Saab devotees waiting patiently for the carmaker’s new owner to find its feet and kick the production line into gear, will have to settle for a new car that isn’t wearing the famous Griffin badge.
In fact, not even Saab’s newer ‘Griffin-less’ badge (pictured, below) will adorn its new models, as the new owner reveals it has lost the rights to the ‘Saab’ name.
National Electric Vehicle Sweden - Saab’s owner since 2012 - will instead rely on its own name as the company’s trademark, shortened to “NEVS”, for new models from here on.
Whether this impacts sales or not in any of NEVS’ intended markets will be revealed as the next chapter as Saab’s story plays out. But for Saab fans, the idea of owning a ‘new Saab’ wearing a Saab badge is surely now dead and buried.
NEVS’ strategy for Saab involved a quickly-reborn 9-3 to keep sales ticking over, due to be joined eventually by all-electric versions of the 9-3 for buyers in Sweden and NEVS’ home market of China.
That 9-3 EV is virtually assured, as NEVS revealed late last year that a supply deal for 150,000 vehicles had been struck with China’s Panda New Energy, along with 100,000 commercial vehicles.
The launch date for the 9-3 EV is now scheduled for next sometime next year, although the now-gone Saab branding may spell the end for the 9-3 model name as well.
The 9-3 EV, or whatever is may be called, is part of a six-model strategy for NEVS to be played out between now and the end of 2020.
"With sincere respect to our history and heritage, we want to be recognised as ourselves,” NEVS President Mattias Bergman said.
“[We are] a sustainable mobility solutions provider who [is] committed to the environment with a focused growth plan with its own brand as a corner stone."
NEVS produced a handful of petrol-powered 9-3s when it restarted production in 2013 (pictured, above), but a collapsed deal with a Chinese business partner quickly saw the carmaker hit the wall with financial woes.
But NEVS refused to roll over and die - instead fighting bankruptcy proceedings several times through the Swedish court system which granted NEVS generous leeway on more than one occasion.
For Saab owners the world over, the last-ever Saab-badged vehicle - both with and without griffin - is out there, somewhere…