Trollhättan Could Get Busy

With the rumor of a very large sale of the first EV’s yesterday that could potentially be a whole year or more of production, believe it or not there is further speculation of increased production coming to the Trollhättan factory.

Today Simon Warburton at Just Auto has written that if given the green light to start producing the gasoline and diesel versions of the current 9-3, NEVS say they could be hiring as quickly as winter.

“We are evaluating the possibility to start production of the existing 9-3 model with the existing powertrain next summer,” a NEVS spokesman told just-auto from Sweden. “That would give us some benefits as we could start the recruitment process earlier than planned.”

There is nothing really new in the above statement from NEVS but that they could start recruiting as early as winter is a ray of hope to the many workers who have not found employment.

NEVS also adds that they have been in regular contact with the unions and although they won’t say the specific number of employees needed, they will make more thorough plans if they see this as possible.

The words coming from NEVS in this article seem to be in contrast with what has been written about their plans and when in the past they have said they wouldn’t rule anything out, now they seem to say things like “if we have the capacity and there is a demand, we would like to fulfil the demand”. It is fair to say that business models sometimes change but this doesn’t appear to be the case and if they plan to possibly hire as quick as winter, I would say the plans were always there but they needed to take the necessary steps to see it were even possible.

NEVS recently wrote to around 500 suppliers involved in future 9-3 production and took the opportunity to let them know of its plans for new powertrain possibilities.

“I think as of today, we have responses from a little bit more than half of them. I don’t have the answers, but we have not heard anything alarming,” said the NEVS spokesman. “At the same time we let them know we are evaluating the possibility of gasoline or diesel production next summer.”

This is pretty big news, this step would not be taken unless they were dead serious about producing these cars and like suggested in comments, I would think that having a gas and diesel powered Saab to start production again is a step in the right direction and also seems to fit with why we hear NEVS stating that they don’t close the door on hybrids or anything for that matter.

From what I continue to read and not just on SaabsUnited, it looks like they are taking the right steps and are carefully planning their route to a successful restart and future of Saab Cars. Is there risk that things could flop? Of coarse just as in anything, there are risk but NEVS seem to be really cautious and put a lot of thought into what they do.

I remain optimistic and hope to hear that the green light is given and the gas/diesel 9-3’s are running down the production line soon. If this happens and along with the EV’s that may already be sold, the factory could be busier then it’s been in a very long time and with more offerings for a power train then ever before.

Michael Thomas Conroy
Member
3 years 10 months ago

Wow great news!!! I hope NEV go for it and we will see new Saabs on the road again. I will be buying if they do.

Slobbomeister
Member
3 years 10 months ago

Yeah, this is really great news. I´m in the line for one if they start producing. My NG 9-3 2003 is starting to get old. But now I´m ready to buy a new car! Go NEVS and GO SAAB!

kochje
Member
3 years 10 months ago

Would like to order a new 9-3 Cabrio for my wife; the one on order earlier had been cancelled due to the stop in production.

Angelo V.
Member
3 years 10 months ago

Boy, I’d love to see those gas (and diesel) cars exported to North America soon. If anything would restabalize Saab as a brand, it would be new Saabs for sale. I’m not sure what it would take to get the dealer network up and running again—-but it’s not rocket science.

SaabLife
Member
3 years 10 months ago

Oh what I would give to be able to buy a 9-3 Diesel (or any diesel Saab).

Since Audi is finally deciding to bring the A6, A7, A8, Q5, and Q7 diesels over to North America (because of demand) it would be nice to have a slightly updated diesel Saab in the fray. Or a gas one…I’m not too picky.

http://audiusanews.com/newsrelease.do;jsessionid=CF479B514D3CC14D6E8DCBC45AE79319?&id=3240&allImage=1&teaser=audi-introduce-four-new-tdi-clean-diesel-models&mid=1

Karl Ask
Member
3 years 10 months ago

YEAH!!!!!!!!!

