The Clip You Should Watch This Weekend

While most SU readers know that Mattias Bergman spoke to the SaabsUnited Oktoberfest audience last month and that Tim graciously posted the video from his presentation, I’m under the impression most people never bothered to watch it. In some of the comments over the last few days, I’ve heard a lot of people trying to say that somehow SU never really dug deep into asking Mattias about NEVS’s plans. I’m guessing they didn’t watch the entire video.

I understand why you don’t want to watch the whole damn thing, it’s a freaking hour long. But don’t blame Tim for not getting you information, it’s all there. If you want, blame me or the other writers for not editing down the main points of the article into easy to digest pieces for you to understand, but don’t blame Tim. Part of the hullabaloo of the NEVS naysayers the past few days was that NEVS isn’t interested in continuing Saab’s legacy. For me, that legacy is exactly what Jan Ake and Victor said, “progressive Scandinavian design, sporty driving and responsible performance.” They’ve either ignored Mattias’s earlier comments here or at Oktoberfest or somehow to my own understanding twisted what he has in fact said to mean that Saab is no longer interested in those characteristics.

In an effort to get to the most salient exchange from the Q&A period from the presentation to put everyone’s fears at ease, I pulled out the following clip from the video. The question comes from one of our most astute commenters from North Toronto. Just before he asked it, Mattias explained that the primary focus of NEVS initial sales will be to Chinese government bodies, not initially directly to consumers through a dealership network. He even goes as far as stating very clearly: sales have already begun to government agencies in China. I’m sure you’ll be hearing more about that soon, since that was over a month ago. Just as you or I might assume, why would the Chinese want a premium car from NEVS, after all, in the west we’re used to government agencies often wanting the opposite. Not so in China, don’t forget that they’re a semi capitalistic society where the government still retains most of the control. What are these customers looking for? According to Mattias:

“A premium product has to have performance, it has to have high quality, for an EV it has be, have safety and take you the distance that it is promising. But it also has to do with brand…even government consumers in China are newly rich. The brand is extremely important to show what are you driving. Many of the local suppliers making EVs, they don’t have a good product, they don’t have enough safety, and further they don’t have a brand that elevates the drivers or owners of the car [in a way that a Saab does].”

If you want something to do with the rest of your weekend, you have some free time on your hands, and you haven’t already committed an hour of your life to it, I suggest you watch the presentation from Mattias after the break. The whole thing is good, but the Q&A at 29:00 on is where the meaty answers start.

Ayrshirexc90
Member
3 years 10 months ago
I, like many others, I guess, have not watched the video. The statement that sales have already begun would certainly explain why the 9-3 is planned to be used in the short-term, and why new Euro safety regs will not bother NEVS. If the Chinese government is happy with the planned product, I suppose their, to date rather confusing business plan starts to make much more sense. I still hope they bring out a proper hatch like the old 900; if they do that, I might return to the Saab fold, although am not quite sold on EVs in their… Read more »
Bob Clark
Member
3 years 10 months ago
Thank you for this, Jeff. There are, and always have been, three distinct issues to the future of Saab. For us, people who are interested in cars in our leisure time, we were immensely sad when Victor Muller’s attempt to save our favourite manufacturer didn’t work out and we hope (that’s the only appropriate word) that the rather different-looking company who purchased most of the wreckage will make and market cars that we can buy and which are recognisably in the same tradition as before. We’re gutted at the prospect of the New 9-5 and 9-4X being limited to short… Read more »
JH
Member
3 years 10 months ago

+1. Spot on!

davidgmills
Member
3 years 10 months ago

But the point for most of us is that the new Saab will be no more relevant to our lives than Aston Martins or Ferraris are. I don’t blog on a site called Aston Martin United or Ferrari United.

