The Saab name will not appear on any vehicles produced by National Electric Vehicle Sweden (NEVS), the Chinese-led consortium that has owned the remaining assets of Saab Automobile since 2012, according to a report by Automotive News.
The rights to the Saab name are held by Saab AB, a Swedish Aerospace company. Saab AB sold 50% of its stake in Saab Auto to General Motors in 1989 and exited completely in 2000. General Motors sold Saab to Spyker in 2010, but within two years the company went bust and NEVS stepped in. However, Saab AB controls the use of the Saab brandname.
Since then there have been periodic reports that NEVS will produce electric vehicles based on the Saab 9-3, the most recent in December 2015 – see our post of 21 December 2015 on this.
There are precedents for Saab AB’s action. In 2000 BMW broke up the Rover Group, selling the now-defunct Rover Car Company to the Phoenix consortium and Landrover to Ford. However, BMW retained the rights to the Rover name. Rover went bust in 2005, and its assets were acquired by China’s Nanjing Auto, later absorbed by Shanghai Automotive.
Concerned that use of the Rover name in China might adversely affect its Landrover brand, Ford bought the Rover brand from BMW in 2006, forcing SAIC to develop an alternative brand, which emerged as “Roewe”.
Rover… …. and Roewe