JH
Member
3 years 10 months ago

I wish them good luck and hope that the planned gasoline engine is E85 ethanol-compatible! 🙂

Ingvar Andersson
Guest
3 years 10 months ago

I wish NEVS the best and I think the potential restart could be a good means for getting a solid foundation in place.

rcase13
Member
3 years 10 months ago

According to Left Lane News it will be based on the new Phoenix platform:
http://www.leftlanenews.com/saab-could-launch-gas-powered-9-3-next-year.html

Jeff
Member
3 years 10 months ago
Ya, left lane got their info crossed somewhere. They might want to update that story. Oops. Also seeing that Phoenix doesn’t exactly exist as a real platform yet, we might want to stop calling it Phoenix, and start thinking of it more as NEVS second platform, EV2, NEVS Platform 2, who knows. Phoenix was a very definite SWAN plan, NEVS has different requirements and aspirations for their all new platform that will obviously incorporate some of what was developed by SWAN, but also integrate new technology more suited to the adaptability for EV technology. Tesla was able to use this… Read more »
xelav
Member
3 years 10 months ago

Yabadabadoooh! If true, fantastic news. I was talking to my dealer last week that the size of the current .93 is just fine. Not to big, or heavy. Now I might get the chance to buy a new one. (with BMW power?)
Jason, could you inform Tim about this good news? 🙂 keep it up, SU!

Jeff
Member
3 years 10 months ago

I think Tim already knows ;).

Newsflash to journalists, bloggers, and readers of SU just tuning in: Tim covered this a month ago. October 30. That it’s taken three weeks for the rest of the world to get confirmation kind of shows how behind they are in getting Saab news. Tim knows what stories will be big in December already.

Start your clocks and see how long it takes to hear about NEVS’s first big order.

maanders
Member
3 years 10 months ago
This is great news for the people of Trollhattan and the suppliers, but just to clarify….if they say “existing powertrain” and “next summer” this would seem to mean two things… 1) Either they have somehow convinced their former engine suppliers (GM for petrol and ?? for diesel) to supply them with more engines….or they are needing to source and adapt engines from other suppliers (means more testing, etc.). I would be shocked if GM wanted to keep selling them more GM engines. 2) These existing powertrain 9-3 models would need to be targeted at markets outside of Europe due to… Read more »
JH
Member
3 years 10 months ago
I believe that the diesel engines were also delivered by GM Powertrain, even though they were developed by Fiat-Alfa Romeo during the Fiat-GM partnership. Since the MY12 9-3 was adapted to GM’s new gasoline/ethanol engines (LDK/LHU, I think) and these engines remain in production, it is not that unlikely that GM may want to increase their volumes in Europe since Opel (which is using these engines) aren’t doing very well. A way to do that would be to sell some of them to NEVS. It would make business sense. We don’t know how much the 9-3 would need to be… Read more »
Bernard
Member
3 years 10 months ago

2): They may be able to purchase a pop-up hood system from one of the usual suspects (Bosch, Valeo, etc).

OliverH
Member
3 years 10 months ago

Didn’t NEVS need an agreement with GM?
How handling production without an after sales organization, like parts/ warehouse,..? If they really manage to start the last Saab 93 production it will be no Saab as we know.
I like to see Saab running of the production, but I can’t believe it. NEVS hasn’t shown a professional way to run business after they took over. Do they’ve money to start production? The future will tell us.

Romac
Member
3 years 10 months ago
Hmmm… my feeling is rather the opposite. i.e. that NEVS have been totally professional. I admired VM for his courage and what he tried to do, but he wore his heart on his sleeve – not the way most big companies are run! As for GM parts, IIRC GM originally were OK with the 9-3 parts (older tech for them now). NEVS is a clean break so GM may well do a business deal on engines and transmissions My local Saab garage (Humberside Saab, take a bow Terry & Steve :D) are a Saab Parts UK Authorised dealer, so the… Read more »
Jeff
Member
3 years 10 months ago

The 2.0T GM engine is manufactured ten minutes from where I live for global consumption, and they have plenty of unused capacity. I don’t think GM would have much of a problem selling the engines to Saab again given the fact they don’t consider the 9-3 a huge threat (their spokesman has said so directly in the past).

hilmar
Member
3 years 10 months ago

And this is a wonderful engine. Powerful and economic.

