NEVS is the new Saab

Saab gets new life as NEVS, a car brand with a new look and logo that is focused on producing electric vehicles.

David W. Cerny/Reuters/File
A scratched Saab logo is seen on a car in Prague.

The zombie auto brand known as Saab is officially dead. Again.

This may come as some surprise, because apart from one recall, we haven't reported on Saab since 2014. Even the most devoted fans have probably stopped waiting for the Swedish niche brand's return.

But for those still clinging to shreds of hope, let go: the death knell has finally sounded. Saab's current owner says that it won't revive the Saab nameplate and will instead sell cars under the NEVS brand. The last remaining vestige of Saab, its website, now redirects to NEVS, where the announcement was made yesterday. Here's the key bit:

"From today onwards, we are NEVS – both on a company and product level. With that comes a new logo, a new look and a reinstated commitment to, and focus on, electric vehicles and mobility solutions."

What will these "electric vehicles and mobility solutions" look like? We have no idea. Most of the images on NEVS' website seem like stock photos of happy people in office spaces. (And we're pretty sure the cover pic is a factory-standard Mac desktop.)

There's not much talk of cars on the NEVS website either, and what's there seems like an afterthought. Here's the company's "Our Vision" statement:

"We were founded in 2012 with the determination to create change for those around us and for coming generations. Our vision of shaping mobility for a more sustainable future is our north star, guiding everything we do. We don’t believe that you need to compromise quality, safety, performance or comfort to do good. By challenging conventions, we design premium electric vehicles and mobility experiences that are simple, engaging and distinctive, but that also shape a brighter, cleaner future for all. We aim to give people who are curious and passionate about the world a way to express themselves – and invite them to take part in shaping the future of mobility."

Further down that page, NEVS--which is owned by investors in China--lays claim to Saab's 69-year-old heritage, but not the Saab name. Like a self-made, upwardly mobile medieval merchant, NEVS is an upstart that married well, killed its spouse, and kept the house and pedigree.

That said, there will almost certainly be NEVS cars--perhaps as soon as 2018 (two years later than expected). At least four models have been planned around the Phoenix platform that Saab developed but never had the chance to implement before it slid into bankruptcy. 

However, given all the talk of "mobility" on the site, it's obvious that NEVS has seen the writing on the wall. In the future, we wouldn't be surprised if NEVS partnered with UberLyft, China's Didi Chuxing, or perhaps some other ride-sharing/car-sharing start-up, just to hedge its automaking bets.

Clearly, NEVS is more interested in the future than in Saab's past--and given that past, maybe it's for the best.

This article first appeared at The Car Connection.

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.