Simon Warburton published an article on just-auto.com saying that SweGov shall be heavily involved in the discussions with the BAIC/Panasonic consortium. He quotes a reliable source – judge this for yourself but he is generally pretty well informed and I’d put more trust in this than I did if it was di.se.
The article states some genral facts we know and claims that BAIC/Panasonic are the third party alongside Mahindra & Mahindra and Youngman. Now to the most interesting part of the article:
“It [consortium] is a really bad thing for Saab and will be a threat for Youngman and Mahindra,” the source told just-auto from Sweden. “They are planning to build electric cars in Trollhattan using the 9-3 as a first car and producing batteries.
“Most likely they will not be branded as Saab [but] they are extremely secret about everything.”
The source added Stockholm firm Springtime was heading the public relations drive behind the Asian consortium bid, with one of the communications company’s co-owners Birgitta Ed, married to Swedish social security minister Ulf Kristersson.
“The Swedish government are heavily involved [in] this situation, it is for sure,” added the Swedish source. “Several meetings [happened] between parties from the consortium, the Japanese government and the Swedish government.
“The government likes [this] kind of environmental electric car which will never fly in the next 15 years. There is no commercial point in this right now. I would not be be surprised if they [Swedish government] put money behind it.”
While I think that electricity has a place in the concept of future mobility I don’t think it is the sole answer. It definetely is not at this point of time. Too much has to be done about infrastructure. Not only that you have to install a serious number of recharging stations, you also need a electricity grid that is designed to take the additional load once the number of electrical cars should increase significantly. As interesting as the project of a major electrical car company may be I agree to the assessment that there is no commercial point in this over a long time.
Another issue is that I personally would like to see the Saab brand survive with electrical cars alongside a portfolio of BioPower models to complete a diversified, enironmentally friendly lineup. So when it comes to the three parties mentioned my clear personal favourite is Mahindra & Mahindra. We got indications that their plans for Saab are very much in line with what we Saab fans would like Saab in Trollhättan to become in the future. They surely are able to provide adequate financing for the process of restarting and developing the brand and from what we heared they just recently strengthened their position in the process.
March is more or less over now. I don’t expect Tuesday’s press conference to give the final answer to the one and only question but we will see a decision soon. Hope you all spared a bit of patience for those last days of the process. No need to panic. Just hope for the best.