Mahindra on the move

As we all know Mahindra&Mahindra were one of the big players in the bidding process for Saab. Despite being the front runner they went passive at a certain point when the recievers divided Saab in that infamous seven packages to obtain more money for the creditors. But getting passive did not mean leaving the whole thing. Indications we got always said they were looking to partner up with another player. already came up with an article last week stating that NEVS were looking for a partner that can add cars powered by petrol, diesel or ethanol and M&M were the ones to step in. If I add up all we learned in the past few weeks this is a lot more than just speculation. It is more than likely that right now M&M and NEVS are negotiating the last points of their deep partnership.

M&M themselves have already discreetly begun to establish connections, acquire companies and patents to get hold of the latest in technology. Their involvement could give Saab a jump in technology compared to what GM had to offer. Even the issue about using the “Saab” brand name could be brought to an end as the relationship in the defense sector between Saab AB and Mahindra is quite close.

I’ve done an extensive post a while ago on why Saab would fit M&M like a glove, even if this is only through a partnership. Recently M&M launched their XUV 5OO model, that is still in need for a low-emission diesel engine when it comes to Europe. The XUV 5OO is the first model that was designed using the new global SUV platform Mahindra has developed – and that besides some Ssangyong models also a next 9-4x could be based on.

Speaking of Ssangyong, they could surely use knowledge about hybrid drivetrains like it is found in the eAAM project that Saab was part of. Even if the share of Saab in eAAM was sold by the receivers a big amount of experience will still be found among engineers who are now re-hired by NEVS.

NEVS themselves would of course benefit from the connection to such a global player. In their press conference on the sale day they already named India as one of their markets. And looking at it from the outside a collaboration with M&M would make their business plan look more complete than with the sole focus on EVs. Those conventional and hybrid cars would be the missing link to a solid future of Saab 2.0.

Of course all that info does not come from official sources but given how long we got said indications and that they filtered through quite extensively to various people (like our friends at saablog-in) gave me enough faith to go public with it though official spokesmen still regard to it as speculation. But in the end, if they don’t want to deny what else should they do?

121 thoughts on “Mahindra on the move”

  1. Nevs and Chinese market
    M&M with financial resources, knowhow and Indian market
    SAAB AB and Scania blessing the use of the brand.
    Parts getting more and more up to speed

    All the above would be a great mix if it cam through
    Remaining is the dealer part

  2. hmm …. might have to rethink my current position …… It sounds a lot better than just the EV and would certainly come to give SAAB a better posission. But a little skeptical until I know more ……… difficult persuaded :).

    • Yes, it’s just speculation, but currently there are too many rumours about that.
      One month ago there where a similar amount of rumours about NEVS buying Saab. 😉

      • Yup, but the rumours were started by some actual facts, are there any recent happenings in that case, or is it just “to good not to hope for it to happen”?

          • Must say I share Bravada’s scepticism. I recall we all got our hopes up over some unfounded speculation about BMW only to have them dashed. Hope this rumour is better founded – we’ve been on enough emotional roller-coaster rides over the past couple of years to last me a lifetime.

  3. Last night I was dreaming with Mahindra. Or, at least, they were present in my thoughts in early morning. Yes I knew it was for a reason, no joke!

    Come’on MAHINDRA!!!

    • Also today morning coming to work I somehow liked my Saab even stronger than the recent average.
      I take it as the second hint and affirmation that Saab with joint forces of Mahindra will be B(L)OOMING!

  4. Sounds reasonable. Wonder what Lars Holmkvist says about this possible of piece in the puzzle.
    I think he might be delighted if it becomes reliable.

  5. If this happens it would be I teresing in a couple of years if they separate business (NEVS and M&M) and follow different tracks. I think they would not partner up in a way building something together, I think the focus from both is different. What they would share is platform and technology.
    It would be interesting if NEVS can use Saab as a brand or M&M cars only.

  6. The XUV 500 looks like a decent base. I’m sure that NEVS/Saab engineers could really tweek it with better safety, handling, economy and looks.
    It’s a unibody FWD truck around 4.5m long, so it’s a very good candidate for the Phoenix platform.

  7. can we please sort this out by June 27? This is when I’m due to take my 2010 NG 9-5 Aero in for service and a warranty issue – these items *should* be covered by Saab but I’m afraid I’m going to be ponying up when the shop hands me back the key.

      • angelo your still censored :)))) dealers should pony up because that is who the car was bought from not the manufacturer far away in a different country.

