No Saab Festival without a surprise! Also this year was NEVS good for a headline. The very last Saab was announced for auction. One of 420-built Saab 9-3 model year 2014 and actually intended for a crash test. But then put away and now rolled to the festival in front of the factory gate.
Actually, the model year 2014 should have been the prelude to the rebirth of the Saab brand. With some effort NEVS celebrated the start of production, and a minister flew specially from Stockholm to Trollhättan. Unfortunately, after just 420 copies were final, which was not due to the car and its qualities.
Prelude to rebirth. The not working.
NEVS installed seats from the old Volvo XC90 that were a few centimeters too high, but provided them with a Saab logo. But the chassis was the best, a mix of Aero and Turbo X setup. And thus probably the best that there has ever been in the small series. The workmanship and the noise comfort were impressive, the earlier Saab engineers had put emphasis on fine-tuning. A big expense for an even bigger plan. A facelift for the 2015 model year, the rebirth of the sports suit. That was all decided, but failed due to several factors.
NEVS failed to establish a sensible supply chain. Evil tongues claim that the scrap yards in the area were searched for production. It can not be proved, but it is clear that NEVS was using the well-stocked Orio spare parts warehouse in Nyköping. The engines were bought expensive at the free market, a supply contract with GM or Opel never gave it. Larger quantities would not have been possible under these circumstances, the lack of liquidity ultimately ended the adventure.
For months, unsold vehicles for the Asian market were still in front of the factory. Finally, they were converted to European specifications and sold to employees on attractive terms. In the meantime, NEVS had also lost the rights to the Saab brand, which was the last chapter in the brand history.
The very last Saab. And one of the best.
Today, 2014 vehicles have a collector status. Not as pronounced as 9-5 NG and 9-4x, but at least. They are without question the best vehicles in the 9-3 series that ever left the factory at Göta Älv. They are the result of a long evolution since the premiere 2002 and follow the typical Saab tradition.
Now it's time for an end and the very latest Saab, a silver 9-3, will be auctioned off. The auction will start in the autumn and the proceeds will be donated by NEVS AB for a charitable purpose. That could be the end of a saga. But you are never sure. Because maybe in a hall between, let's say Trollhättan and Vänersborg, still a Rohkarosse. A former employee parked as a precaution and from which he eventually assembles the really last Saab.