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New owner plans to turn Saab into maker of electric vehicles

More than a year after it last made a car, Saab Automobile of Sweden was sold Wednesday to a group of Chinese, Japanese and Swedish investors who plan to convert the company into a manufacturer of electric vehicles.

Saab’s bankruptcy administrators, Anne-Marie Pouteaux and Hans Bergqvist, said in a statement that the company was being acquired by National Electric Vehicle Sweden, a company set up for buying Saab assets. The price was not disclosed.

“We will match Swedish automobile design and manufacturing experience with Japanese E.V. technology and a strong presence in China,” Karl-Erling Trogen, National Electric Vehicle’s chairman, said in the statement. “Electric vehicles powered by clean electricity are the future, and the electric car of the future will be produced in Trollhattan,” the town in Sweden where Saab is based.

Saab was sold by General Motors to Victor R. Muller, a Dutch entrepreneur, in 2010. But it never recovered from years of underinvestment and the shock of the financial crisis.

Production at Saab’s main factory in Trollhattan ground to a halt in the spring of 2011 as cash dried up. Established automakers explored a possible purchase but declined, and potential Chinese buyers were discouraged from bidding by GM’s claim to major technology rights.

The company and its 3,000 workers ran out of time in December, and Saab filed for bankruptcy.
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