        • Hate on me all you want, but I don’t share this belief. Dealers like the customer bought these cars with warranty. For a dealer to have nobody to go back to in a way of claiming back the warranty claim money and losing on every new car they sell now, it would be a quick way to get rid of more dealers because the dealers are not in a profiting business with Saab right now.

          • Be it this way or that way. I am nearing the regular service interval for my MY 2011 9-3 and just got it confirmed from Polar Mobil Hungary, which used to be a regional distributor of Saabs, that a warranty for my car still aplies. The same goes for cars distributed through them and sold in Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Serbia, Slovenia in Croatia.

            Needless to say, I am very happy with that. Also I have found them very proactive and responsive. Way to go, Polar Mobil!

  8. If this turns out to be true then it does look a lot more promising then thinks first looked last week, it looks like NEVS with the partnering of M&M will be a complete package, this will get me exited.

  9. Lets hope this come true. Sounds good to say the least.
    Finish Phoenix and start manufacture petrol/diesel and hybrids in Trollhättan under Saab brand (at least for EU, US, CA and maybe ME markets). Im sure that fans on SU wouldnt be divided anymore, but once again stand united behind this kind of constellation.
    As one of Saab engineeers answered a question about what car sizes can be built on Phoenix platform. He smiled and said “Everything from 9-1 to 9-10.”
    Go Mahindra!

  10. I predicted back in January that Saab AB would have the last word on the use of the name in any Saab deal.
    Let’s hope that a Saab AB- Mahindra- NEVS link opens the door!

  11. If this is true, it answers a question that went through my mind in the post about SPNA, I couldn’t understand why someone with Tim Colberts talent would take on CEO of what is a small organization. He may have been told what was in the pipeline and take care of this for us until we can get the rest set up.

  12. Would seem a little odd to build a quality electric car, in Sweden, with all the Swedish technology, safety and other reasons for building it there behind it and not (have Mahindra) make a petrol / diesel / ethanol car for the western markets. Whilst the standards for the Chinese and Indian Markets may not be sufficient to crack the European market, it shouldn’t take much either to get them up to market equalling standard.

    And the plans for a convertible are……….. 🙂

  13. that would be cool, once the coal burners bubble bursts in the foreseeable future, we could move on with M&M in charge buying up whats left, have SAAB AB granting them rights to the name, and maybe we’ll be in buisness again 😀

  14. Just a thought, didn’t Ssangyong have a deal with Mercedes at one time in history. My sister had one of their 4WD’s and it had a petrol 6 that was suppose to be a Merc designed engine. If this is correct would those agreement have been transferred over to M&M when they purchased Ssangyong. Again if so then if M&M buy into SAAB could they not use their connection with Merc to access high tech German engines etc. Might be a way out their thought but then again anything is possible at this point in time.

        • I was referring to the more recent engines, through playing with the idea that M&M may rake up the old-time engagement with MB… Anyhow, an inline 6 would just suit my needs perfectly (but if such event should occur, definitely new engines will be needed in order to conform with today’s emission class standards.)

          But all this is just wishful thinking as Till already noted that M&M’s current partner is PSA. 🙁

    • Mercedes-Benz purely sold old tech petrol engines to Ssang-Yong. This was the extent of the relationship. Mercedes-Benz did not co engineer anything with them at all. Not to mention the engines they sold them were old superceeded engines that were no longer used in any new Mercedes-Benz passenger car. The funny thing is seeing people driving around in those old Ssang-yongs with Mercedes badges.

  15. Yes, that’s the missing piece of the puzzle ! If true. Now everybody can stop overreacting on critical posts. And , again we will have to wait…
    Saab up !

  16. So there is still hope?
    Saab needs a range of vehicles that encompass Hybrids, EVs and Petrol/Diesel/Bio fueled cars.

    At the moment there seems to be very large holes in NEVS business plan. Hopefully Mahindra will fill those holes and the whole thing will make some sense?

    • Well, there is ONE very obvious big hole in the NEVS business plan and that’s how to get from the here and now to the future with fully electric cars. Even when all the necessary funds get pumped into R&D for a couple of years then no cars will be produced and the whole distribution network will fall apart.
      Anyway, preaching to the choir.

      I like M&M getting involved. Tata and Jaguar….should I say more?!

      • Yes I agree. Survival is the biggest hole in NEVS business plan. Survival whilst it waits for buyers to start buying EVs in volume. That could take quite a few years. In the meantime, it still needs to sell cars.

  17. After the moment that NEVS took over “our” brand,this is in my opinion “THE BIGGEST NEWS” that could have come!
    Mahindra an Mahindra: I would give you a big welcome!

