P4 Väst reveals details on NEVS’ plans

As we already know NEVS are currently contacting suppliers to examine the chance to restart production of the current 9-3 model at the end of this summer. It seems like P4 Väst have gotten hold of a one of this letters that were sent to suppliers. It gives us a bit more insight in the actual plans that NEVS has.

    Nevs investigating earlier opportunity to pull the time back production of the current version of the Saab 9-3 as a conventional car, then driven by petrol or diesel engine.

    The letter shows that NEVS aim to have a production volume of 20,000 vehicles during the year, starting week 34.

    The letter shows that NEVS aim to have a production rate of 20.000 cars in 2013, and if they manage to start production in week 34, they would have a production volume of about 8000 cars.

And further on:

    “The rate of production is estimated to increase to 60 000 and a full shift at the beginning of 2014.” writes NEVS.

Main condition for the mentioned production start and those numbers is of course that the suppliers play ball but I feel those are rather realistic, not overly optimistic figures. For 2015 they hope to add a second shift and reach a production of 120.000 units.

What is also interesting are the models they plan to build:

    According to the company, the first modelsto be built will be the 9-3 Convertible and 9-3 Sedan. The 9-3 X will be added at the end of 2013 and the electric version of the 9-3 in 2014 – if all goes as planned.

According to what I and obviously also P4 have heared from NEVS the suppliers mostly reacted positively though there are of course lots of negotiations nessesary to get this all together. A core point is that basically all former suppliers are needed to build the cars. If on or another does not want to join in or does not exist anymore the void can of course be filled with other companies but it may take more time.

We’ll have to wait and see but I am getting even more optimistic with what comes to the surface recently.

91 thoughts on “P4 Väst reveals details on NEVS’ plans”

  1. Interesting and hopefully good news!! 🙂
    It will be interesting to see which engines they will put in to those vehicles.
    I hope the will follow the Saab-spirit and make the engines turbo-loaded and with exceptionally good fuel-economy in relation to power.

    In a little longer pespective, I would really like to hear that NEVS will use the Phoenix/AAM/Hybrid tech. and platform (updated)!!!

  2. Good news! If this timeline (production start in week 34) is true, we cannot expect anything else than the very latest configuration of the 9-3 that was produced under SWAN – the Griffin. You simply cannot qualify anything else than exactly the parts and components that were used to build these cars back in 2012. All else (hatchback versions, other engines, even another facelift) is plain unrealistic. Although I wasn’t a friend of the “new” front bumper compared to the “old” aero look, I would be more than happy to get access to one of these 163 hp BioPower engines with direct injection in a brand new Sport Combi. 🙂

      • As far is I know and as it was written here on SU several times, there is no GM IP left to be considered for the 9-3. However, this does not mean that NEVS can actually buy anything from anyone. I guess that some parts were still supplied by GM (or at least related companies) and if they just don’t want to sell parts to NEVS, this whole thing isn’t going to happen. Please, SU crew, correct me if I’m wrong. So, being allowed to use something from a purely legal point of view isn’t the same as actually having the parts at hand.

          • Troels, it has been said that they are in talks with FIAT about diesel engines. On the one side, the Saab 9-3 was the last car using the GM 1.9 Diesel engine, on the other side FIAT is still using a variant of that engine on the Lancia Delta. So maybe GM doesn’t want to sell engines to NEVS, but it can also be, that GM is notable to build that engine any more.

            • Isn’t the basis of the 2.0 litre petrol engine also used by Opel/Vauxhall in their current insignia models? So how about any GM involvement in this case? Who owns the tools for such components (molds etc.)? Just curious…

              • The FIAT 2.0 Diesel and the GM 2.0 Diesel are different developments with the same base engine, namely the 1.9L Diesel.

                Maybe you can use the Diesel Engine of the 9-5 in the 9-3 with a few modifications, but I think it must be easier to use the FIAT 1.9L Diesel engine.

                Regarding the molds and other tools, I think both companies (FIAT/GM)have the rights to produce them.

                • After a Google image search, it looks as if the two 2.0 Diesels are _quite_ similar, but the 1.9 Diesel is a different engine. But maybe, that is just the arrangement of hoses, lines and oil refil caps. I don’t know how similar/divers they are inside.

