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by RobinM

SOTW Turbo X style

September 1, 2014 in Sotw

Sorry this is a few days late but I was in the depths of France with no wifi to talk off. But Simon’s Turbo X is worth the wait.


Hi Robin,

I hope this e-mail finds you well.
As you can see, I’m not the only one in the family to love the Saab Turbo X.

Best regards,

Simon Matte, Montreal, Canada

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by Tim

Swedish Finance Minister Anders Borg saved Saab once

September 1, 2014 in Editorial

Last week I spent two days reading what is a very interesting book that was released just a few days ago written by no other than Jens B Nordström who is the main financial reporter at Swedish Tv4. Now I have to say that I have in the past been very skeptic towards Mr Nordströms form of reporting which he himself admit did not put him in good relations with for example Victor Muller. But this latest book of his is actually well worth reading.

I have myself talked to Victor about this book and its contents as well as to many other sources that worked at the top layer of SAAB Automobile AB and my conclusion is that Jens is about half-way to the truth in what he writes and he makes a fair estimate on another 25%. The remaining 25% is something that is open to speculation but I know I have more information regarding than he does on many issues in the book. His summary of Saab from 2009-2011 is made on aprox 250 pages and I did a count of the number of pages our articles would have filled up during the same period and ended up at roughly 6000 so to summarize 6000 pages into 250 you obviously need to disregard some stuff, even so Jens has created a book with a clear red line, he stays focused in the book and has overall created a good read! Jens is trying very hard to stay impartial in the book which is a very good thing and one he manages to do. He gives credit where credit is due and questions issues where they should be questioned, he does make a number of assumptions which one perhaps should be a bit skeptical about but in general the story is there! He praises Victor Muller on several occasions, which is something I was surprised about given the history between the two of them and I have to give credit to Jens, I’m impressed by the work that he has done!

But whats most interesting about Jens book is that its mostly built upon interviews in which he publishes the actual interviews and that gives a big credibility to the book. During 2011 and after I have frequently talked to most of the people that Jens interviewed and I can hear these persons voices speaking the words as I was reading them which to me also is a big confirmation that this is the real thing. Many people have a certain way of saying things and this is clearly reflected in Jens book.

ANDERS BORG SAVED SAAB

Thats what I wrote in the headline and it happened in April 2011. Spyker had borrowed a lot of money from the EIB (European Investment Bank) with the help of the Swedish Government when buying Saab from GM. A clause in this deal was that the EIB could demand its money back from SAAB immediately if there was any proof of Saab being insolvet. In april 2011 when production was stopped due to unpaid invoices this was clearly the case.

By misstake an internal e-mail was distribute outside the EIB in which the issue about demanding the money back from Saab was discussed, this came to the attention of Anders Borg, which is the Finance Minister of Sweden. He then traveled to Brussels as a representative for the Swedish Government for an unscheduled meeting with the EIB and basically told them: “give Saab some breathing space, DO NOT demand repayment of the loans” and also explained to the EIB that it was important that Saab be allowed to test different solutions in order to save the situation.

The EIB did as Anders Borg requested and the threat of immediate bankruptcy of SAAB Automobile AB was removed. The story of Spyker and SAAB Automobile AB could have ended abruptly in April 2011, but thanx to forces at work outside Saab, the company was given another chance. If you think about it the impact Anders Borg did on the EIB was so strong that regardless of desperate the situation became at Saab, the EIB never demanded their loans repaid at any point up until after the bankruptcy.

This story is confirmed in Jens book by Philippe Maystadt, President of the EIB and I have also confirmed the story from other sources.

This save could not have been done by anyone else, to influence the top politicians in the EU it needs a man who himself is a top politician. “No businessman could ever have accomplished this” one source who wants to remain secret told me.

There are many more cases in which the Swedish Government actually Saved Saab during 2009-2011 some of which are written about in Jens book, I’ll bring some of them up here on SU in the close future.

Avatar of Red J

by Red J

9-3N Infotainment system

August 30, 2014 in NEVS

Saab 9-3 EV infotainment. Image by Teknikens Värld

Saab 9-3 EV infotainment. Image by Teknikens Värld

In February we found first pictures of what could be a new and modern navigation system for the 2014 9-3.

It was not until April that we found an official reference to a new infotainment system in the Chinese spec. sheet of the 9-3 2014/15.

Those two posts where more or less based on rumours with some confirmation from NEVS, but still we had no real pictures of the system and we had only some rumours about the hardware-platform it was based on, but those where not 100% right.

