NEVS, what’s next?

The amount of articles in the Swedish Press originating on the presentation of Mathias Bergman at the Store Bildagen conference hosted by Dagens Industri in Stockholm show that it is still a big interest in Sweden on this further chapter of the car industry in Trollhättan.

Stora bildagen

After having read some of them, maybe with too much help of Mr. Google, I get the impression that much has been done in Trollhättan in the last months and most of it is done right.

On the other side, by reading the comments here, I would say that the new direction in Trollhättan will not please the majority of the on-line Saab community. Yes, there are lots of Saab drivers outside the net. And while saying this I have to add that none of us has any inherited right to say how the future of the car industry in Trollhättan should look like.

After having read a transcription of the presentation of Mr. Bergman at the Store Bildagen and other articles about that, I must say that they are in the right direction. I’m saying this, because they are thinking in terms of car industry 2.0, rather than the current car industry.

Mobility Services

I still have in mind the articles from Swade about the young generation being more interested in their mobile devices than in cars, and he was and is 100%. For the younger generation cars are often a mobility commodity, that gets them from A to B, and has to be able to assist them in their 24/7 on-line way of life. And here is where NEVS wants to have an important role. You don’t have to buy a car to have private personal transport, but you have to have a system that couples many things, so you can have the most appropriate means of transport at any time. And just that is what NEVS mean with Mobility Services.

Yes, big cities are more suited for such future mobility, and those are the places where I think NEVS will concentrate their efforts, so if you live in the countryside like myself, I think you will still have a car in your garage for the next couple of years.

And now back to cars. According to Mr. Bergman on the second half of 2016 the first bodies for the Corporate Sedan will be build in Trollhättan and then sent to the factory in Tianjin where the car will be finished,if they are aimed for the Chinese market or finished in Trollhättan if aimed for the Swedish market.

corporatesedan
This car will be based on the current 9-3, will have an electric drive train all the updates needed to ensure legal requirements which means that the exterior will be heavily updated, but it will also be connected. Expect it to be more a way to show that they are alive rather than their first attempt to gain market share.

To gain market share they will present later on (maybe 2018) 4 different cars. All electric and all based on the former called Phoenix platform. If we take a look at the few detail we have, we can see, that two of them are known shapes.

ActiveAllrounderThe Active All-rounder is simply the modern moniker for the Saab CC. I expect that this car will replace the Corporate Sedan, and actually is the car we all think about when we think about a Saab car. A car the size of the current 9-3 and the practicability of the former 99 CC, 900 CC or 9-3I. This is also the car Victor Muller thought could save SAAB Automobile. So lets hope this time this car reaches the market, to show its true potential.

UrbanAdventurerThe Urban Adventurer looks to me like a modern version of the 9-3X concept. Which actually was the fifth body shape of the 9-3 that GM never allowed to build. Maybe a less corporate car that the prior one, the version for the freelancer kind of people.

Then we have two car shapes that follow the mandate of the market. Many analysts see in the small/midsize SUV the fastest growing sector in the car industry, and I think it would be foolish not to bet on what it looks like a winning horse.

familySUV
Maybe those are not the most saabish car shapes, but what about the 9-3x (the production car), could this be a the midsize SUV? Then this car would be nothing more but the wagon version of the fastback, but with some plastic to appeal the general demand. Its just what any other brand is doing and by not offering a classic wagon the brand would have a more young and free-minded touch.

So we have till now three shapes of a car (a fastback, a coupé and a rugged wagon) that should be the size of the current 9-3. And this is from my point of view a quite saabish portfolio. It only depends on the designer responsible for the cars will be accepted as saabish cars or not.

UrbanSUV
And at last we have the Sporty Urban SUV. This car should be seen as the entry level car competing with cars like the X1 or the GLA or the V40 crosscountry. A rugged entry class car for the young professional with a more green view on things.

Have this cars any chance on the market? Well it depends on the pedigree (will they be allowed to wear the SAAB badge?) and the other options on the market.

Regarding the SAAB brand, NEVS is still in talks with SAAB AB, and newspapers like SvD feel that the outcome will be rather positive than otherwise. But don’t expect to hear anything till a deal is done, and remember, as long as you can see the SAAB wording on the NEVS facilities there is no need to think about a NO from SAAB AB.

