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Saab goes electric with Asian help

Wednesday, June 13, 2012 - 01:53

June 13 - Chinese-Japanese firm buys Saab and aims to become a leading manufacturer of electric vehicles with sales focusing on China. Hayley Platt reports.

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He was born in China, has Swedish citizenship and Japanese financial backing. Kai Johan Jiang is also the new owner of Saab - and it's going to be electric. (SOUNDBITE)(Swedish) NEVS CEO AND MAIN OWNER KAI JOHAN JIANG SAYING: "Through the purchase of Saab we begin a new era in the auto industry. We become the first global actor focusing on sustainable solutions. We are going to combine Swedish innovation and engineering knowledge with Japan's best technology. Marketing and sales will be global but initially we will focus on China. It's there we see the biggest market for electric cars." Saab started making cars in 1947. It went bankrupt at the end of last year - less than two years after General Motors sold it to the Dutch group Spyker. It is an admired brand but has struggled to survive against bigger competitors. National Electric Vehicle Sweden beat off competition from the Chinese to secure Saab. Carl-Erling Trogen is chairman of the new consortium. (SOUNDBITE)(Swedish) NEVS CHAIRMAN KARL-ERLING TROGEN SAYING: "We are going to build the electric vehicle of the future here in Trollhattan. The plant as you have heard earlier is top class. In parallel we are are also addressing the environmental challenges of the future by providing an attractive car that the market will demand." The new car will be based on the Saab 9-3 model as some of the other brands are - for now - still owned by General Motors But the new car should be ready for launch by late next year or early 2014. It's welcome news for the Swedish town of Trollhatten - Saab's home - although the new owners say they will only need 200 staff to begin with - far less than the 3,500 who used to work at the plant. Hayley Platt, Reuters.

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Saab goes electric with Asian help

Wednesday, June 13, 2012 - 01:53