Malcolm Flynn | Nov 16, 2012

The first models from the reborn Saab could feature a petrol engine, despite the alternative-energy plans of new owner National Electric Vehicles Sweden (NEVS).

Dutch site AutoWeek reports that pressure to commence production has moved NEVS to focus on a more conventional internal combustion drivetrain in the short term.

NEVS, a joint venture between Chinese National Modern Energy Holdings and Japanese Sun Investment, has previously suggested an early 2014 debut for its first 9-3 based model.

Development of the new car is understood to have begun before NEVS took over the Saab brand, with the September finalisation of the deal - and the availability of Saab's Trollhattan plant - expected to speed up development.

"With the manufacturing facilities at our disposal, we are able to continue development work on site at Trollhättan", CEO Kai Johan Jian said at the time.

However, according to AutoWeek, NEVS is still yet to gain access to the facility's full resources, forcing the new owner to begin production with regular petrol engines.

Where those engines will come from is unclear. Citing an unnamed spokesman, the report suggests former Saab owner and engine supplier General Motors is reluctant to supply more engines.

"There is still a small possibility that GM engines will be delivered, but we are still working on it", the spokesman said (translated). "And if that does not work, then we have options with other brands.”


Convertible and SportCombi bodystyles

The AutoWeek report also suggests that the previously sedan-only production model will also be joined by convertible and wagon bodystyles.

NEVS’ Saab acquisition reportedly included the previous 9-3’s convertible and SportCombi derivatives, and is keen to utilise all three body types for the new version.

“NEVS will close no door of opportunity (translated)”, an unnamed NEVS staffer said.

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