Electric SAAB 9-3

NEVS launches electric-car output with Saab 9-3 platform in China

Production of a electric sedans based on the old Saab 9-3 platform is pictured at NEVS’ plant in the north China port city of Tianjin.

National Electric Vehicle Sweden has begun production of a full-electric sedan based on the old Saab 9-3 platform at its plant in the north China port city of Tianjin.

The launch will accelerate NEVS’ timetable to start production in other Chinese cities, according to the company’s parent, China Evergrande Group.

The Tianjin factory can initially build 50,000 EVs a year.

Evergrande Group has not divulged details about the EV.

The Saab 9-3 platform was part of assets that NEVS — a company started by Chinese-born, Swedish businessman Kai Johan Jiang in Trollhattan, Sweden — purchased from bankrupt Swedish automaker Saab Automobile in 2012.

Evergrande Group, China’s largest real estate developer, in January bought a 51 percent stake in NEVS for 6.4 billion yuan ($932 million).

Evergrande Group started diversifying into the domestic EV market through a slew of acquisitions this year. In addition to NEVS, it has acquired Shanghai-based EV battery supplier CENAT New Energy and two foreign electric motor makers — UK-based Protean Holdings and Dutch company e-Traction.

In June, it also signed agreements with local governments to produce EVs, batteries and electric motors in the south China city of Guangzhou and the northeast China city of Shenyang, with investment totaling 440 billion yuan.