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New Electric Vehicle Sweden (NEVS) has officially conceded defeat in its battle to regain rights to the Saab name for use on its cars.

Overnight, the Chinese-backed car maker announced that from 2017 it will begin producing vehicles based on the Saab 9-3 platform, including an electric vehicle.

Mattias Bergman, president of NEVS, tried to paint this latest news in a positive light. In a statement he said, “With sincere respect to our history and heritage, we want to be recognised as ourselves — a sustainable mobility solutions provider who are committed to the environment with a focused growth plan with its own brand as a corner stone”.

Although the company has only revealed the typeface of its new logo, it promises that “from colours to imagery, our new brand design should always reflect our aim of shaping mobility for a more sustainable future”.

saab-9-3
Above: Saab 9-3 sedan.

In 2012, NEVS bought Saab’s factory in Trollhattan and the rights to the design of the 9-3 range from receivers after Spyker, the previous owner of Saab, sent the company into bankruptcy protection in 2011.

The Saab brand, however, is controlled by the Saab Group, a military equipment supplier, and truck maker Scania. Eventually NEVS was able to negotiate a deal to use the Saab name on its cars, but not the griffin logo.

When NEVS itself filed for bankruptcy protection in 2014, it lost its rights to the Saab name, which it has been trying to regain until today.

Since its emergence from the shadow of closure in 2015, NEVS has signed a number of deals to put it onto a more stable financial footing.

These include a licensing deal for the 9-3 to become the basis of Turkey’s new national car, an agreement to supply 150,000 9-3 EVs to Panda New Energy in China, and a pact to co-develop plug-in hybrids and electric drivetrains with Dongfeng, one of PSA Peugeot-Citroen’s largest shareholders.

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