It was not till the presentation of the electric 9-3 that we saw the first real pictures of this infotainment system (we have talked in the past of it as a navigation system, but the it is more capable than a simple navigation system, thus I will talk about an infotainment system). The guys at Teknikens Värld took some better pictures of the interior of the 9-3 EV the same day, and have been kind enough to let us use them.

With this post I will try to summarize all the information we have, partly confirmed, about that system, and talk a little bit about why NEVS has made a right option for the future with this system.
Read the rest of this entry →

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by till72

Food for thought

August 29, 2014 in News

Those last few days have been (again) very challenging for a Saab fan. It almost feels like we have been there before – no production, wages postponed, appeal for reconstruction first denied and then granted, even spiced with the brand name issue. From reactions in comments and elsewhere on the net I can see that many fans feel like being in a deja vu right now. But even if I can understand that in some way I tend to disagree. Let me put my thoughts into a few lines. Not so much as a vast editorial, more as food for thought before the weekend.

From all that we have learned from various sources a solution to the financial problems combined with a change in ownership is really that near. Obviously the Vänersborg court also saw that. We should also not forget that the vast majority of suppliers still stay calm. NEVS obviously gained some trust here by giving them some insight in the process. This must not have been easy, especially because of the bad experience some of the suppliers had before. So in terms of a solution being near I would give NEVS the benefit of doubt here.

Another issue that popped up today are the rights to use the name Saab for the cars built in Trollhättan. Saab AB obviously decided to cancel the agreement with NEVS. They did not give any insight in the reasons they had for this but one can imagine a few: it could be a try to avoid being associated with the troubles NEVS is in or even a try to take some influence in the things that are going on. We also do not know if this is a final decision or if the agreement can be revived once NEVS is back in calm waters. In the end it does not really matter. The decision is there so I asked myself what this would mean. And even if I know about the rich history of Saab Automobile and I am hooked on the iconic Saab brand I don’t think that not having the name rights nessesarily means the end of NEVS. Honestly, if I can still drive those fabulous cars that I love I would rather deal with a new name than with a name right owner who threatens to withdraw the rights in any turbulence.

Some may say that the name is one of the key values in Saab/NEVS. But is this really the case? When it comes to cars the name Saab has taken quite a few hard hits through all the trouble, bankrupcy and absence on the market. We were all pretty clear that it needs quite some marketing to get Saab back to proper sales when new models come out. I even dare to wonder if if would take so much more effort to establish a new name than polishing up the Saab name. Don’t get me wrong, for romantic reasons I would prefer to drive cars named Saab for the rest of my life but if the car is still made by the same company, with the same philosophy I would still buy it. And there are quite a few names that could even give us fanatics a cozy feeling. Griffin for example.

Enjoy your weekend, enjoy your Saab.

Avatar of till72

by till72

Press Release: The District court approves Nevs’ application for reorganization

August 29, 2014 in NEVS

The District court of Vänersborg, Sweden, today August 29 approved the application for reorganization from National Electric Vehicle Sweden AB.

The District court has appointed Mr. Lars Eric Gustafsson, Attorney at Hamilton law firm in Stockholm, as administrator during the reorganization period.

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by till72

Court Grants Reconstruction for NEVS

August 29, 2014 in News

A few minutes ago the Vänersborg court decided that NEVS fulfills the requirements for reconstruction. So NEVS gets the time they apperantly need to finish their negotiations.

The PDF with the official statement from the court can be found here.

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by till72

NEVS apply for reconstruction (again) – updated (again)

August 29, 2014 in NEVS

Just as I published the last post saying we won’t have to wait for it too long PV Väst announces that NEVS are at Vänersborg court with a revised Version of their application.

Update 1:
NEVS states that they have secured a loan of 20 million crowns to get through the first 3-4 weeks of the reconstruction. They also stress that the reason for the reconstruction is not to reduce the liabilities to the creditors and that NEVS intens to pay it all in full.

Update 2:
NEVS expects to have an agreement on a development cooperation for the Phoenix platform in place that will generate obe 1 billion crowns of cash for NEVS. That will be enough to pay off the debt of 400 million crowns and fund the company for another year. My educated guess is that this Partner will be Dongfeng.

The deal with a possible new owner has been negotiated for six months now and according to NEVS the board of that prospective owner has decided to fill this deal with life if some last requirements are met. As I see it, this will be Mahindra.

The decision by the court is expected for this afternoon.

Avatar of till72

by till72

NEVS, Saab AB and the brand name

August 29, 2014 in NEVS, News

According to P4 Väst Saab AB reacted to NEVS’ application for reconstruction by cancelling the agreement to use the Saab name on the cars made in Trollhättan. Saab AB’s spokesman Sebastian Carlsson did not comment on any details of the decision. Also NEVS did not publically react on the announcement yet.

