Death Has a Revolving Door

Driven To Write has some news for anyone who has been reading the UK motoring press.

1979 Saab 900

Far from being “an undiscovered bourne from whom no traveller returns” (copyright W. Shakespeare 1599-1602), it appears death is a place car brands can pop over to and come back from much like an obscure place with an out-of-the-way airport served by Ryanair. I think Saab is dead but it might not be. Or it might be. It died spiritually under GM, it died again physically, was reborn under Spyker but soon expired. National Electric Vehicles revived the firm in 2012.

But according to the Wall Street Journal a key investor at National Electric Vehicles has failed to come up with some promised cash and so the small-scale production of the 9-3 has stopped (for the moment). So, the 9-3 is back six feet under alongside the MG RV-8, Jensen Interceptor, Austin Montego and Rover, those other cars and brands who refused to die just the once.

The very existence of Saab surprised me. Last week while chatting to a Swede at a conference I learned that Saab were in business and making a few cars pending larger scale production. The 9-3 was being sold on-line and the future plans involved making electric cars under the brand name. I am only half-joking when I suggest that re-manufacturing the last non-GM Saab 900 might be a better bet as these cars were built to last and only need a more modern engine to be considered competitive. I am sure a lawyer can find a way around the current rules for crash-protection.


It could very well be a mark of my own titanic ignorance but I am wholly surprised Saab’s factory site is not now a building site for 3, 4 and 5 bedroom executive homes. The Saab story has not been widely reported and it took a trawl down a few pages at Google to find a story from Green Car Reports that test production of an electric 9-3 has begun. Whether this venture goes further is hard to say with conviction unless you’re a seasoned industry analyst which I am not. However, the idea of Saab as an electric car does not distress me and in some ways seems of a piece with Saab’s history of innovation.


WSJ Journal’s report is here.  You can read about the NEV branch of the story here. And Green Car Reports on Saab here.  


Author: richard herriott

I like anchovies. I dislike post-war town planning.

2 thoughts on “Death Has a Revolving Door”

  1. A spark of life? Do we berate ‘The World’s Best Car Magazine’ (sic) and others for underplaying this news, or do we applaud them for their discretion, by not wishing to engender false hope in those who thought they had achieved closure.

    Also, from The Land of the Living Dead

    FROM TVR : “That faith and enthusiasm will soon be rewarded as right now we’re busy planning the thunderous arrival of new TVR cars. It will be a little while until we share our plans – sorry – but it would be wrong to announce anything before details are finalised.”

    FROM BRISTOL : “Bristol Cars have entered into a technical partnership with Frazer-Nash Research. Frazer-Nash Research has been developing Range Extended Electric Vehicles for 24 years. Utilising their technology, Bristol Cars truly believe that they will be able to produce next generation, luxurious, vehicles.”

    FROM FIAT : Oh, we did that one already.

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