Saab never earned quite the amount of mainstream success that other companies like BMW or even Volvo did, but it always had a special place in our hearts thanks to its cars' odd styling and turbocharged engines. Watching the company go down just as it looked like it might be able to reinvent itself was a sad thing to witness, but yet, hope might not actually be completely lost.
that National Electric Vehicle Sweden (NEVS), the company that bought Saab after Spyker's attempt to keep it afloat failed, was in Stockholm this week at Sweden's largest annual automotive conference to announce five new vehicles by 2018.
The first car will reportedly be a heavily-upgraded, electric Saab 9-3 that will be sold in China and Sweden in early 2017. The following year, NEVS has promised to introduce two midsize SUVs, a compact SUV, and a "midsize fastback." All five will have electric powertrains.
While it's easy to dismiss this plan as a pipe dream, NEVS is treating this like it's actually going to happen. At the conference, the company is hiring around 50 people per month and could use closer to 100 people per month.
Still, even with financial backing from China and a partnership with Dongfeng, it's hard to imagine a company launching five electric vehicles in the space of a couple years and doing so successfully. Tesla has shown that it's possible to successfully sell electric vehicles, but after more than 10 years, it's still only just started selling its third vehicle.
Even if all five new Saabs share the same platform, that's still an incredibly ambitious goal.
You also have to wonder how much of a market there is for Chinese-owned and built electric cars outside of China, especially if NEVS isn't able to use the Saab name. It's currently in negotiations to be able to do so, but if it can't, finding a market for its cars will probably be even harder.
Since it was bought by Geely, Volvo has done an impressive job of turning out competitive new products like the new XC90, offering innovative powertrains, and even offering a plug-in hybrid model, so it's possible that NEVS could do the same. If it manages to do something similar with Saab, that would be great.
At the same time, you can't exactly blame us for being incredibly skeptical of how successful Zombie Saab will be.