Angelo V.
Member
3 years 10 months ago

Romac: You might be right that at most large companies, the executives don’t wear their heart on their sleeves (I can think of some very successful exceptions, but we won’t go there.). Anyway—-even if the executives are “low key” large companies tend to have a public outreach, almost from their inception (especially for consumer products like cars) that is extremely bright, very optimistic—-with “heart.” More of that is needed I think.

rune
Member
3 years 10 months ago

In January I heard several people indicate that a 9-3 diesel with an automatic transmission will not require GM’s approval.

It is also worth pointing out that there were a couple of 9-3 testmules kitted out with BMW’s 1.6 liter petrol engine, but I believe the BioPower adaption was not completed. (my info is old though)

OliverH
Member
3 years 10 months ago

This needs a deal with BMW. Not sure if they deal with a company trying to get a stake of the Chinese market. If sold on other the old markets, this 93 needs homologation.
Same to GM. Why should they deal with a Chinese company, a competitor?
The Fiat diesel is a solution but needs some further work to get the car GM free.
The old Saab dealer network has contracts with Saab Parts AB, not NEVS.

Coke is it
Member
3 years 10 months ago

Produce a 9-3 SC or 9-3X with BioPower (or maybe a diesel) with XWD and of course the car should have performance on par with the Griffin to be a Saab (with a price that doesn’t try to be premium since we are talking about a really old car by next summer) but I will buy it anyway to support the restart and hoping for more good things to come out of Trollhättan in the future.

Love my Griffin!

sonett71
Member
3 years 10 months ago

Great comment! I think this is a very good way to restart the production of Saab cars in Trollhattan. Let’s hope for the very best!

Peter Gilbert
Member
3 years 10 months ago

This is great and even without the Griffin badge. the 2012 9-3 grille LQQKs sensational with the much enlarged “SAAB” logo on the badge strip in the middle of it. I saw one of these grilles at the Iowa Convention this summer.

What about the new pedestrian crash requirements?

rune
Member
3 years 10 months ago

Ped crash reqs?

I vote they mount a big loudspeaker underneath it and have a very loud voice yell “Oi! You! Get off my hood!”. If that doesn’t meet the new government requirements, I don’t know what will.

🙂

Red J
Member
3 years 10 months ago

Best is,
at velocities lower than 55 kph, a big foam-bag would unfold on front of the car, so nobody could be injured, no matter if you fill your Sudoku while driving or if you pay attention to the world around you.

It has some drawbacks, but all in all you could crash against a pedestrian without harming him, but only in case the autonomous emergency brake doesn’t ignore the pedestrian.

I love the brave NCAP new world.

I when I first saw “judge dredd” (the original with Silvester Stallone), I laughed at that absurd vision of the future,but I don’t laugh anymore.

Sockmonkey
Member
3 years 10 months ago

Regarding petrol engines, why not get the 2.3 liter Saab B engines as sold to BAIC? Those should fit in the engine bays quite nicely, and they are still pretty refined for what they are. If this 9-3 is to be sold as an inexpensive car for Saab loyalists or as a throwback or even a 2nd car for Western households, I think buyers will understand that it doesn’t have cutting-edge tech in it, but tried-and-true Saab designs.

JH
Member
3 years 10 months ago
I don’t see that as a realistic option. Don’t get me wrong, we have two cars with the B205E and it drives real nice, but there are some things that speak against it. First, I’m pretty sure it doesn’t comply with the Euro 6 emission requirements and therefore cannot be sold in Europe without being updated. Second, it is made of cast iron and is therefore heavy. Apart from causing bad fuel economy, it would also make the 9-3 very nose-heavy. Third, it is now only made in China nowadays. Shipping the engines all the way to Sweden for installation… Read more »
Angelo V.
Member
3 years 10 months ago

What about shipping electric cars all the way from Sweden to China, to sell them there? That would seem more expensive than shipping engines???

Red J
Member
3 years 10 months ago

Those engines where never used for the 9-3 II, so it is as difficult to fit that engine to the car as any other. And as JH says, nobody knows if the new Chinese reincarnation of that Engine would comply with Euro 5 (Euro6 is not mandatory) regulations.