  18. And maybe we can also hope that it will silence all the doom mongers and nay sayers in here who constantly bicker on about everything negative they can find instead of the positive. Jason Powell Had it spot on, for heavens sake just sit and see what unfolds from this, there is plenty of good news to come, just give these guys a chance to put it all together!

  19. A NEVS – Mahindra connection would be brilliant IF the gas (petrol) and diesel powered cars are also BUILT IN TROLLHATTAN. My hunch is that NEVS would still be in charge and Mahinrda would supply the carbon engine/drivetrain technology for them to be able to market high efficiency engine cars in the critical North American and European markets, where cars of that type will be needed and expected in order to maintain sales volume, at least until the EV/hybrid cars are selling well. Very smart, if true. I don’t think buyers in the US/Euro markets would accept an Indian produced vehicle in the same way as one produced in Sweden.

    • I’d consider an Indian-built Saab, but only if the price was right. Saab’s brand regrettably been tarnished, and to expect Saab 2.0 to complete with the likes of BMW and M-B straight off the bat is fanciful at best. Saab 2.0 should consider swaying folks away from the likes of VW, Skoda, PSA Group, Opel etc. I know if I could buy a Phoenix 9-3/900 for the price of a Jetta, I’d jump at it.

  20. Now we’re talking. I think all last week’s angst (myself included) was how does a car company co-exist in today’s car market with electric only? Well this would clearly be the answer as some of us want an internal-combustion engine and
    I have had friends who gave up buying a Saab to buy a Prius or other similar car. There is no match for a diversified portfolio.

  21. Kind of like VW bought the Rolls factory, and BMW bought the name “Rolls-Royce” and nothing else… Today they both make good cars. Just throwing that out there.

  22. SAAB based on sangyoung or XUV 5OO? Are you kidding me, i was already mad to drive italian/german/US based car…
    But driving sangyoung or indian car? No way i will buy that kind of SAAB. I will probably move to Mercedes or Porsche.

    Hope that shit will never happen.

  23. It would be great if they could build a range of Saabs to cover everything from a super mini up to something to eat a BMW M3, yes with EV’s and hybrids too if that’s what the market demands!

    • Exactly… SAAB should go Mercedes (mostly MB, since they care much about safety) and BMW way – no much of sharing platforms.
      Models for any class – super luxury, sport, off-road, eco, hybrid, electro. No matter what you choose you will get premium quality.
      Making not good enough cars based on even cheaper cars is what where we get now.

  24. I don’t see how this statement could be true of Mahindra? “Their involvement could give Saab a jump in technology compared to what GM had to offer”. If that is true, the US auto industry is in serious trouble.

    • You don’t see the US auto industry in serious trouble now? GM continues to lose market share every quarter, I personally see the American auto makers in big trouble and they need to figure it out fast. I think the point to what Till was saying though is that Mahindra having technology in every auto sector would bring more to Saab then GM did as well as that Mahindra allows their companies to be run the way the companies see fit to run, so maybe Saab could be more Saab then they have been able to be under the likes of GM.

      • Everyone is quick to diss the US auto industry. Their latest product offerings are quite good and based on JD Power quality, are as reliable as their Japanese counterparts. The latest Chrysler/Dodge products have been very successful. Current, and upcoming, Ford products are very very solid offerings, especially the new Focus, upcoming Fusion, and latest Mustang. Cadillac and Buick have done well, but clearly GM is the worst of the big three.

        I too agree with John, despite their deep pockets and established infrastructure, Mahindra’s products are mostly SUV based and look like Jeep knockoffs, except their quality is nowhere near Jeep which says a lot. Saab would gain their financial and infrastructure strength, whereas they would have even more to gain from Saab’s automotive fundamentals.

        • Ugh, I wish you wouldn’t mention Ford in one breath with GM. Ford’s car enthusiasts management has revived the brand since before the economic crash. They decided that their bland people movers were a dead end and injected new passion into their cars. This paid off big time. GM, on the other hand, was taken over by bean counters trying to imitate the Japanese car makers to grab back the market share that they felt they were entitled to. Boring, boring…..bailout….

          What’s important with M&M is that they _want_ to become a serious car manufacturer. If that means that they will turn their deep pockets inside out to revive Saab then I really don’t care that they make lousy Jeep knock-offs right now. But let’s wait and see what happens.
          Hang on to your Viggen for the time being.

