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Saab Automobile Production Restarts After Two Years With 9-3

A Saab Automobile car rolled off the assembly line today for the first time in more than two years.

National Electric Vehicle Sweden AB, the investment group that owns the brand, revived production of the 9-3 sedan for sales in China and Sweden. Saab filed for bankruptcy in December 2011 after a lack of cash forced it to halt production.

“It is truly a complex mission to start a car production process which has been still for two and a half years,” NEVS President Mattias Bergman said in a statement today.

A Chinese-Japanese investment group agreed to buy Saab Automobile in June 2012 and pledged to convert the carmaker into a manufacturer of electric vehicles. The first model will be based on the 9-3 and is slated to go on sale next year. The city of Qingdao, which is part owner of Saab, has placed an order for 200 vehicles with delivery to start in the spring.

Sales of the gasoline-powered model in Sweden will begin Dec. 10 via NEVS’s website. The 9-3 costs from 279,000 Swedish kronor ($42,550).

Saab’s purchasing group was led by Hong Kong-based renewable-energy power-plant builder National Modern Energy Holdings Ltd., which holds a 78 percent stake in NEVS.

Saab was previously owned by General Motors Co. (GM), which acquired full control of the business in 2000, before selling it in February 2010 to Dutch supercar maker Spyker NV, which failed to revive the Swedish brand.

Saab Automobile’s roots date back to the 1937 establishment of aircraft manufacturer Svenska Aeroplan AB, which began making cars in 1947. The auto business was split from the aerospace operations, now called Saab AB (SAABB), in the 1990s.

To contact the reporter on this story: Christoph Rauwald in Frankfurt at crauwald@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Chad Thomas at cthomas16@bloomberg.net

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