Carlo A
Member
3 years 10 months ago

Hi RedJ, what is the situation with the Tronic engine management? Is it updated? Is it compliant with the emission regulations, etc.? Does it suit only petrol turbo engines or also non-turbo?

Red J
Member
3 years 10 months ago

I don’t know.
I don’t even know if BAIC even uses the Trionic engine management software.

Carlo A
Member
3 years 10 months ago

Thanks… I have always heard very good things about this Trionic

Bernard
Member
3 years 10 months ago
Red J, Don’t the cast iron and alu engines use the same gearboxes? If that’s the case, then fitting the old engine to the current 9-3 may be slightly easier than fitting a different engine. I suspect that someone in Trollhattan has done this swap at some point in the past decade. They would know for sure. I really wouldn’t be that surprised if GM was willing to sell the alu engines to Saab. It’s just business, and GM needs the money in Europe. Barring that, I am placing my bets on Saab using Ford engines (same as Volvo). This… Read more »
Red J
Member
3 years 10 months ago

I don’t know, but I don’t think so.
On the other side, to fit a Gearbox to an engine is not rocket science, as you always use an adapting plate.

Angelo V.
Member
3 years 10 months ago
I guess with regulations and stricter multi-government oversight, things have sure changed. I remember back in the 60s and 70s, cars were available with a wide range of engines—-and manutacturers would introduce new engines almost annually, and stop using other engines—-put them in different model lines—you name it. I have a Chevy Monza (almost a clone of the first car I owned). The Monzas (and their stablemates, Sunbird, Starfire, Skyhawk) were available with different engines—-an aluminum 140ci 4 cylinder, later a cast iron 151ci 4, as well as a 305 V8 (that’s the engine in the one I have now).… Read more »
phermansson
Member
3 years 10 months ago

I really love that engine, especially with a bit of Maptun in it =P

Phillip paton
Member
3 years 10 months ago
I asked a friend in China to see what he could find about a big sale to China and this is what he found: I searched the Chinese media here and found one article from Phoenix TV. It is said that instead of EV, NEVS is now considering to produce the tradition Saab 9-3 from next Jun. Besides they got euro 5.4M from EU globalization fund to help former Saab employees to get a new job. NEVS has started to contact them to ask if they are willing to join the new company from next year. Also NEVS is evaluating… Read more »
Jeff
Member
3 years 10 months ago

As far as I know Jason’s the only person to actually report on it (in public). I didn’t know we were even authorized too, which is why I referred to it as dropping a bomb. It’s not exactly a huge shocker though given Matthias’s public comments to date, though.

adde
Member
3 years 10 months ago
To clarify, its not NEVS that got 5,4M from EU. Its swegov, to help former Saab employees to reeducate themselves in order to find another job. Im one of them (worked as team leader at door-line), and im going in “school” atm and aiming to be a distribution electrician. Would come back if NEVS contacted me, but under condition to first finish this education, which probably wouldnt be a problem since they would need ppl first in summer next year (education ends on june 14th). That info about NEVS has started to contact former employees asking if they are interested… Read more »
Phillip paton
Member
3 years 10 months ago

Thanks for the clarification Adde. It’s a long way from New Zealand to Trollhattan but we managed to get there a few months ago to visit the museum. We got to see and appreciate your town and community. Being there made us understand how big a deal this all is and I really hope that it goes well for everyone.

Thylmuc
Member
3 years 10 months ago

After what GM did last year, I have strong doubts that they would be willing to sell even a single screw to NEVS. If the Diesel was plug-in compatible with the Fiat version, that may be an option. Fiat could need some additional income.

wfg
Member
3 years 10 months ago

Japadapaduuuuu

zippy
Member
3 years 10 months ago

€5.4M? You are gonna need a minimum of 100 times that amount before you can even consider a restart.

JH
Member
3 years 10 months ago

That EU money has nothing at all to do with a restart of the Saab factory.

sandborg
Guest
3 years 10 months ago

This is just a guess, and I have nothing to base this on I really think NEVS intended petrol/ diesel all along,and electric engines too. They just kept it very quiet to avoid trouble from GM and others with an interest opposed to SAAB.
Looks like SAAB will soon ride again. Chevy may, as GM says “Run Deep”. SAAB however Runs Deep and .

