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Maker of Saab electric vehicles to boost business in China

FRANKFURT, Germany -- A Swedish concern that produces electric cars under the Saab brand is taking orders from Chinese corporate customers, aiming to tap rising interest there in such vehicles.

     National Electric Vehicle Sweden, also known as Nevs, has signed a 78 billion yuan ($11.9 billion) deal with new auto-leasing company Panda New Energy for 150,000 vehicles by the end of 2020 as well as 100,000 related products and services. Panda aims to become the world's top leaser of electric cars within five years.

     China Volant Industry, which operates under state-owned China Aerospace Science and Industry, has ordered 20,000 cars from Nevs, reportedly for 6.6 billion yuan. Volant also will work with Nevs on development, production and sales of electric-vehicle parts.

     Nevs was established in 2012 with Hong Kong-based National Modern Energy Holdings' acquisition of the assets of the former Saab Automobile. It set up a joint venture in Tianjin, China, in 2015 to manufacture Saab electric vehicles.

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