By Drew Johnson
Tuesday, Nov 20th, 2012 @ 10:27 am

Saab could return to the road earlier than expected. Now under control of National Electric Vehicle Sweden, Saab is considering offering a gas-powered 9-3 next year before launching an all-electric version of the car in 2014.

"We are evaluating the possibility to start production around next summer of a 9-3 with a traditional powertrain," company spokesman Mikael Oestlund told Automotive News Europe.

Although NEVS purchased Saab with the intent of transforming the Swedish automaker into an electric vehicle company, Oestlund said a conventionally-powered 9-3 could help the company generate cash ahead of the 2014 market launch of the all-electric 9-3. The move would also help Saab's public awareness as the company has essentially been out of business for the last year.

Oestlund says the company is still holding talks with suppliers, so it remains unknown what engine might power the 2013 9-3. Like the electric version, the gas-powered 9-3 would ride on Saab's new Phoenix platform and be built at the company's Trollhattan production facility.

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