Hjelle
Member
3 years 10 months ago
Because? You don’t have to sell your SAAB… There will always be changes, like when SAAB went from 2cyl twostroke to 3cyl twostroke and from twostroke to V4, or when SAAB decided to skip the freewheel… Back then there was people who wanted the old stuff, like now. Maybe EVs are the next “turbo”? Personal, I hope NEVS are going to produce cars with petrolengines side by side EVs, I don’t think it’s time for EVs in Europe ans US yet. The biggest problem is the actionrange before charging, but that is someting NEVS know about, and I think NEVS… Read more »
Angelo V.
Member
3 years 10 months ago
I’ve seen this comparison before—-some resisted turbos and now, those who oppose EVs only are equated with the turbo skeptics. A couple things: 1) The turbos still ran on gasoline. If the turbos ran out of gas, you could still get someone with a gallon of gas to get you to a gas station to refill. EVs? No such luck, unless you have a very long extension cord. And they’ve all but ruled out hybrids. That’s unfortunate. 2)Actually, going 100% turbo, in my opinion, WAS a mistake. They should have offered a smaller car with a normally aspirated base engine.… Read more »
Angelo V.
Member
3 years 10 months ago

Yes, yes. Well written. Well said.

Hjelle
Member
3 years 10 months ago

Very well spoken Jeff, I was on the event in Trollhättan and I have later seen this clip a few times, It’s realy good! If people are intersted to know about NEVS plans, it’s highly recomanded to use a little hour to watch this…

Maybe it can be an idea to make a MP3-file available for download, so this presentation can be enjoyed in the car?

LG Aero
Member
3 years 10 months ago
Both Bob and David make very salient points. If NEVS Saab needs to follow through with what brought them to this business then so be it. However pure EV’s are not a practical solution for most current Saab drivers. Not practical because any basis of reasonable pricing simply cannot pay for enough battery storage to create more than a limited range. If the range was at a reasonable area i.e. 400 miles , then the cost of the batteries plus their weight and size would give us a 9-3 that costs $125,000 and would have no boot space at all… Read more »
Martin T16s
Member
3 years 10 months ago
Thank you for making this effort Jeff. I was there in that audience in Trollhattan and I have to say I left the meeting very elevated. Matthias gave a very polished, confident, informative and genuinely warm presentation to us. He was honoured to be there and made sure we knew it. He also made sure we knew that he is fully behind the ethos of Saab the brand and made it clear the Saab fans DO matter. We have to now let these guys do there thing as what is the alternative? Correct, there isn’t one!! Tim does not deserve… Read more »
scand
Member
3 years 10 months ago
“Sales have already begun in china” Sales of what? If they are making sales already, then surely a brochure, a spec , a photo, something must exist of what they are selling? Maybe it’s in Chinese somewhere, but it sure isn’t on their website. To me, I don’t have a problem of the concept of what they say they are going to do. The age of EV’s is coming, sooner or later. I do however, think that they have, or are missing a huge opportunity with their handling (or more to the point, not handling) of the brand. For a… Read more »
Angelo V.
Member
3 years 10 months ago

Scand. Yes. And since we keep hearing from so many here how “EVs are the future, man” perhaps NEVS, the Jetsons that they apparently are, might want to get a 21st Century website to finally begin getting these enthusiasts excited about the sale of Saab to NEVS. For the love of God, I’ll write the copy for them. WEBSITE PLEASE. It’s how many communicate in 2012 NEVS.

jond
Member
3 years 10 months ago

I see that Jaguar have recently announced their new SF ‘sportsbrake’, which seems to me to be aimed at exactly the market that the new 9-5SC was going to be aimed at and at the same price point – GBP35-40,000 for a well-equipped model. They have also announced today that they will be entering into production in China in partnership with a local company.

I can’t help feeling that NEVS may be missing a trick by ignoring brand continuity through development of the existing product line with a sensible power train for the near term.

Angelo V.
Member
3 years 10 months ago

+9000

MeanSabean
Member
3 years 10 months ago

Jeff I actually watched the whole video, it was very long but I really liked what I saw.The fact that they already have orders from Chinese government body is really good. Once the money starts to flow,that’s where we will see a faster progress in Saab as a new company.Swedish ingenuity,Japanese technology and Chinese funding this is going to work just fine!

Saabgun
Member
3 years 10 months ago

wait and see. don’t run ahaed before you know for sure. Beside the facts we know all the rest are speculations.
Saab has always been out of the box and maybe this is to much out of the box even for true Saab lovers.
the future will be different it will be SAAB

Angelo V.
Member
3 years 10 months ago

Right, I think most of us are tired of speculating and we’d like some hard facts from the new owner of Saab.

