Today ChinaAutoWeb reports that NEVS have signed an agreement to build production facilities for Saab in Qingdao, China. While we are still waiting for an official confirmation I’d still like to bring the article here with a few thoughts that came to my my mind when I saw it.
- Qingdao Qingbo Investment Co. Ltd., State Power Group Co. Ltd. and its Swedish branch signed an agreement on January 7 to build Saab cars in Qingdao, Shandong, according to the city’s newspaper, Qingdao Daily. State Power Group Co. Ltd., based in Beijing, is a sister company of National Electric Vehicle Sweden AB (NEVS), which bought Saab Automobile AB in June 2012. Both are subsidiaries of National Modern Energy Holdings, founded and controlled by Jiang Dalong (Johan Kai Jiang), a Chinese with Sweden citizenship.
Interesting that State Power Group is also part of the joint venture as they are mostly dealing with alternative energies and energy storage. Quite fitting I’d say.
- According to the report on Qingdao Daily, the three sides of the agreement pledged 10-billion-yuan investment for the construction of a vehicle factory designed to roll out 400,000 Saab cars a year. In the first phase, half of that planned capacity will be installed with a spending of 4 billion yuan. Both traditional and alternative-fuel vehicles carrying the Saab brand will be produced. Besides the vehicle factory, Saab China’s R&D, sales, and procurement centers will also be built in Qingdao, a harbor city in northern China.
(To bring it a bit into perspective those 10 billion yuan translate to roughly 1.2 billion Euro.)
To me this sounds quite logical as production in Trollhättan for the Chinese market never seemed to be a serious option, at least not in the numbers NEVS wanted to sell there. I don’t see Trollhättan in danger for now as there will still be a need for European production for the western markets.
It is good to hear that the report also mentions “traditional fuel” cars. For me it shows (after the announcement to attempt a restart of the 9-3II) a move closer to reality of the markets where pure electrical cars are still a niche product.
You surely realized that there is also talk about R&D facilities. I would not be too scared about that as it may have to do with the involvement of State Power Group as well as the general governmental demand for joint ventures to create a local brand using the latest technology (especially for electrical cars).
- Qingdao Qingbo Investment Co., one of the participants, is believed to be a company established by the local government specifically for the Saab project.
Well, state involvement seems to be mandatory in a business like this so let’s not judge if this is good or bad, just take it as a given thing.
For now let’s wait and see, as soon as we get more info on this issue we’ll let you know.