  3. 20.000 until the end of the year and 60.000 in 2014. Wow! So, I understand the whole quantity is intended for China, because by the time they start producing these cars, they won’t be allowed to be sold in EU for pedestrian safety regulations. Anyway, there is no way, I think, that western markets can create a demand for such a quantity. About China I can’t say, because I have no clue how much demand that market can create for 9-3s, but NEVS must have some real financial muscle to soak up the losses of selling Sweden – produced current 9-3s to China.

    However one looks at it, they do have to start sometime and that is going to consume lots and lots of money. It is unavoidable. As time passes it can only get more difficult, so it’s probably best if they do it ASAP.

    This is getting ever more interesting and I will hold my fingers crossed that this whole affair plays out the way NEVS intend.

    • If they don’t change anything with these 9-3s, won’t they really be allowed to be sold in EU for pedestrian safety regulations? To my understanding, the existing approvals should still be valid as long as the design, production processes, tools and the location of the production facility don’t change. No homologation specialist out there with a little more insight?

      • If tried to find out what is the current problem and it is not easy to know. On the one side, the new regulation is for any new car sold in the EU, so it doesn’t matter if the design is 10 years old or brand new, on the other side, there are no public data on the pedestrian performance of the 9-3, so you can’t tell if the current 9-3 would be able to pass the new pedestrian regulations. 🙁

        So all in all, the front of the 9-3 doesn’t have to be as good as the Volvo V40 (best in class) to pass the regulation.

        • If NEVS will make the exact same 9-3 as before, they won’t have to obey the new law. The new law is valid only for newly developped models. Don’t believe me ? What pedestrian safety regulation does the new Mercedes G-Klasse meet ? What about the LR Defender ?

          • Those are not cars in the same sense as the Saab 9-3 is. I don’t have the document at hand, but it may well be that those cars doesn’t have too meet the same level of pedestrian protection.

            Something similar happened in 2011 with the Euro5 engine regulation, from Jan 1 no car could be produced with an engine that only meets Euro4 or worse.

            • Oh Christ, my head is about to explode. Pedestrian Safety Regulations? Here, I have it: “Look both ways before you cross.” That gem is from first grade, when I was six years old. I would love to round up government beurocrats from around the world, put them all in a big pot, and boil them. How silly. And it’s worse in the U.S. for some of this stuff.

              • There is an EU initiative to halve tha death toll on our roads. As this turns out a bit more complicated, they start adressing anything they can find. Pedestrians should survive a car impact whenever possible; here I agree. I do not know however how many can actually be saved by redesigning the hood. There are more hard items at a car…

                • What about if the EU mandates suits of armor for anyone leaving their house on foot? That’ll help armor companies in this tough economy. They could even do designer armor—-different colors and styles. Nice helmets with logos, etc. “Armor: Don’t Leave Home Without It” That can be the new safety campaign.

                  • An armor? Don’t be ridiculous.

                    An armor complete with a broadsword? I’d wear that. Armor lubrication should be tax deductible.

                  • Shhh, please keep your voice down! Some of those bureaucrats might hear you! They might start legislating that pedestrian armour must not damage the car, and we’ll end up walking around in those inflatable Sumo Wrestling suits. (rofl)

        • True, EURO NCAP didn’t test a 9-3 since 2002 which effectively leaves us in darkness when it comes to the debate, how well current 9-3 would fare in crash tests. My felling is that it would perform great with ocupant safety, but would lose a star because of the pedestrians.

          God forbid me comparing these cars, but this whole situation makes me wonder, how on earth is Dacia then allowed to sell their poor 3-star Lodgy.

    • If these new produced cars are exactly the same, why would they not be allowed to the EU market anymore then? After all, they were approved and sold for several years before…

      If the full intended production of 20.000 cars is not for the Chinese market alone, but also partially for EU and the US, what are NEVS plans with regards to a dealer network? Many of the old Saab dealers are still there, repairing and selling occasions, in many cases next to another brand they added to their showroom in the last few years.

      So I guess, there would still be some potential dealer network left, even if small compared to the top days in the past. Perhaps something SU can dive into this a little? Call a few previous dealers, and not only in Sweden, to find out if there is still some appetite to carry new Saab cars again?