  25. Dont like sound of this, found on SVD, written by Jonas Fröberg:
    “Whole Saab-affair may be in danger ”
    -There is legally fight on the right to use the Saab brand – which could scupper the whole deal. And the big question – who stands for money – is still unanswered.
    -A source says now that Scania and Saab AB is prepared to take the brand issue to court. That doesnt feel especially good.
    -The whole affair may thus be in danger. We should remember that Nevs yet just signed a preliminary agreement – the final signing is supposed to happen later this summer.
    -It is argued that no government money is included in Nevs funding, but if Chinese banks are behind the funding, we must realize two things:
    1. Then is the Chinese government involved.
    2. So should not the production of electric cars in Trollhattan with costly punitive duties to export to China be first on priority list.
    We have to keep asking until we are blue in the face: Who is willing to invest in this high risk project? And why?
    This was shortly from the article. Anyone who can shed some light on this current issue?

    • Most assume NEVS already acquired Saab but an agreement to buy Saab is the only thing there is right now. They don’t own or acquired anything yet. How many agreements from companies to buy Saab were signed in the last two years and how many did go through or were successful?

      • I have no clue how this will end. Maybe thats the reason they are trying to bring M&M on board, i dont know. I thought this issue was already solved. Not enough with them not acquiring the brand name, now it shows they havent fulfilled purchase of the assets either. This is realy thrilling…

  26. I have got to admit that I was first skeptical at the value of NEVS and M&M collaborating back when all of us were rooting for a complete buyout from M&M.

    But, even with putting all of the credible rumors that we are hearing aside for the moment, my view has changed completely on that. And most of the reason by my change in opinion is the role in which NEVS is likely to play in Saab’s future. Their immediate *full* purchase of Saab’s facilities and their statement of intent to purchase Saab Parts in about three years from now, sends a clear signal that these folks are not only serious about Saab’s future but being highly pragmatic about it. Furthermore, being a Swedish company that was able to win over the administrators was an important feat in and of itself. M&M would provide the necessary connections needed for building electric vehicles with gas engines and essentially filling the gap that many people see in NEVS’ business plan.

    All in all … it’s a complete package that Saab needs for now and the future.

    • If ýou mean what car sizes can be built on Phoenix, then ill qoute one of Saab’s engineers. “Everything from 9-1 to 9-10.”

      • Actually I don’t think it can be scaled down to 9-1. Saab under Spyker and even NEVS have talked about different platforms for a 9-1. For Spyker it was the Mini platform and NEVS has hinted at a Japanese one. However Phoenix can be used for almost everything else including CUVs/SUVs.

        • Probably hs to do more with price than with true technical flexibility. Smaller cars aren’t that much cheaper because they use less steel, but because they have less complicated and less durable etc parts.

  27. the NEVS spokesman said at one occasion that there will be a hybrid built on the phoenix platform, at the same time the Karl-Erling Trogen stated that they will only build EVs.
    My take on this is that they´re both right, but the Hybrid might not be called a Saab. Perhaps Mahindra wants to build a hybrid-car on that platform, but in India. Perhaps they want to lable it “Saab” and perhaps thats why these rumours about the brand negotiaions are popping up. I really can´t see why Saab AB and Scania would have any problems with sweden-built EVs carrying the name Saab.

    • mahindra had went silent at the time of bidding process so that it can directly negotiate with nevs after it purchased saab . pretty impressive mahindra now looking to work with nevs for diesel/petrol varients of saab.after the launch of xuv 500 which is developed in india and it is a huge success Mahindra XUV 500 receives over 5900 bookings within 2 days! … had to stop taking fresh bookings as the firm had garnered over 10000 bookings and 200 booking in south africa it also launched the xuv in australia .this seem that now m&m is working for new product
      launch not only for one market it seem’s that every future product from m&m is for international market also .

  28. Rather than speculate on all this pie-in-the-sky M&M stuff, what will be happening in the USA next week is the first phase of the auction of 950 unsold Saab cars at various ports of entry, primarily in New Jersey. This is reality and this is news. It may not speak to what SU envisions itself to be but perhaps it’s time to consider a shift in focus.

    A member of the Saab National Dealer Council is one of the people involved in choosing what are considered to be the most salable cars for the auction. Given SU’s lavish attention to the recent auction of Saab cars in Germany when, if ever, is SU going to mention the US auction?

    The forces in play to create a reborn Saab may be of interest to some but i dare say the most immediate concern of Saab owners is how do we keep our cars on the road. In the US, cars that have been involved in minor accidents are being totaled by insurance companies for a lack of spare parts.

