While the coffin lid appears to have finally slammed shut on Trollhättan’s revenant marque, Driven to Write has unearthed secret plans to exhume the brand name once more.
Following Spyker Cars’ failed 2010 takeover of Saab Automobile, the National Electric Vehicle Sweden company (or NEVS for short) attempted to reanimate Saab’s rapidly cooling corpse by setting itself up as a ‘biofuel industry pioneer’ – a peculiar mission statement for a company with the avowed intention of producing electric cars. After licensing the brand from SAAB AB, (the aerospace division who held the rights to the name), NEVS restarted production of the GM-funded 9-3 model – a small number (about 450) of which were assembled in Trollhättan during 2014. An even smaller number of electric prototypes were also built.
After this it all gets a little murky. NEVS ran out of money in 2015 and filed for bankruptcy protection prompting SAAB AB to revoke the use of the name. Having since secured Chinese investment following a strategic partnership with Panda New Energy and Chinese State Grid to build 150,000 electric cars, NEVS inked a deal with the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (or TÜBITAK for short) to assist in the development and construction of a new Turkish national car.
According to SAAB AB spokesperson Sebastian Carlsson, TÜBITAK purchased some of the 9-3 saloon’s intellectual property rights, but not its name, adding that neither NEVS nor TÜBITAK represented the Saab brand in any way. Subsequently, following further talks with SAAB AB, the Swedish defence and avionics company declined to allow NEVS continued use of the Saab name.
But expediency is the mother of reinvention, so this week sees the announcement to the automotive media that no, NEVS never really wanted the Saab name after all. Instead, future NEVS cars will be known as The Auto Company Formerly Known As Saab, (or TACFKAS for short). According to a spokesperson from the auto maker, the new name was chosen to give NEVS a more simplified and coherent brand recognition, since NEVS clearly has limited recognition or appeal – especially everywhere.
Speaking on the corporate website, the president of TACFKAS – (or PTACFKAS for short) speaks of becoming; “A sustainable mobility solutions provider who are committed to the environment with a focused growth plan with its own brand as a corner stone.” Production of the 9-3-based electric car will commence next year in China for the domestic market – the TÜBITAK variant as yet about three years hence. But with corner stones like these, it really can’t be long before NEVS or TÜBITAK, (to say nothing of TACFKAS) will be on every motorist’s lips. Welcome back Saab.