May 25, 2012 in News
TTELA today brings news on the phoenix platform and its status. Update: I cleaned up the heading a bit to remove ambiguity. My apologies for any confusion caused!
The Phoenix platform is ready if someone wants it. Many of the brains behind the platform are today employed at Innovatum – the engineers at Lean Nova. Lean Nova is an expanding business employing former Saab engineers who are also advicing the bankruptcy estate on technology.
The 70 employees have on average 15 years of technology expertise and the company is expanding:
– “How many and at what rate is dependent on what happens after the sale of Stallbacka” said Martin Öman, referring to his former workplace, Saab Automobile AB, where he was development manager for the chassis. Today he is lean Nova’s Chief Operating Officer, COO.
– “The rate of growth will probably slow down a bit during the summer”, think Öman.
– “But on the other hand, we employed 70 in three months and we hope to find ten more within one month.”
Lean Nova’s main strength is the ability to create a complete car. The engineers are sourced from virtually all corners of Saab’s technological development domain. In Saabvägen 1 (“Saab Road 1”) skills available for chassis construction are available in the form of technical consultants from Combitech, also former Saab employees. The division is a strategy developed when “Plan B” became reality.
– “The idea that there would be new engineering company in Trollhättan was a bit of an incentive for employees to remain before Saab’s bankruptcy. Plan B was planned in the late autumn, and funding was needed. Saab AB, the defense group that owns the Combitech, needed the knowhow present in the chassis department for their development of airplanes, and Fourier transform was interested in funding a company that took advantage of the skills associated with vehicle development – Lean Nova. In time, we may see a merger of the two, or Combitech becomes subcontractors to Lean Nova in the assignment of vehicle development.”
Lean Nova in a few months gained some heavy names for customers like Volvo Cars, Scania and Jaguar Land Rover – but has also worked for Saab’s bankruptcy estate:
– “We have been helping out with technology issues and presented the Phoenix platform to potential buyers”, says Öman.
– “The platform is absolutely up to date, and is not idly decaying. But how long it takes to completion depends on exactly what a new owner desires. In two or three years, the first car based on the Phoenix platform can be ready, and for new entrants in the automobile industry, it would be a fantastic catch.”
The number of engineering inquiries has declined as the stakeholders come closer to the final phase of negotiations.
– “We understand that it takes time for a buyer – if unable to reach an agreement with GM to sell the current generation products they really have to start from the ground up and break-even is not in the near future,” says Öman.
– “But in the long run, Phoenix offers a huge potential, and the hope is of course an owners with deep pockets, who can afford to let the development finish.”