Angelo V.
Member
3 years 10 months ago

By the way, what is the reason that Saab Parts has the website saab.com and NEVS will probably need to use saabcars.com ? Is this because Saab Parts already had that website from way back—-or is it a case of NEVS not paying attention when they should have been thinking of things like this, and another company registering the domain that would make the most sense for them, the most simple that everyone will one day type in when they try to find the Saab website?

SaabLife
Member
3 years 10 months ago

All assuming NEVS decides (or even cares about) to make an actual website in the next decade..

Angelo V.
Member
3 years 10 months ago

Good point.

3cyl
Member
3 years 10 months ago

Based on this, NEVS is developing what it considers a premium brand. That sound like SAABs (EV or not) that are premium priced as opposed to the “priced right” SAABs that some are hoping for.

Angelo V.
Member
3 years 10 months ago
3cyl: BMW, a premium brand (considered more premium than Saab by most), has a USA car available that starts at $31,200. That’s before dealer discounts/incentives. $31,850. is the starting price for the Lexus hybrid. Lexus, a premium brand with resale value towering over Saab. $25,900. gets you into an Acura, before incentives/discounts. Acura, image-wise, at least on par with Saab as far as “premium” goes, in the opinion of most people. $27,270. is the base price for an Audi. Audi. Enough said. $35,350. Mercedes Benz $35,800. Infiniti Crossover SUV I can keep going, but why bother? Can NEVS walk and… Read more »
3cyl
Member
3 years 10 months ago

Angelo, It doesn’t seems that NEVS has any intent on being in the market you have identified. They are producing a premium brand EV for the Chinese government market and may later make EVs available elsewhere if justified by demand. This doesn’t sound like an under $35k car and there is no indication that one is coming any time soon.

Angelo V.
Member
3 years 10 months ago
Yep, understood. Saab has failed in the past being stubborn and clinging to a non-competition (they they perceived as a competition) with luxury brands. I guess if the Chinese government buys “a year’s production or more” of EVs as was reported recently on SU, it’s all academic. They can play in China for a few years and ignore the rest of the world and still do well. It’s very hard to imagine that the Chinese government is going to buy what could be 200,000 “premium” electric cars, especially given that their economic growth has slowed—–but I guess it’s possible.
davidgmills
Member
3 years 10 months ago

So why should any of us in North America care? Saab is now irrelevant to us. If I want an EV, I will buy a Tesla who has committed itself to North America and is far ahead of Saab in the EV world.

An EV Saab is irrelevant now to us. I see no point in a website called SaabsUnited anymore. I am not united with any of this.

JasonPowell
Member
3 years 10 months ago

You don’t have to be, the site was not created for just you and lots of us do want to be united so thanks anyways.

davidgmills
Member
3 years 10 months ago

You are in the US, Jason. Saabs United was about saving a car that doesn’t exist anymore and Saab certainly doesn’t exist in the US and probably won’t.

JasonPowell
Member
3 years 10 months ago

Your opinion David and you’re entitled to it, I don’t share it at all. We’ll see who is right in the end. Odd that you say we shouldn’t even have the site anymore yet we still get a ton of traffic, other people obviously don’t share your views and want to stay united with Saab owners.

North Toronto Punter
Member
3 years 10 months ago
In respect of my question to Matthias at Oktoberfest: I did it find it rather alien this model of governmental purchase en masse of so-called ‘Premium’ cars (of ‘Fleets of [expensive] Saabs’ ?). And the way in which ‘Chinese consumer’ and ‘Government’ seemed to be elided. Couldn’t imagine Canadian Gov’t/Bureaucrats doing (allowed to– on taxpayer coin) same…if so I’d grab a pitch fork and posse to storm Parliament! Such are the methods of a command economy I suppose. Needlesss to say, it will be interesting to see what the sales channels are in North America (or Europe). BTW: I’m not… Read more »
RS
Member
3 years 10 months ago

NTP, lets just hope they don’t apply those infamous Foxconn methods on THN…

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