BMW was one of the rumoured companies that where interested in buying Saab. The rumour came from many sources, and because there have been some minor links between SAAB and BMW, and because BMW is a very small fish in the current automotive pond, I really thought BMW would (try to) buy SAAB.
As we all know BMW (if they ever tried), didn’t manage to buy SAAB Automobile AB, instead of that NEVS (an automotive newcomer) was the lucky one. But the (known)business plan of NEVS doesn’t make 100% sense. It is based on some governmental assumptions, which are a little bit shaky. For Instance the German government said one year ago that by 2020 1 million EV will be rolling on German streets, now (one year later) most of the experts doubt about it.
So, once again rumours have hit the streets. This time some people talk about a third party, with automotive background, willing to invest in SAAB Automobile and produce conventional cars to fill the gap and get the production numbers in the factory high. Often the name of Mahindra&Mahindra is the name that you hear in combination with this last rumour.
But the fact that NEVS is willing to use Japanese technology, and because BMW has started a new cooperation with Toyota to develop electric power train, thus ending the cooperation with the French PSA Group, made me think about a NEVS-Toyota-BMW cooperation with SAAB as proving ground brand for new technologies.
BMW has signed a MoU with Nedcar to produce Minis in that factory from 2014. BMW will invest 200 Million Euros in the factory and plan to produce 60,000 till 90,000 cars till 2020. The fact that they will start production in 2014 makes me believe, that they will wait till the next-Gen Mini for starting production, as it doesn’t make sense to invest in the factory to produce the current Mini for one year, and the invest more money to be able to build the next-Gen Mini. Nedcar, in Limburg (Netherlands) currently produces some Mitsubishi cars, but Mitsubishi has already said, that they will stop producing by the end of the year. Which means further 1,500 unemployed people in Europe, and believe me we have enough unemployed people over here.
I’m happy about Nedcar and those 1,500 workers that will be keeping their jobs till 2020 (lifetime of the next Mini?), but on the other side, it makes me sad to think about the “what if” scenario in Trollhättan.
Think about BMW building 60,000 – 90,000 Minis, add 20,000 Entry level Saabs based on the Mini platform, and put some 80,000 further Saab cars based on the Phoenix platform (9-3,9-5,9-4x) on the second assembly line. This would mean the factory running at full capacity.
But dreams are only dreams, and rumours are only rumours, but hearing that NEVS has paid HEMFOSA more money for the SAAB real state that HEMFOSA paid last year, makes me think that the people at NEVS know something we don’t know, but I think it is Asia related.