Currently the EV market has not too many offerings, and either they are on the top of the price segment like Tesla with the S and the X, or they are not inexpensive but rather simple like the Leaf or the Golf EV. In 2018 Tesla may be offering the 3, their mid-size car with a more affordable price tag. NEVS will have to show that their car is better in terms of range than the Tesla with a comparable price tag. On the other side I don’t expect big problems with the current ICE companies. They are still putting a electric drive train below a car designed for an ICE engine.

Concluding, will NEVS be successful with this portfolio? Time will tell, but I think there are more than some possibilities, and if the cars can deliver in terms of performance and looks they could be rapidly seen as a big player in the EV market.

Sources:

Saabblog.net transcription of the presentation.
Presentation from Mathias Bergman (PDF).Article from SvD on NEVS
Article from Expressen on NEVS
Article from ttela on NEVS

One of the pictures of the new cars is signed by Osnes. It seems like Mr Osnes is a Norwegian designer called Jan Christian Osnes that made a master in transportation design at the Umeå universitet and is not an unknown person here at SaabsUnited. But according to his Linked-In profile he left NEVS in october 2014 and moved to Geely Design Sweden.

Carlo A
Member

Good article RedJ and I agree with your views. Also on the SAAB brand I am positive too.
Ciao
Carlo

dcpattie
Member
Seems like an ambitious plan and I wish them the best. I could see myself in the “all-around”. Unfortunately Saabs recent past with Spyker is a huge hurdle to get over. Without being part of a major manufacturer’s portfolio – it’s just way to risky to purchase from this company. Anyone who purchased a Spyker-Saab knows this point precisely (I’m one of them). The risk of the company going belly-up within the warranty period is just too high – never mind the woeful depreciation rates for this new brand. The only way NEVS succeeds in sell cars in N. America… Read more »
Mick E. Bice
Member

Newsflash: Chinese vaporware company announces (intention of launching) future products!

I’m being generous when I say that this is a giant wait-and-see at best.

Angelo V.
Member

We waited 3 and a half years—-and we saw. And there was virtually nothing to see.

roger
Member

Grumpy cat is back…

Angelo V.
Member

Throughout history, truth tellers have been accused of being angry or grumpy. I’m niether, but I’ll wear that as a badge of honor. The proof is in the pudding as they say. What has NEVS proven?

Angelo V.
Member

NEVS: Your SUV headquarters.

Jesse Crandle
Member

To me the beauty part is that SUVS are more of a United States thing. I’ve always been under the impression Europe and Asia likes hatches and wagons.

Troels, Denmark
Member
Unfortunately the SUV-trend is here in Europe as well. Even though this trend, for the thinking man, is so obviously in contradiction with the very important goal of bringing down emissions (and up the range when we talk EVs). It seems like everyone likes to sit tall and feel he is “in charge”. And truly it can be a claustrophobic feeling to sit in a low car with all those brutal “trucks” around one… But low cars with better aerodynamics and lower consumption must be the way to go. In addition they are more agile and fun to drive (… Read more »
Artichoke
Member

They’re big business in Asia. MG has finally started to get a bit of market traction with the introduction of their GS SUV to the Chinese market earlier this year. It is now accounting for something like three quarters of the brand’s sales. Here are the November figures for MG in China:

MG GS (SUV) 5.435
MG3 (small hatch) 1.323
MG GT (medium saloon) 665
MG5 50 (medium hatch)
MG6 52 (medium-large saloon/hatch)
MG Total 7.525

Martin T16s
Member
Steve
Member

With all that’s gone on this weekend with governments agreeing to faze out fossil fuels NEVS may just be ahead of the game.

saabdog
Member

Governments will not phase out fossil fuels. There is too much of it and it is too cheap. Governments can try, but people will not stand for their energy costs to increase at the rate this action will cause…even if it were possible. A better solution, that works every time, is to let the market decide which form of energy is best for the consumer. I have never understood why people love government and government control over our lives so much.

Joe
Guest

Fully agree, Saabdog. I can only assume people like to feel the government is their nanny nurse. In many less enlightened countries, they find Socialism, or some form thereof, comforting, since they’ve not had the benefits of Capitalism bestowed. They will always be cowed (and controlled) by their governments.

Niklas G
Member

In the morning news, NEVS claims to have secured 20 billion SEK funding for developing the new cars.
http://www.svt.se/nyheter/ekonomi/saab-ateruppstar-som-elbil-i-kina

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