A few words on Geely, VOLVO and the 3rd Brand

CEVT was once created by Geely to developed a C-segment platform for VOLVO and Geely. This platform is now officially called the Compact Modular Architecture (CMA), and with the Scalable Product Architecture (SPA) it forms the base for the Volvo product line.

CMA platform side view
CMA platform side view

I once thought that with one scalable platform would be enough for such a company a Volvo, but it seems that SPA is more expensive than first intended and only the 90 and 60 series will be build on this more upmarket platform, and the 40 series will use the CMA platform from CEVT, nonetheless SPA and CMA will share parts and technologies so the normal user shouldn’t notice the difference, and if this is not the case marketing will take care of that.

This platform is capable of embody an automobile with a conventional ICE powertrain, a hybrid or PHEV and even a BEV, and VOLVO is willing to develop those three different kind of powertrains for its 40 series based on CEVT’s CMA platform.

So, this is the Torslanda (Volvo production facility in Göteborg) side of things, but since the beginning it was known that the smaller VOLVOs would share the platform with Geely cars for the non Chinese market, but it wasn’t known under which brand would geely sell those cars.

VOLVO presented last month the CMA platform and two cars that could be members of the 40 series, but many press-people were also expecting to see not only the CMA-based VOLVOS but to see the CMA-based Geelys and to know how to call them. Geely remained silent about that.

What is also unknown is where those cars will be build? Torslanda is currently building only the SPA S90/V90 and XC90, the Ford based V60 series has moved production to Ghent (Belgium) where the current S60 and XC60 and the 40 series are also build. It is to expect that the SPA based 60 series will also be build in Sweden (as long as it has enough capacity) and then the CMA based 40 series will be build in Ghent. I would say that building those Geely cars in Ghent would make most sense.

We have a Swedish based engineering company with Chinese capital that has developed a scalable platform for cars on the B- C- and maybe D-segment that seems to be good enough for VOLVO but currently has no production facility in Sweden, but why I am saying this? Well I once heard that SAAB AB was only willing to give NEVS the rights to use the SAAB brand only for cars developed and build in Sweden.

Well, it seems that Geely is able to fulfil almost all of those criteria but the one about the production plant, as it seems that the most intelligent thing to do is to build those Geely cars along the CMA-based Volvos at the Ghent factory.

But let us rewind in time. In 2011 SAAB Automobile went bust, at that point Geely would have been able to buy a complete company with passionate engineers a production facility and a brand name to fulfil just the same plans that they seem to be trying to bring to success now, so why did not move in that direction back in 2011/12?

Nobody can tell, one option is Volvo was struggling at that time trying to create the new Volvo and get rid of the old Ford bits, an other option is the decision to introduce a brand below Volvo was taken too late and NEVS had already taken over the assets of SAAB Automobile, but an also valid option is Geely never having been interested in SAAB Automobile, neither in the brand neither in the factory.

My opinion is that I couldn’t care less if that Geely brand is called SAAB or whatever else. Those cars may get an interesting design that could catch my interest, but also any other brand that designs a good looking car. Maybe I should thank NEVS for releasing me from that bind to the SAAB brand. I will follow the developments at Stallbacka and if they develop a car that fits my needs and sell them in Europe I could get a NEVS driver, but maybe any other car will fit my needs best if I have to get rid of my 9-5 any time in the future.

3cyl
Member

Volvo products are a good option for a new generation of would be Oldsmobile buyers who feel the need to spend more and get less than Buick offers.

Angelo V.
Member

An ironic comment considering that Saab shared quite a bit with Buick in the 2000s, and Chevrolet and Subaru.

3cyl
Member

More ironic is that SAAB ended up with a product less like a GM car than what Volvo offered.

Jonathan
Admin
I have the impression that Volvos are more accepted among Saab enthusiasts outside of Sweden. From what I’ve seen, they consider Saab and Volvo to be rather similar, at least the last 10-15 years, as some “Scandinavian cars”. This is, from my experience, not how most Saab enthusiasts in Sweden consider Saab and Volvo. I come from a “Saab family”. Everyone in my family drives Saab. I grew up in the back seat of Saab 96, 99, 900 etc. I have only owned Saab cars my whole life. And I would never, ever, consider buying a Volvo. Regardless if it’s… Read more »
Monique Hubrechts
Guest
Monique Hubrechts

Once a saab always a saab. Once a Merc the same. That time is the past. Major brands produce worldwide. And use the same sub suppliers fot their components. My last saab was a viggen trade in for a honda s2000 and than Mercedes Coupe and now a range rover evoque. Range rover is an example of how to keep in line with their heritage . In Absence of saab cars, sales in sweden must be up for volvo.

Monique Hubrechts
Guest
Monique Hubrechts

And some people goes always on holiday for years on the same place. The travel world called them repeaters.

