Saab to resume making cars in Sweden

Cars at production line in Saab factory in Sweden
Image caption Saab is set to restart production two years after it filed for bankruptcy

Saab will restart production on Monday as the firm's new owners look to get the carmaker back on track.

Saab went bankrupt in December 2011 and was bought by a Chinese-Swedish investment group, National Electric Vehicle Sweden (Nevs), last year.

The carmaker will restart production of its 9-3 sedan model at its Trollhattan factory in western Sweden.

The firm will initially make a petrol-powered version of the car with the aim of launching an electric version later.

"It's very similar, you can't change or develop very much in a year. We acquired the assets in August last year," Mikael Oestlund, a spokesman for Nevs was quoted as saying by the AFP news agency.

"Our focus has been to get the co-operation up and running with 400 suppliers and ensure the facilities were working."

Slow and steady

Saab has seen mixed fortunes over the past few years.

US carmaker General Motors (GM) bought a 50% stake and management control of the firm in 1989, and gained full ownership in 2000.

The Swedish company's car sales peaked at 133,000 cars in 2006. But then it saw its fortunes dwindle with sales falling to 93,000 cars in 2008 and just 27,000 in 2009.

To make matters worse, GM itself sought bankruptcy protection as the global financial crisis unfolded, forcing the US company to dispose of assets.

GM sold Saab to Dutch group Spyker, which in turn eventually sold the firm to Nevs in June last year. The new owners have said they want to focus on electric cars as they look to revive the brand.

However, Mr Oestlund said that initial production would be modest.

"We don't want to make promises or forecasts we don't know we can fulfil," he said.

"We are humble and say we'll start the production volume with low figures and be able to increase over time according to the market's demand."