Thylmuc
Member
3 years 10 months ago

That, I must say, would indeed be a very smart strategy. The guys from NEVS are very low key….

Angelo V.
Member
3 years 10 months ago

If indeed, this is the “real reason” why NEVS is mute, all is forgiven from my standpoint! If in fact, NEVS is “quiet” to the point of being crazy aloof—-but it’s because they want to be under GM’s radar and they intended to build Saabs for export to Saab markets all along—my mistake. Go NEVS. We’ll see I guess.

Quixcube
Member
3 years 10 months ago

I don’t think I like that idea much. It shows a sneakiness that I wouldn’t want to associate with. A company that would they tell SweGov one thing (to get a quick close on a deal), tell the world another thing and then do a third thing might enjoy making up stories too much for their own good. Where is the integrity in that sort of behavior? How could a customer feel confident buying a car from a company that says what’s convenient for them at the moment?

Angelo V.
Member
3 years 10 months ago

Quix: You make a good point—-but Geez, GM sells millions of cars and I can’t think of a major corporation with less integrity than they have. They are the absolute pits in all that they do when it comes to ethics/integrity.

RS
Member
3 years 10 months ago
Quixcube, don’t worry. I doubt NEVS ever during the sales process had the slightest intention to start building anything else than EV’s and I still don’t believe we’ll ever see a modern turbo Saab hatchback again. BUT, wouldn’t it be great if NEVS can (could) actually operate like a truly independent company and show the Swe Govt the door if they’d ever tried to meddle with traditional SAABs rising from the ashes in their home country! Fingers crossed the 9-3 production run is not just a factory and enthusiast warm up project. If they want to seriously compete with Audi… Read more »
JH
Member
3 years 10 months ago

I’d just like to point out that the Swedish government did NOT have ANYTHING to say regarding to whom the bankruptcy estate was sold. That was purely a decision by the bankruptcy administrators, who are assigned by the regional court and are obliged by law to do what is most beneficial for the creditors of the estate.

RS
Member
3 years 10 months ago

”We thank the Swedish Government for their assistance in this process”; said during the NEVS introductory press conference still rings in my ears.

Angelo V.
Member
3 years 10 months ago

I have an amazing opportunity for you. It’s a well maintained bridge in the New York area of Brooklyn. I’m just tired of owning it, and am willing to let you take it off my hands for the very nominal sum of only $1000.00. A thousand dollars! And that bridge will be all yours.

sandborg
Guest
3 years 10 months ago

Can I buy just one toll both? (smile)

ahlis
Member
3 years 10 months ago

remember there not just Diesel and and GAS to use for eco friendly cars.
Saab have proven themselves very strong using E85.

please don´t close any doors…

kochje
Member
3 years 10 months ago

agree; keep all options open.

JH
Member
3 years 10 months ago

Yes – E85 ethanol-powered turbocharged BioHybrids with plug-in charging is the way to go! 🙂

Quixcube
Member
3 years 10 months ago

It would be very interesting to see the report they are using to gauge demand in potential markets. I wonder what countries have enough demand to warrant selling the 9-3 again? Time indicated that the local market has enough demand. Probably China too. What about UK? Is there demand there still? That was a huge market before the close.

Quixcube
Member
3 years 10 months ago

Time = Tim

Eric DH
Member
3 years 10 months ago

Off-topic alert!!

The Dutch magazine Autoweek went to Trollhattan again for interviews. Here is the video. Commentary is in Dutch, but the interviews are in English. If this has been posted before, sorry for posting it again…

http://www.autoweek.nl/video/3127/autoweek-terug-naar-trollhattan

Piotr
Member
3 years 10 months ago

Thanks a lot Eric! BTW: This is nice trip around SAAB’s places.

StefanH STHLM
Member
3 years 10 months ago

Nice work from AW.
Interresting comment made by Östlund about what the main markets are.
US and China. Initially China.

hughw
Member
3 years 10 months ago

All this sounds wonderful, but why isn’t ttela or di reported either the 9-3 startup or the year’s production?

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