  4. The big story is when the new Phoenix-based car is launched. One would think we could see a prototype later this year at Geneva or Paris/Frankfurt?

    • To be honest, they should keep any prototype of a future car as secret as it can be.( well they already do it)

      SWAN had big problems with that, many people where waiting for the great post-GM cars, and too many where buying the current cars.

      What would people do if NEVS goes to Frankfurt in September and tells everyone to buy the current 9-3, and then shows you a prototype of what may come 2015-16?

      They will wait for the modern car.

      But regarding Autoshows, Geneva is much too early (march), NEVS wouldn’t be able to show anything, so there is no need to go there if you haven’t anything to show. And Frankfurt is way too big for a small NEVS booth, people wouldn’t even notice that they are there, except of a handful of Saab fans, and they would only be able to show a current 9-3.

      NEVS should have their first Autoshow apearance, IMO, at Geneva 2014 if, and only if, they can present there their EV-1.

  5. That’s very encouraging (NEVS) news!

    I would only love to know why would the SS go first. I believe it is, in many ways, the least competitive and attractive body style of the 9-3, while the 9-3X is, to me, just the opposite. Even if only superficial, it does seem to have some value added over the regular “old” 9-3 (after all the “X” is only a 2009 model), plus it is the Combi, a versatile body style Saab is best known for.

    I would gladly swap my 2011 9-3 SS for a 9-3X this year. I am not really sure I am ready for another sedan, unless it’s vastly improved, and I guess I’d still prefer a 5-door body style. The convertible is not an option given how I use my car.

    Just my 0.03

    • I agree. SportCombi or X would be a better choice on Scandinavian and probably on European markets in general. But are those really the markets, that they are going to focus their initial efforts on?

  6. Well i’m happy for them that things are starting to move-but I still think they are going to loose money by building cars that were not particulalry successful, I don’t understand why they cannot re-establish the Saab hatch design in this downtime and produce maybe one breathtaking facelifted 9-3 that has core SAAB demand behind it-I know its much harder to do than buiding something you already have the complete toolset for but it does seems like History repeating itself and this is 3rd time lucky…and doomed to weak demand. it strikes me as yet another missed opportunity by someone that doesn’t understand Saabs USP (now long gone) and its importance to re-light interest. Instead it looks like they will try yet again to try to compete with BMW’s 3 Series with the tired “same old” offering with a saab badge but little Saab DNA. When they realise in a years time there is no demand they’ll start all the stupid dicscounting to make them attractive-which will weaken the brand further-we’ve seen it before many times here. My point is essentially this-if your going to do something just do it right-it will eventually take more money starting out this way and improving iteratively to get to the desired end state, theses initial efforts will be wasted if they are directed toward re-hashing the old when they should be concentrating on something that is new and exciting and bold that grabs significant interest-no-one will give a stuff about Saab if the offering is the same as it was. it is tthe same in any sector from automotive to electronics-it is the opposite of what one should do, and it is that way for good reason.

    • Toby: If they ask for BMW 3 Series money, it’ll be a colossal failure. If it’s priced right and marketed right, it’ll sell. It’s a good design.

