National Electric Vehicle Sweden (NEVS), the owner of the assets of Saab Automobile, has announced plans to release four all-new vehicles in 2018.
Speaking at Sweden’s largest annual automotive conference, Stora Bildagen, NEVS president Mattias Bergman revealed the company’s intention to launch its first electric vehicle based on “significantly upgraded” Saab 9-3 technology in 2017 before introducing four new models based on Saab’s EV-optimised Phoenix platform the following year.
NEVS’ future line-up will include a “corporate sedan” (the 9-3-based mid-sized sedan), a “sporty urban SUV” (compact SUV), an “urban adventurer” (mid-sized crossover), a “distinctive family SUV” (mid-sized SUV), and an “active all-rounder” (mid-sized “fastback”).
The major parts will be built at the old Saab production plant in Trollhätten, Sweden, then sent to a new facility in Tianjin, China, to be assembled. The Trollhätten plant has capacity to build 180,000 cars per year, while the Tianjin factory will be able to produce 200,000 cars per year.
The cars will initially be sold in Sweden and China from the first half of 2017, though Bergman confirmed the company’s intentions of expanding the range further into Europe, as well as the US once the portfolio expands.
He said NEVS’ future vehicle range would occupy a segment it defines as “green independent”.
“The sedan will continue to be big but we believe that SUVs will gain in importance. A customer wants to be out in nature and actually connects well with the crossover and SUV body styles.”
Bergman claims NEVS will lead the industry in “battery technology and selected connectivity services, and of course the whole car concept”, while being “fast-followers in other areas … outsourcing quite a bit to other partners we are working with”.
The wheels are well and truly turning at NEVS. The company is currently reconfiguring the Trollhätten body shop, with work to be completed before the middle of next year. From there it will recruit more production staff who will begin building painted body parts that will then be shipped to China to be assembled into complete cars.
NEVS has invested significantly in turning its ambitious plans into a successful business. On top of the 1.8 billion Swedish krona ($290 million) it initially paid for the Saab Automobile assets, NEVS owners have invested more than 4 billion Swedish krona ($650 million) in laying the foundations.
One of the biggest question marks remains over whether the vehicles will wear Saab badges and be sold under the old name, or if they’ll be hit the market with NEVS or some other branding.
Bergman says dialogue on this issue is “continuing” with Saab AB at this stage, but insists “we will be very clear as to how the brand will look” closer to its launch.