Saab returns to showrooms... but only in China (for now)

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Saab returns to showrooms... but only in China (for now)

The Saab plant in Trollhättan, Sweden has lain dormant even since the financially troubled firm went bankrupt back in 2011, but thanks to new Chinese and Japanese ownership, the sound of clattering metal can be heard once more.

The first 9-3 under new ownership rolled off production lines last week and the model looks almost identical to the version that was produced prior to bankruptcy.

The exterior has had a minor facelift but perhaps the biggest difference is the badge – it no longer sports the iconic gryphon crest but instead the word 'Saab' on a black background.

New Saabs will be destined for China where the market for executive saloons is buoyant but National Electric Vehicles Sweden (NEVS) – the new owners of Saab – hope to introduce electric and hybrid versions of the famous Swedish cars to European markets soon.

Development work on the lithium-ion battery packs is being carried out in Japan and pre-production versions have already been crafted in China.

Autocar revealed that its sources claim the production of petrol engine Saabs is simply a 'stop-gap' operation to debug and smooth out any glitches in the production process.

Saab is most definitely back but unfortunately only customers in China will be able to test drive the latest models.

Fans will have to wait until 2017 when an all-electric version is due to hit our roads.