      • Angelo they will not ask BMW money that would be suicide, and yes the latest Saabs were good (not just in design but in most other areas too) the key thing is they weren’t good enough. They did not grab interest away from the other similar mostly German offerings, and because they weren’t good enough or exciting enough the most recent long term “business plan” was/became unsupportable. Starting again from that position is a poor choice if you use this hiatus to re-evaluate the mistakes and look at what we call DNA/USP…its an oppotunity..and one that seems to be ignored in favour of a Skr1Bn old 9-3 start up which I can only see failing, given how it ended last time… and the time before that.
        By summer next year that money will have gone and more besides and what will they have? a 9-3 that I could have bought 6 years ago? its not enough. even with the Electric offering-it’s not enough. its the wrong thing to do.
        You have to ask what else could be done with that kind of money diverted more towards Engineering/Dev and a minor re-jig to step further away from last year’s issues and to re ignite some mass brand interest, even if its just “superficial” to start with something’s got to change, otherwise there is nothing to talk about, no column inches, no new tests, no value add media uptake and because NEVS is a quiet owner-this all gives me more concerns.
        We’re all armchair critics here but seriously I would do it differently. I’d try to reform the Boston Power partnership with the e-AAM I’d get also try to partner with Koenigsegg and Cargene Fuel Systems in some way as that would also grab headlines and provide some fantastic opportunities in efficient use of fossil fuels using their new direct injection systems. i’d scrap the sedan and the wagon in favour of a single sports hatch which could easily be chopped into a cabriolet (again this would probably get outsource to increase the core engineering on new vehicles in Trolhatten so i’d again user Steyr for that until we had re-established, there’d be a 3 door variant so you get 3 modesl out of one single design. I’d partner with Hirsch and get them do work with Saab in Trollhattan so my engineers weren’t messing with body kits when Hirsch can do that, i’d and allow “options on the line” same with the engineering shop and Hardware R&D, i’d make Aero an engine standard again rather than just a trim-spec, i’d make it exciting enough to be on TV without advertising. And I’d get Koenigsegg to build a Nordic extreme version of the new 9-3 so everyone could watch it smashing up the competition-not for any other reason than free column inches and social media chat hoping for some kind of viral response.
        I would not spend the money on building a 9-3 as it is or was. I hope that is clear.

        • Toby, I think you missed the point on why NEVS are considering a relaunch of the 9-3. The main purposes are:

          – Get the production lines back running and train the staff with regard to the upcoming EV1 production (which is based upon the current 9-3 platform).
          – Get back to business with the suppliers of the 9-3 platform and establish relationships that support the development of the EV.
          – Get at least some turnover by selling cars to China where the demand still exists – even for a car that is somewhat older than other OEM’s offerings. NEVS don’t neccessarily have to sell the 9-3 in Europe or the US (although I do believe that there is a market for a reasonably priced Griffin here as well).
          – Last but not least: Give the (to be re-build) dealer network (especially in china where there is no dealer network at all for SAAB Cars so far) something they can sell prior to the EVs.

          All this makes perfectly sense to me.

          • I am aware of that, and if you don’t think about it too much and rely on China then yes maybe they might just make some money and yes they will establish a chinese network as for the west I cannot see anyone rasing an eyebrow until there is significant noise about the next updated (not EV-1) 9-3. I personally would try to focus on the product first and foremost.

            • I see, but the product is nothing without the brand. And the brand will be long forgotten until an EV that is not based on the current 9-3 hits the market. The SAAB brand is maybe NEVS’s biggest asset, so they will have to keep it alive, not matter what. Starting from scratch simply takes so much time so that whatever contributes to accelerate things must be very welcome. Have you seen the film “The Revenge of the Electric Car” that Swade showed on his blog some weeks ago before it was removed from YouTube about the struggle of Tesla trying to establish as a real car maker? These guys first had to learn what it means to do quality planning, customer servicing and the like as soon as their product was sold in significant volumes. NEVS with SAAB are now in a – say – reciprocal position as they need to make sure that all what makes them a car maker besides the actual product won’t get lost! IMHO, getting the factory back running for whatever is the most important point in here.

        • Loved your post, Toby. Thanks for getting me excited by some possibilities and directions i hadn’t considered. Too bad Saab couldn’t have implemented some of these 5 years ago.

  7. I also think that the demand for à sportestate is bigger than a saloon in Europe , with BMW engine, and red rear lights instead of the whiteones , to show that it is a newer model.

  8. Just wait till the convertable gets introduced; we so could perhaps re-new our previous order which got canceled due to the bankrupty.

    Good news, NEVS; make it happen!!!

  9. finally things begin to happen 🙂 excited about the logo, dont want nevs in the new logo saab is just fine nothing more needs to be added, respect the brand above all

  10. Very interesting news and a step into the right direction for sure. It will be quite interesting as well how NEVS is planning to sell all of the 9-3s they might produce. The former dealer network will be quite hard to convince in my opinion. For me as a former Saab Dealer and now being a Saab Service Partner -I feel responsible for my customers and their cars- NEVS needs a good plan to re-start business. That is if they wanna use the old network at all. Who knows?

