Current Saab owner National Electric Vehicle Sweden (NEVS) has just announced that it will license the Saab 9-3 technology to the Turkish government, which seeks to develop a “national car.” Spearheading this effort is TUBITAK, the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey, and it plans to use the engineering of the 9-3 and its electric powertrain but not the Saab name to launch production of the sedan in Turkey.
The 9-3, as you will recall, left production in 2011 along with the rest of the Saab range as General Motors closed down the division, selling off its parts and technology with some difficulty. Since then, NEVS has restarted production of the 9-3 model in Sweden, but not in a volume comparable to the full capacity enjoyed by Saab in its healthy days. NEVS itself has had to find investors in China to keep production running, with the company and its partners breaking ground on a future facility in Tianjin, China, that will have the capacity to produce 200,000 units of an EV version of the sedan, whose technical details are still sketchy.
The venture with Turkey is seen as a crucial expansion for NEVS, which is finally enjoying financial stability since acquiring the Saab 9-3 model. For Turkey, the purchase of the intellectual property for the 9-3 represents a tremendous savings versus developing a car from scratch, especially an electric car.