Even in death, Saab could not rest in peace. In life, the Swedish automaker never managed to get out from between the sales rock and the financial hard place. After GM bought half the company in 1989 and took full control in 2000, the inevitable brand engineering led to cars like a Saab 900 on an Opel platform, a Subaru Impreza rebadged as a Saab 9-2X and a Chevrolet Trailblazer turned into a Saab 9-7x. This went as well as anyone who knew Saab would expect. Come January 2010, Saab was dead. Or rather, Saab had entered a zombie state rebranded as New Electric Vehicle Sweden (NEVS), two Chinese companies in succession buying the automaker’s intellectual property, both having to walk away due financial issues at the parent companies. Earlier this year, NEVS showed one of the projects it continued to work on throughout the turmoil, a four-seat battery-electric car called the Emily GT. NEVS said it was looking for a buyer for the project or the entire company. According to Sweden’s Auto, Motor und Sport (translated) that broke the story, and further reporting from Saab Planet, the search has succeeded and the Emily will come to life.
Saab Planet writes that in March of this year, a Swedish company called Stenhaga Invest bought 80% the the Stallbacka factory and office complex in Trollhattan where Saab used to build its cars, NEVS holding onto the remaining 20%. AMS reported that an as-yet-unknown European investor has signed a letter of intent to purchase two of the 13 projects NEVS said it has been working on, the Emily GT and the PONS, an autonomous shuttle. Svante Andersson, who runs Stenhaga, is reported to have said the unnamed investor is interested in taking control of “a substantial area” of the Trollhattan facilities, “indicating that a significant number of people will be employed in Trollhattan.”
Back in March, an NEVS engineer said properly funded development could get the Emily GT into production in less than two years. Based on the sports sedan we’ve been told about, that seems reasonable. Ineos chief Sir Jim Ratcliffe announced the Ineos Automotive Grenadier in 2017, showed a concept in 2020, and had a model running the hill at Goodwood in 2021 — four years for a ground-up design. Saab Planet writes that “a timeline for relaunch is expected to be announced after a meeting between the parties involved during week 32,” which would be the week of August 7. A hopeful schedule sees the beginning of renewed activity at the factory this fall.
The last version of the Emily GT on show was powered by a 175-kWh lithium-ion battery feeding four motors that combined to provide 484 horsepower. Estimated 0-62 mph time is 4.6 seconds, estimated range is 600 WLTP miles. There’s supposedly a more potent version coming with 653 hp and 1,622 lb-ft of torque that drops the 62-mph dash to 3.2 seconds.
One of the big questions about a potential production version is what to name it. Saab AB is a military aircraft concern that started building cars in 1947 as Saab Automotive. The military outfit let GM continue with the Saab name when the Detroit company bought in. When GM exited, the airplane manufacturer took its name back. No one knows if Saab AB will consent to another Saab Automotive. We could find out next week.