National Electric Vehicle Sweden AB, a company set up by a Chinese-Japanese investment group that may build electric cars, agreed to buy Saab Automobile and bring the Swedish manufacturer back from bankruptcy, a person familiar with the matter said.
The group, led by Japanese investment firm Sun Investment and Hong Kong-based renewable-energy power-plant builder National Modern Energy Holdings Ltd., will make the announcement today, said the person, who declined to be identified discussing the deal before an official announcement.
Anne-Marie Pouteaux and Hans Bergqvist, Saab’s bankruptcy administrators, said in a statement that the carmaker has been sold and the purchaser will be identified at a press conference later today.
Saab, the maker of the 9-5 sedan and 9-4X crossover vehicle, hasn’t built cars since last year following an initial production halt in March 2011, and it filed for bankruptcy in December. Trollhaettan-based Saab has been unprofitable for two decades, and General Motors Co. (GM), which acquired full control of the manufacturer in 2000, sold it in February 2010 to Dutch supercar maker Spyker N.V.
The Saab administrators said early in 2012 that a half- dozen parties had shown interest in buying the company. Jinhua, China-based Zhejiang Youngman Lotus Automobile said in February that it was in talks, and it made a 4 billion-krona ($567 million) offer last month, a person familiar with the situation said May 31.
The Sun Investment bidding group formed a company called National Electric Vehicle Sweden AB with the purpose of buying Saab’s assets, a spokesman said in May.
Saab had been struggling since at least December 2009, when Detroit-based GM announced it might dissolve the Swedish brand as it did with the Saturn, Hummer and Pontiac divisions in the U.S. With sales peaking at 133,000 deliveries in 2006, Saab sold just 31,700 vehicles in 2010.
No sales figures have been released for 2011. Eric Geers, a former Saab spokesman who now works for startup Chinese carmaker Qoros Auto Ltd., estimated in February that the Swedish brand sold 10,000 to 15,000 vehicles last year.