One part of the news that seems to have gone by with very little coverage at all is the fact that Saab’s parent company NEVS intends to sell a 22% stake to the city of Qingdao (pronounced ching-‘dow), China. While it still leaves NEVS the majority stakeholder and in control, it certainly puts this city square in the future for Saab. While most of us here are very familiar with Trollhättan, very few of us know much about this part of Shandong Province, where Saabs will float into port on their way into the Chinese mainland. The tastes and preferences of this city’s government leaders and inhabitants will surely play a role in shaping new Saabs for years to come.
If you find yourself with some extra time this weekend, I’ve embedded a three part episode of a CCTV show called Travelogue about Qingdao for you to watch. If you’re familiar with Rick Steves’ Europe, you’ll probably feel at home watching this series. It’s pretty amazing. Interestingly, European influence in Qingdao is extremely strong, and there’s even an old German section with a Catholic church which you can see in part 3. Before you prejudge the place, watch this video. I think I’m starting to understand why someone from here might emigrate to Sweden, become a citizen, and celebrate Western culture (actually I’m still confused why he didn’t move to Berlin instead). The fact that the narrator is a Chinese citizen with an English accent proves this point without saying.
Oh yeah, I forgot to mention– that German occupation heritage rubbed off quite a bit– their historical name is Tsingtao. Ring a bell? They drink a lot of beer. Suffice it to say, I like these people already (especially since they have an English blog there that likes to quote SaabsUnited, cover basketball, and cover NEVS, like this article you might have read elsewhere about why Kai Johan Jiang chose Qingdao in the first place)did an interview with China Throw one back and enjoy the approximately hour long video. Pay close attention to when he takes the ferry to Huangdao, which besides being the future home of a Saab plant, apparently has some of the best beaches in Mainland China.
As a bonus for clicking past the break, you can check out a video of the world’s longest oversea bridge, the Jiaozhou Bay Bridge. At 26.4 miles (42.5km), one would assume that Saab will need batteries to last at least that far ;).