Saab to restart 9-3 sedan production two years after bankruptcy

Fri Nov 29, 2013 2:21pm EST

The logo of Swedish manufacturer Saab is seen on a car in Prague June 13, 2012. REUTERS/David W Cerny

The logo of Swedish manufacturer Saab is seen on a car in Prague June 13, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/David W Cerny

(Reuters) - The new owners of Swedish car maker Saab, National Electric Vehicle Sweden AB, will restart production of the 9-3 sedan on Monday at the Trollhattan factory in Sweden, a NEVS spokesman said on Friday.

The 9-3 sedan will be powered by a turbocharged gasoline engine and built in "small and humble numbers" for China and Sweden, NEVS spokesman Mikael Ostlund said.

The move comes almost two years after Saab, which had made cars since 1947, filed for bankruptcy at the end of 2011. Saab was previously owned by General Motors Co (GM.N), which sold it to Dutch sports car group Spyker (SPYKF.PK) in 2010.

NEVS, which is 22 percent owned by the Chinese city of Qingdao through the city's investment company, bought most of the assets of Saab last year. Ostlund reiterated that an electric 9-3 sedan is expected to launch in China next year.

Since NEVS acquired the assets, it has reached new agreements with the 400 suppliers for the 9-3, Ostlund said.

The vehicle that will begin production Monday will look similar to the last 9-3s that rolled off the line in Trollhattan in 2011. But Ostlund said NEVS may revamp the 9-3 when it is launched as an electric sedan next year in China.

About 600 people work at Saab's assembly plant in Trollhatten now, Ostlund said. The plant's workforce was around 3,500 at the time of Saab's bankruptcy, he added.

(Reporting by Deepa Seetharaman in Fort Lauderdale, Florida; Editing by Tim Dobbyn)

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