Saab enthusiast meeting at NEVS (with Q&A)

A couple of days after the news that NEVS will use its own brand instead of Saab, a number of Saab car enthusiasts were invited to a meeting with NEVS at the Stallbacka plant in Trollhättan. Among others, the chairmen of Svenska Saabklubben and Saab Turbo Club of Sweden were there, with the Saab Car Museum curator. NEVS held a presentation and showed the group around the plant.

IMG_3704
Saabklubben chairman Karl Ask with Jonas Hernqvist, Sales & Marketing at NEVS.

A more throughly analysis/editorial from the chairman of Saabklubben will follow here at SaabsUnited soon, but for now we have a Q&A (questions & answers) with NEVS along with a large number of pictures from the meeting. These are questions from us and from the readers of SaabsUnited.

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What do we know so far??

It has been a long time ago since we last started discussing about cars that had to be build at Stallbacka. At that Time those cars were branded as SAAB but this time we are talking about the first NEVS car.

First of all I want to emphasise that all this is only the information that I’ve been able to collect from the internet and that none of those is in any way confirmed by NEVS.

NEVS Front Grille
NEVS Front Grille

NEVS clarified two weeks ago under which brand the cars they will sell in the future will have. I’ve said it then and I want to emphasise it now, this was an incredible possibility for them to present their first electric car, what we now know as the NEVS 9-3. But they decided to not to show anything, but instead of that they invited press and the community and so some information about the new car has been filtrated to the net.

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Tidbits on NEVS from TTELA

TTELA recently posted an interesting article that sheds some light on the development work and progress of NEVS and their new electric cars. In “Här skapas Nevs nya bilmodeller” (Here the new car models of Nevs are created), TTELA got access to three out of four development rooms at the Stallbacka plant.

NEVS main entrance
NEVS main entrance at the Stallbacka plant in Trollhättan. Picture: Michèl Annink

According to Frank Smit, project manager at NEVS, the whole company is involved in their projects, with 8 people being responsible for different main areas. They work with a large number of engineers in Trollhättan, while close to 80 people are working simultaneously in China (among other things with the new plant there).

As mentioned, they didn’t get access to one particular development room. That room might contain a new Phoenix based electric car.

One of the current projects at NEVS is the development of the third generation NEVS 9-3. “We are working on a new battery and a new electric engine”, Frank Smit says. Even though these cars are based on the Saab 9-3 from 2002, they have basically been built from scratch. There are about 30 NEVS 9-3 in existance in Trollhättan right now and approx. 10 NEVS 9-3 in China.

They also discuss transportation of the cars from Trollhättan to China, where NEVS claim that the Trans-Siberian railway is faster than transport by boat. Tests of the train rails in the Stallbacka plant has therefore recently been made.

Finally, there’s a clock counting down above one of the doors to the development rooms. It’s marked “Time Remaining” and at the time of TTELA’s visit (last Saturday), it was at 334 days. This is most likely a count down for the first car in China. According to Frank Smit this will happen in the second half of 2017.

Be sure to check out the article at TTELA for more pictures from their visit!

A movement in motion

I really don’t have a clue what this means but it seams it to be their new claim, according to this video (3:03). It is a nice alliteration, but what do they want to say?

A new brand, a new logo and a new claim. The font for the logo looks very futuristic, but the new site and the new light font feels too clean too …. too similar to that company with the one fruit.

In an interview with Jonas Hernquist, sales and marketing director at NEVS, at the local newspaper he says what I think is the real reson to leave the name SAAB behind.

The second reason is that we are going to invest billions in products in the coming years, we want to do it in our own name and with our own brand, not a brand that we have borrowed and licensed from someone else.

So maybe it is not a bad idea at all. But despite the new logo and the new web site, and flags and lanyards I’m still missing one important thing. The car that will have that brand name.

A picture of a “so called” grill has been distributed with the press release, and yes it is not complicated to imagine this on the grill of a 9-3. But it would haave been nicer if they would have been able to not only present an empty shell, but also to show how are they goint to fill that shell. I mean, it must have been 2 or 3 moths ago when I read a very short article, that the development of the NEVS 9-3 was completed. Since then we have seen a black 9-3 with a hideous front grill, that converted the SAAB 3-piece grill into a normal 1-piece grill, but besides of that it looked just like the last SAAB 9-3, so I can’t imagine that this is the NEVS 9-3.

I wish them well, and I will follow all their steps as I’ve done in the past, but I think It will take me some time till I learn to call a car developed in Trollhättan a NEVS.

And BTW, on a video at the ttela.se site I’ve seen that the SAAB Wording at the factory is not there anymore.