    • There dealings with former Saab owners/dealers (none) leads me to believe they aren’t interested in the “West.” They had an opportunity with Saab Parts and warranties, and they declined.

  11. One important thing Nevs must focus on is to make sure that Swedish companies allow their employees to order Saab as company car. Historically 90-95% of the Swedish sales were company cars.

    I will of course tell my company that I want to order a new 9-3 to replace my almost new private 9-3 Aero Griffin SC 🙂

    So Nevs, let me order a 9-3X or 9-3 SC with XWD (or even better eXWD)!

  12. Does anyone (Red J ?) know if the restart of 9-3 production involves the same interior design and equipment ? Or will there be modified designs and/or equipment ?

  13. They want to make 60000 old 9-3’s in 2014 which is less than a year from now ? I dont think they sold 60 000 9-3’s way back in 2008, when the actually had a worldwide distribution network in place, and the car design was “only” 6 years old..not 12.

    Sounds incredulous to me.

    • It could be as simple as that the new Chinese share holder that bought 22% for 2 billion SEK has promised to buy x thousand cars to use in their town. Back in 2008 they didn’t sell any (?) cars in China.

      • Chinese owned Volvo couldn’t sell that many cars in China in the last 2 years , with a whole range, not just one (old) car.

        (from rushlane.com)…..

        In China, fierce competition among the European luxury brands continued to boost incentive levels and Volvo sales deteriorated. Nonetheless, sales of the Volvo XC60 were the highest ever in China with 1,999 cars.

        Retail sales status (deliveries to end customers) for Volvo Cars is as follows:

        dec 2011 5 763
        dec 2012 4 356 -24,4%

        2011 total 47 140
        2012 total 41 989 -10,9%

        • volume is one aspect, making a profit on each unit is the main goal, here in australia great wall motors have gone from nothing to substantial sales volume in a very short time.. geely motor have also tried and failed miserably and are now due for a relaunch.. chery motor are in the same boat as geely..

          • Agree totally about profit.

            If you make 60 000 cars and lose $100 per car, you have lost $6 million. Lose $1000 per car, and your losses zoom to $60 million!

            According to a search I just did on cars.com, there are still 179 2011 model year 9 -3 s listed as “new” and then a further 100 or more listed as “used” but with only 5-10 miles on them, so in reality , new cars.

            These cars haven’t sold so far, even with discounts of $10000 -$15000.

            • This must have been a busy day for the dealers then, because I tried to do the same search on cars.com and got 73 “new” Saabs. The cheapest of these had 20,809 miles on the odometer. The most expensive was a convertible listed at 47250 USD.

              I am not sure how relevant this is. Several changes were made to the Griffin. Weight was reduced to help it push high bhp while emitting less CO2 (qualifying it for tax breaks in several European countries).

              Also (again) overlooked is XWD that was added in 2008.

              The 9-3 of today is quite different from the 9-3 of 2003.

              Either way… I strongly suspect, but have not checked, that SAAB NA have not been promoting the product for quite some time.

              • I think I transposed it with “new” saabs of all models, although that is now showing 187 units.

                Who knows how accurate the listings are anyway, but the point is, you could not reintroduce the existing 9-3 to the US market which used to account for 20% or more of production, without absorbing massive losses per car. (Yes, I know, it’s not going to happen anyway….)

                Somebody mentioned that’s ok, because demand for saabs still exists in china. I don’t recall there being barely any saabs sold in china to this point.

                I don’t know how you go from zero to 60000 units with one, old model in a year from now, even in china.

                volvo hasn’t figured out that yet either.

    • They sold 70-80 k 9-3 in 2007. The first design of the car is 9 years not 12.

      TheSaab 9-3 Griffin was launched as a 2012 model and has significant enhancements over previous models,I don’t see the problem.

      • It was launched in 2002 as a 2003 model.
        In 2014 it will be 12 years old .

        The commercial production life expectancy of most car models is generally accepted to be 4 – 6 years.

        • Well, the 2012 face-lifted Griffin model is only 2 years old in 2014. Eventhough it’s just a face-lift it’s perfectly up to date apart from the infotainment system and some electronic gizmos that can be added easily.

          Audi, BMW and Mb usually change models every 6-9 years (including one or two facelifts in between).
          Only volume manufacturers like Kia change their models as often as every 4 years.

