(Yicai Global) Nov. 7 -- National Electric Vehicle Sweden, which bought bankrupt Saab Automobile in 2012, has become the 10th pure electric carmaker to receive endorsement from both China's top economic planner and industry ministry.
The Trollhattan-based firm, part-owned by a Swedish-Chinese entrepreneur, has obtained approval to make electric cars from the National Development and Reform Commission and the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, according to a list of licensed automakers published by the latter on Nov. 5.
NEVS got the green light from the NDRC in January 2017 to build its electric vehicle plant, so the latest development is the MIIT's validation, which will allow the firm to start selling cars.
Other carmakers with endorsements from both regulators are BAIC BJEV, Yudo, JMEV, Zhidou, Changjiang, Qiantu, Hozon, Chery and Chongqing Jinkang. Five manufacturers -- Min'an, Wanxiang, Henan SD, Greenwheel and JAC Volkswagen -- have obtained their license from the NDRC but do not yet have approval from the MIIT.
NEVS was set up specifically to purchase Saab by National Modern Energy Holdings, led by half-Swedish bio-energy pioneer Kai Johan Jiang, and Japan's Sun Investment in 2012 to turn the dying brand into an electric vehicle marque. Kai is the largest shareholder in NEVS through his ownership in NME Holdings.
The carmaker set to work on a production base in 2016, spending CNY4.2 billion (USD605 million) on the Tianjin factory. Once complete, the plant is expected to build 220,000 pure electric passenger cars a year.
It has two models prepped for mass production which it showed off at CES Asia in June 2017: a remake of the Saab 9-3, now the NEVS 9-3, and the 9-3X, a sports-utility version of the same vehicle. Six months later it unveiled the 9-3 EV and scheduled mass production for June 2018, but those plans have since been delayed. The company already has 270,000 units on order from companies like ride-hailing giant Didi Chuxing, vehicle leaser Panda New Energy and China Volant Industry.
Editor: James Boynton