NEVS will use its own brand instead of Saab

This is just in from NEVS in Trollhättan:

Tuesday, June 21, 2016
NEVS launches its new trademark and sets off to shape the future of mobility

NEVS’ vision is to shape mobility for a more sustainable future by focusing solely on electric vehicles with mobility solutions built around them. To support this vision a new brand identity has been developed – NEVS.

NEVS will be the trademark of the company’s products including the first electric vehicle based on the 9-3 platform with start in 2017. That means that NEVS will no longer use the Saab trademark.

The automotive industry is changing rapidly to better fit societies struggling with pollution and congestion problems. NEVS intends to be in the forefront of this change.

“With sincere respect to our history and heritage, we want to be recognized as ourselves – A sustainable mobility solutions provider who are committed to the environment with a focused growth plan with its own brand as a corner stone,” said Mattias Bergman, President NEVS.

NEVS long-term business goal is set globally, with China as its first priority and most demanding market for the coming years. NEVS intends to build a strong footprint in China as a base for a global expansion, and continue to establish partnerships with forefront runners to shape the future of mobility solutions.

A number of framework agreements have already been signed, including a strategic partnership agreement with Panda New Energy to deliver 150,000 electric cars and another 100,000 electric commercial vehicles, as well as the collaboration with Chinese State Grid, the world’s largest electric utility company.

NEVS has a unique position by combining proven ability to develop and build high quality premium cars and at the same time the opportunity to build an automotive company for the future with new owners and partners specialized in for instance car sharing solutions and charging infrastructure.

”I believe the tipping point for electric vehicles is very near in many key markets. We aim to contribute to a more sustainable city planning, and together with our partners such as State Grid and Panda New Energy jointly introduce a new business model for mobility,” said Jonas Hernqvist, VP Sales & Marketing NEVS.

A transparent approach – with traits such as being inclusive, honest and genuine – is essential for NEVS, both in terms of behavior and visualization. From colors to imagery, our new brand design should always reflect our aim of shaping mobility for a more sustainable future.

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Jiang Dalong On The Panda Deal

Photo by Reuters
Electric 9-3 in NEVS’ Beijing Headquaters – Photo by Reuters

NEVS’ chairman Jiang Dalong spoke to Reuters about the deal with Panda and the future of electric vehicles. While I want to take out a few interesting excerpts you can read the full article here.

“China is going to be the world’s biggest market for electric cars,” Jiang said in an interview in his office in Beijing. “China has no choice. They have to wean themselves from conventional gasoline combustion cars,” he added, describing the recent sharp uptick in air pollution levels in China’s capital as “terrible” and “crazy”.
“Big existing automakers are too big. They cannot stop producing conventional gasoline combustion cars. But we can … switch to new energy cars.”

In general I have to agree with him here. For China it’s of course the issue of air pollution but also, according to some calculations that I read a while ago, if China would reach a car per people ratio that is close to for example Europe, they would need the entire world production of gasoline and diesel to run those cars. So currently the way the Chinese government wants to take is electromobility and it can’t be a fault to be part of it.

The biggest question mark is Chinese economy which seems to be in some difficult times the moment. But given the long term of this investment I would not judge it just from today. China may not grow at a rate like they did in the last decade but they will get back to a path that is solid.

Then it’s about the Panda deal and its financing:

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New people in the NEVS Board of Directors

The board looks like this of November 10th: * Indicates new to the board

Kai Johan Jiang, Chairman WikiPedia, 50, car ownership ??

Stefan Tilk, vice Chairman LinkedIn 42, owns a  Yamaha Moped but no car

Mattias Bergman, CEO LinkedIn 49,  owns a SAAB 9-3 2009 have had it for 16 months

Ronnie Hermansson, union representative, Unionen Trade Union (white collar) LinkedIn 50, owns a SAAB 9-5 2010 + another one

Finn Johnsson, Member (Not on LinkedIn) 69, owns a Volvo XC70 2008 and an Audi Q7 2009

* Ming Li, Representing owners SRIT State Research Information Technology (State of China)

* Limin Sun, Representing owners THT Tianjin City Development area (City of Tianjin)

Stand ins:

Mikael Kubu Member LinkedIn 47, Owns just a Respo Trailer but no car

Stefan Larsson, union representative, IF Metall Trade Union (Blue Collar) 47, Owns a SAAB 9-5 1999

Lets hope NEVS could reveal more informations on the two chinese owner representatives in the board. A search on the web gives no hits whatsoever. The swedish guys are found out there in cyberspace. I am sorry to see no women in this group of directors. Unless any of the two chinese persons is a she. Lets hope for that. If not I would give the board an F for failure in gender integration. For sure women also buy cars. Mr. Jiang start a search for great women. I bet SU readers have good qualified names to support in the search.

It is interesting to see that none of the board directors have any classic or modern unique collectors or enthusiast cars in their garages.

SaabsUnited wish the new board luck in forming an efficient and strong team to spearhead NEVS into the future!