          I agree with you that it’s been around for some time, but with the Griffin update it’s still very compteitve car.

          • the sportcombi and soft top are “modern looking”.. the sedan looks very dated from the c pillar.. dash obsolete.. interior quality needs major improvement akin to 02-03-04 9-5 arc/aero.. ventilated leather seats please..

          • As I mentioned before, I agree that the technological basis of the Griffin (especially its powertrain/performance and chassis) is still very competitve, even more if offered at the right price. However, I do also see some weaknesses that canot be dismissed: Despite the interior quality, the car is too heavy and therefore consumes too much fuel compared to others. This is even more remarkable considering the fact that i.e. the bonnet is already made of aluminium. Yet, the petrol sedan weights about 1600 kg, that’s about 100 kg more than its competitors such as BMW 3-Series or Mercedes C-Class (these two should actually weight MORE due to RWD!). So, in this regard, the 9-3 is indeed somewhat aged.

            • Actually the aluminum bonnet can be a PITA. When i first got my 9-3, a branch fell onto the bonnet while driving, making a dent about the size of a coin. I tried to get it mended, but every workshop says that it cannot be restored to perfection as it is too soft, thus difficult. But they managed to mend it back to 90% as good as original.

  14. I would love to be excited, I would love to have a new Saab but – who’s going to service it? who’s going to sell it? what kind of warranty and will that be worth the paper its printed on? Come on – before I plunk down the many thousands I want to know they mean it this time!

  15. Thing that is of Tim’s dad, mine and many other former Saab employees interest is how long before production start they would need to start hiring production workers. Last thing we (team leaders and department managers) did before bankruptcy was to rebalance the production line and adapt it to lower amount “jobs per hour”. We went from 27 (i think) JPH down to 21 JPH. Management planed layoffs of about 500 ppl, but bankruptcy hit us and layoffs were never realised.
    Maybe the line is again in need of rebalancing to starting JPH of 8000 cars for those 4 months this year. 12,5 JPH if it rolls all 80 working days, neglecting holidays around and during x-mas and new year.
    Wel,l i guess we will see…

  16. Call me a sceptic but I will believe all this when I see the first car off the production like. I fail to see how they are going to get a new engine supplied, fitted, tested and type approved in such a short time.

    • Pretty sure that this will only work with “existing” engines, like the Fiat 1.9 litre Diesel, if that is still being manufactured, since it might even have the same type certificate or whatever than the identical, co-developed GM variant.

      I would therefore not be surprised if we only see Diesel versions for now.

      • The question then arrises, why not manufacture the 9-3 SC especially if only diesel engines are available? Wasn’t that what most people were waiting for at least in Sweden.
        Sub-120g CO2 and so forth. Or will the TTiD’s only come with auto gearboxes, making the case for the 9-3X?

      • Surely Saab Automobile Parts AB can source the original engines? I realize production volumes are different to parts supply volumes. I too wouldn’t be surprised at Diesel-only versions initially (and that rules out XWD 🙁 )

        Overall, they’ll have to CLAP (Change Little As Possible) to get things up and running in the timescales. Remember those vidoes SWade put up on insideSaab that showed the effort that goes into testing even minor changes.

  17. I don’t think sales figures from 2008 are relevant. This was the year the financial crisis hit, and there was talk of shutting Saab down, cumulating in GM’s official announcement in December. 2007 would be a better yardstick. Saab sales in 2007 were about 125,000, dropping to about 80,000 in 2008, and 25,000 in 2009. Even so, 2008 sales (which include 9-5s) would soak up all of the production mentioned for 2013 and 2014. And I think we can safely assume, many thousands of those vehicles will be sold in China, not necessarily to individuals, but perhaps to state or city entities.

    As to age, I’m the proud owner of a “new” 2011 9-3X-SC. I can’t tell you how many people have said “who, what a great looking car” or “wow, I didn’t know Saab was producing again.” Frankly, I think the Navigation system is a bit dated, but this car could do wonders in the US if marketed and sold properly.

    And that’s the rub, NEVS has played this so close to the vest that at this point we don’t know if they’re jerks or geniuses. They could easily fail even with a good product if they don’t market it and support it in NA and Europe. They also could have a fabulous business plan which will be unveiled to us when they’re ready, and we all say “wow.”