While the news of those last two days were not what we like to hear I’d like to encourage you not to panic right away. A main point for Saab AB is to ensure that they are not associated with another bancrupcy process like the last. In the current situation there might be a chance for that worst case but it’s not nessesarily the case. Such an agreement can be revived at any time if there is that new investor that gives Saab AB enough confidence.

And the case that Saab AB and most of the suppliers with insight in the negotiations taking place between NEVS and their future partners have been rather patient with the open invoices shows that there is at least enogh confidence to give it some time. The application for reconstruction was mainly a move to get a bit more time for finalizing the ongoing negotiations under the protection of such a process. We will see how quickly NEVS’ appeal of the court decision will come now, but I think we won’t have to wait too long.

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by Tim

SU EXCLUSIVE: NEVS will appeal the court decision!

August 28, 2014 in News

Mattias Bergman confirms to SU that NEVS will appeal the courts decision to deny NEVS reconstruction!

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by Tim

Court say NO to NEVS reconstruction

August 28, 2014 in News

The court in Vänersborg declined NEVS the protection of company reconstruction. The reason the court states is that NEVS financial solutions are vague or undocumented. Missing is for example exact information on funding requirements over time and if when and what amounts will be injected.

The court also feels that it is clear that NEVS has not secured future liquidity for its duties during a reconstruction. NEVS has not turned in information supporting realism in the duties expected of them,

COMMENTS FROM SU:

If you remember back in 2011, this is basically a repeat of what happened almost 3 years ago. SAAB Automobile AB’s first application for reconstruction was also rejected, this was in turn turned over to a court of higher level and approved. I think we can expect similar development from NEVS. The new application to the court of appeals will most likely be filled up with a lot more information on the pending deal.

Avatar of Tim

by Tim

NEVS Application for company reconstruction

August 28, 2014 in News

I have read the application and below you can read a translated version of it. It’s pretty clear that NEVS aims to have a deal done within 5 weeks and therefore asks the court to accept a reconstruction and not appoint the committee for it for at least another 5 weeks.

Applicant

National Electric Vehicle Sweden AB

Application

National Electric Vehicle Sweden AB, below referenced as NEVS or Company, is in present time not able to pay for outstanding debt is applying for company reconstruction.

Background, Economy and reason for payment difficulties

NEVS was founded as a storage company and registered on April 3rd 2012. On May 2nd 2012 the company was purchased by National Modern Energy Holdings Limited here after mentioned as “NMEH” in purpose of acquiring the assets of the three bankrupt companies Saab Automobile AB, Saab Automobile Tools AB and Saab Automobile Powertrain AB. On June 13th 2012 a deal with the three bankrupt companies was struck in which NEVS acquired most of the assets in the three companies as to machines, tools and non material assets regarding the Saab 9-3 as well as the rights to the new architecture known as the Phoenix. NEVS also acquired all shares in Automobile Property AB which owned the real-estate of 1 700 000 m2 and 500 000 m2 of constructions where NEVS has its main business today. NEVS entered the facilities on August 31st 2012.

As part of the sale NEVS entered into an agreement with SAAB AB in which NEVS was given exclusive rights to produce and sell cars with the brand name SAAB. The rights to use the name is governed by a licensing agreement between SAAB AB and NEVS. A total amount of 1 700 MSEK was used to acquire the total amount of assets. The purchase was financed through a loan from NMEH, which was later converted ownership shares.

NMEH is registered on the British Virgin Islands. The company is in turn owned by China Dragon Base Holdings Ltd which is registered in Hong Kong. Mentioned company is owned by Kai Johan Jiang which also sits as the chairman of NEVS. NMEH also owns all shares of State Holding Ltd hereon after known as SPGL. SPGL is registered in China and is the mother company for a lineup of companies who maintains businesses in China with the focus of Green Technology as well as battery production.

NEVS original business plan was to keep the joy of driving which Saab represents and only produce electric vehicles. The vision of the company was to form the future sustainable way of traveling in a car with minimum negative affect on the environment. In its first step the conventional drivetrain in the Saab 9-3 was to be replaced by a high-tech electric drivetrain developed in Japan. Through its sister company SPGL which owns a battery factory a high grade of synergy was to be achieved. New requirements set fourth by the Chinese government was estimated to mean a high demand would take place for electric cars in China. China was judged to be the main market for electric cars in the world. The business plan also called for a continued development of the phoenix platform with the purpose to replace the Saab 9-3 with a brand new lineup of cars in the year 2017. Read the rest of this entry →