said that when its Trollhättan plant reaches capacity, a complementary manufacturing facility will gradually be established in Qingdao.
”Qingdao is a long term strategic partner in China, which also provides us with a large customer,” said Kai Johan Jiang, CEO and main owner, NEVS.
The company said it’s also evaluating whether the possibility of beginning production of the Saab 9-3, an EV model in development before the bankruptcy, in the second half of 2013.
”Vehicles based on new energy sources are the future. Qingdao wants to take an active part in this development,” said Zhang Xingi, Mayor of Qingdao.
On Aug. 31, 2012, NEVS acquired the main assets of the Saab Automobile bankruptcy estates. What wasn’t part of the bankruptcy purchase, however, was the Saab brand logo.
In October 2012, a sister company of NEVS in China opened a plant in Beijing producing high-performance batteries for automotive applications.