    • My opinion is that the fact that we know so little about their plans—-makes me feel as though “wow” won’t be part of my reaction when we learn more. I think if they were smart, we’d know more by now—-not specifics about every detail of what they’re doing—–but proud generalities about Saab still being in business—-“gearing up” to come back better than ever. I’m assuming they know at this point if they ARE coming back (or planning it at least) to their previous world markets. I mean—–they would have to know that before they even made an offer. So the whole “uncertainty” surrounding where and when is disturbing. They need to know where and approximately when (at least a target) and they need to be shouting about it (from a marketing/public relations aspect). I don’t think they’re geniuses or jerks—-but I’m getting the impression that they’re technically capable (technology) but not “with it” on how to promote ANYTHING.

  18. If NEVS gonna start production of the 9-3 this year, specification must be pretty much identical with the cars produced 2011. Otherwise you need to do a new certification of new parts/systems and this takes a long time. Changing to a new engine supplier would mean at least 1.5 years delay due to integration, tuning, certification. Also remember that the current engines are Euro 5 emission code, after 1 sept 2015 all cars must fulfill the new Euro 6 code and thats a heavy task…

  19. Has anyone asked the question as to where these cars would be sold?
    China, for sure. There the 9-3 will sell well. Middle Class China (China-2) will love it, because it espouses Western design and they will go for it. The Chinese don’t actually care about build quality all that much, (yet) and don’t really care about the engine configuration either. But they DO care about the badge.
    Which is what NEVS really bought in the first place.
    If you have ever lived in China or even visited in the last 20 years, this will be quite apparent.
    Why did VW set up the first main JV all those years ago, and make a non Western model of the early Golf in 4 door mode? And produce the Jetta. Good little car it was too and it helped push the Chinese expectation of Automotive-ness to a much higher level.
    But in 2015 the issue for China-2 (the rich and up and coming) will be what badge on the car they have. They do not want Chinese made cars either. Not a good look.
    Sort of what has been happening in Australia since 1980, really.

    So NEVS may well have it right. Sell the entire production line output to China. (has any press release ever said they will sell to the West at this point? Correct me if I am wrong, please). Do Petrol. For China. The Chinese aren’t all that enamoured of E cars either it seems from all reports. Which may go a long way to explaining their latest strategy.

    Interesting times indeed.

    • Aus: No, I don’t believe any official words have been spoken or written about selling to the West. That’s the source of oh so much frustration at this point too—-and don’t give me passing comments they’ve made in casual meetings that are entirely unofficial and noncommital. If they intend to sell Saabs again outside of China, they need to put that information on their website. Frankly, by not saying anything—-I think the masses are assuming that means no—-and it has damaged Saab’s reputation in these markets and in my opinion, even compromised resale. If people believe the brand is still there—-will be selling again—-is just on hiatus while a new owner reorganzies and restarts—-that is far, far different than believing the company is gone, only to sell in China in the future. Not addressing this officially has been Bush League, it really has. Also, I think there’s a misconception about the authority of the Chinese government here. Yes, they are far more powerful at this point (read authoritarian) but it’s a two way street—-the population is over a billion and the ruling class is a fraction of that. My point? My point is that they can hand down laws and encourage consumer behavior to a large extent—-but I’ve been hearing the same thing you just wrote about the masses not being all that enamoured of E cars. Forcing-fitting E cars into their daily lives might not be as easy as everyone believes. Don’t give up on petrol yet. Enormous numbers have a way of prevailing sometimes. This notion that someone is going to flick a light swtich and all the sudden, millions of Chinese are going to be buying electric cars—-it’s probably not accurate. This Eutopia of charging stations on every corner and plugging in your car at night before tucking it in—-some people are praying for it, but it might take quite a few years to get there. NEVS is right to be reconsidering the early announced plans to only sell EVs, which would be a disaster if they don’t modify that.

    • Oh, and it won’t be “interesting times” if they don’t announce soon that they really are planning on returning to other markets outside of China. I will probably never be living in China. It’s only interesting times for me if I can buy a new Saab someday where I live.

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