    I don’t think I speak for myself when I say that SaabsUnited needs to advocate a bit more for current owners than recent “news” stories would indicate. I’d be most interested in knowing that relationships with suppliers are finally being re-established. Direct ignition cassettes for 1st gen 9-5’s, key fobs for 2nd gen 9-3’s, all varieties of glass for 2nd gen 9-5’s and headlamp assemblies for all recent models would be a good place to start.

    • Yes, the auction needs to be mentioned. I’ve poked one of our american crew members who hopefully will find time to do a little digging.

      The parts situation is also affecting the SU crew, but at the moment there is (still) little to tell. I know Tim (as well as Jörgen) were in touch with Saab Parts earlier this year, but I believe the situation remains the same: Some parts have shown up, but they are working on the rest. I have one part in order that is believed to show up around September.

      Actually, we did report on the parts situation quite recently. Did you see the post about Saab Parts and NEVS? It specifically mentioned 1800 tools (property of the bankruptcy estate) spread among 1000 suppliers. It is a huge puzzle to deal with, and I think it is reasonable to believe that it will take a few months…

    • Thanks for keeping this in the “news..” There remain many concerns. Saint-Gobain allegedly discontinuing windshields for NG 9-5 models with HUD, Lane Departure Warning, and Rain Sensor are one of several.

    • Could be. I have enjoyed reading some of the cryptic posts on other websites asking for the petrol Saab crowd to wait and see what the near future brings and that we will be happy. Now, we’ve read many rumors over the months and it could just be a rogue poster, but still nice to see. Keep….

  29. I really hope that this is true and that Saab AB allows NEVS to use the Saab brand. Cautiously optimistic! 🙂

  30. In short, we really need to hear from Mahindra. Mahindra……..Mahindra…….are you there?
    Do these guys ever speak with the press? Their silence can be damaging if this is all true.

    • Mahindra seems to have a history of keeping a very low profile until everything is concrete. This association with NEVS has probably been in the making for quite some time.

  31. Interestingly the Mahindra XUV 500 diesel engine uses a Variable Geometry Turbocharger. The VGT has minimal lag and doesn’t need a wastegate.

  32. I am in India right now and I see Mahindra’s everywhere. The XUV 500 is a good looking SUV, its very well done.

    So I think Mahindra will help NEVS and SAAB there is no question.

  33. Saab & SUV = EPIC FAIL, The 9-4x was the laughable nail to the coffin. How could anyone ever think that a SUV would have been “Born from Jets”? Saab should stop (and thats what NEVS would like to do – which is great) producing too bulky, too fat cars like the 9-5 and 9-4x and rethinking their own heritage of innovation and lightweight, fast and fun to drive cars. Mahindra won’t be any help with that, so I’m still hoping that they’ll keep out and let innovation drive the new Saab.

  34. This irritating ”silence” about plans and dealings that we experience at this time might just be a very deliberate pr-strategy. Remember it may be 2 years before the first car is rolling of the assemblyline. So it will be a hard work to keep the brand name alive for such a long time. So I am thinking their idea is to release information bit by bit, with some spaces in between. Thereby creating continuing reasons for media to write about the business and people to discuss and speculate about it.
    That would make sense.

    • Well Carma it’s an interesting theory,however I don’t know if these people are doing such a thing! The silence is very irritating indeed and I’m just worried that such drip feeding of information could potentially bring about discussion and speculation in a negative way.

    • Good strategy, and you may be fully right.

      Better strategy: Saab Parts delivers “Upgrade kits” etc. with lots of noise “NOW YOUR YOUR SAAB TTID: GRAPHITE PISTONS FOR UP TO 5500 RPM AND TUNING SOFTWARE FOR 220 HP” 🙂

  35. Angelo V.
    I have just received your email and am staggered by your short sightedness. I have worked for Saab for 37 years and feel reasonably qualified to pass a BALANCED viewpoint. Firstly who has said that Saab will be forevermore electric only? Secondly, how can you already decide that Saab/NEVS are only going in that direction? I can assure you that not all their intentions have yet been revealed, yet you seem to know the entire future already? Yes we are all entitled to an opinion thank god but come on, at least give a balanced one based on well founded information. I sure wish I could so accurately predict the future as you can. I can recall similar comments back when Saab first started turbocharging, ”it will never catch on” the only way to get more power is more cylinders” etc etc. Need I say any more about how turbocharging, thanks to Saab took off? And all those that now look back on those comments eating a large slice of humble pie just as I am sure you will do one day. For heavens sake man, give these new guys a bit of breathing space before casting them to the scrapheap.

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