Jonathan
Admin

I never go to the same place on vacation. And there are plenty of different Saab car models to choose from. 😉

Sensonic
Member

Being a diehard SAAB fan I never though I’d drive a Volvo. But when I was about to choose a brand new company car (and SAABs are not available), I chose MY2016 Volvo V70 Classic. And actually it’s pretty good! So now I have both SAAB and Volvo 😉

Romac
Member

Reminds me of the story about the late great Erik Carlsson teaching his daughter to say “Daddy, I need to do a volvo” when she needed the potty! LOL

Jonathan
Admin

That sounds like Erik alright. 🙂 I’ve managed to teach my 2 year old to say “Saab” and my 6 year old is getting a hang of the different models now. She still talks about Erik, having met him a few years back.

Tjalle
Guest
The scetch of CMA is a copy of VW new architectures – which is smart- but not ingenious. I visited TT-ELA homepage and found an interview with the marketing boss in front of the new NEVS sign on headoffice. He claimed that NEVS is a better name than SAAB, because they will not develop cars but mobility solutions!!?? How much of SAAB spirit is it in a “mobility solution”? The SAAB spirit originated from the people within Product Development and was supported by Engineering Management with same spirit. With a top management talking about “mobility solutions” there is little room… Read more »
Doug R.
Guest

Nevs will never make it far as a world wide brand,,, EV cars only, not happening and certainly nothing I would consider.. Its a hoax for long term ownership. Very tiny segment.

That said if Volvo doesn’t consider the Saab badge Saab will never return. Highly unlikely after the mess Nevs made of the name, that Saab AB would license or any other party will become a licensee with the stigma created.

Complete and utter shame the brand died the way it did. Nevs tortured it slowly

Angelo V.
Member

Congratulations, Doug R. That is the most perceptive and beat comment made on this website, perhaps ever.

Angelo V.
Member

*BEST comment (typing on a tiny phone!

Angelo V.
Member
Doug: Now back at a computer and to elaborate briefly, I don’t know for sure that Volvo is the last chance to ever pump life into the Saab name again for cars, but I do know that if they did secure use of the name, they would likely be the BEST chance to breathe any life at all into Saab. NEVS can do whatever they are doing, whatever that might be and provided they aren’t doing anything unethical or illegal, good luck to them I guess. Volvo is already closer to what Saab once was than NEVS will ever be,… Read more »
3cyl
Member

The sad thing about what has happened is that we are inclined to look for something “closer to a SAAB” when the time comes to replace our cars. Unfortunately, for some of us this is not very satisfying. It may sound strange, but for those of us who feel that way it is perhaps better to find interesting alternatives that are not much like a SAAB at all as opposed to something “ike a SAAB. That way we will avoid having the constant reminder that what we are driving are almost-SAABs.

Angelo V.
Member
That’s actually a great point, 3cyl. It’s sort of like losing a spouse—-then starting to date and looking for “somebody like my ex” instead of just finding someone to be happy with. I currently have six cars (counting a company vehicle that I don’t own). I don’t think I’ll be in the new car market anytime soon. But when I am, I will look for the things that are important to me in a car and yes, some of those things will be strengths of my Saab. In that regard, I will be looking for a replacement with some of… Read more »
Tjalle
Guest

Four years ago I realised that my 9000 had come – close to – end of life. 9000 was developed for 17 years and 250.000 km – mine had 15 years and 280.000 km.

I started to look for a vehicle that would be in line with what a SAAB could have been and two years ago I found one that is OK with me.

It has:
-petrol inline turbo six
-8-speed auto with MAN.
-very good AWD
-after lowering, handling as good as 9000.

I still keep my 9000.

zippy
Member

GM set up Saab to fail knowing full well Spyker didnt have the funds to keep Saab going avoiding the embarassment of killing off Saab itself. I believe we will never see another Saab and I do feel that Volvo are a car maker ‘on the up’ with their 90-range receiving great reviews. My next car will again be Swedish, more than likely an XC40 or V40.

Tjalle
Guest

zippy – not only embarresment – also saved GM a lot of money.

3cyl
Member

No manual transmission is offered by Volvo (at least not in the US). Even Buick offers a manual in some models.

Angelo V.
Member
3cyl: The percentage of manual transmissions demanded by buyers in the U.S. is so small, it doesn’t normally make business sense to go through the expense of fitting stick shifts into the cars. There are some cars, like roadsters, that will get a healthy percentage of buyers specking the manual—-but for most pedestrian sedans for example, people don’t want to do the shifting. You live near a city like I do—-you could easily be in traffic jams where it can take 2 hours to go six miles. Nobody wants to be shifting like that, or at least very few people… Read more »
3cyl
Member

Angelo, Thanks for making clear that Volvos are made to appeal to the more pedestrian end of the automotive market.

Angelo V.
Member

True, that. On the other hand, they are still in business though.

Monique Hubrechts
Guest
Monique Hubrechts

Fully agree about the gearbox. Slow running is for the auto box if you fell not in sleep mode yourselve.

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