Bankrupt Swedish automaker Saab has found a new suitor; a Chinese-Japanese investment group wants to buy the brand and turn it into a builder of electric vehicles, according to sources who spoke with Reuters and Bloomberg News. The group formed a new company in Sweden, National Electric Vehicle Sweden AB, and has agreed to buy Saab's assets, according to reports. The companies that have invested to buy Saab's assets include Japanese-based Sun Investment and Hong Kong-based renewable-energy power plant builder National Modern Energy Holdings Ltd., according to Automotive News. The first vehicle the new company plans to build will be an electric version of the Saab 9-3, which it expects to start selling in early 2014.
In other news:
- Daimler (owner of Mercedes-Benz and Smart) started production of its Smart ForTwo EV today, according to Automotive News.
- Three of the four major rental car companies have reneged on a previous promise not to rent or sell cars that are under a recall without first addressing the issue, according to Left Lane News. Hertz is the only major rental company that still agrees to the pledge. Other rental firms including Avis, Dollar/Thrifty and Enterprise want to be exempt from some aspects of the rule.
- Heavy-truck and bus maker Navistar International can no longer pay fines to the Environmental Protection Agency for its non-complaint diesel engines, according to Bloomberg News. In 2001, the EPA enacted a rule requiring a 95% reduction in nitrogen oxide from heavy-truck diesel engines. Navistar stocks and bonds have fallen sharply in early trading following the announcement.