Reading Between The Lines

Lately we have seen a flurry of activity on the NEVS/SAAB job postings which would lead us to think that things behind the scenes are moving a lot faster than any of us know or are being told about. At SAABSUNITED, we are told of a lot of different things that are being done off the record and we remain silent on most of them because they are still not complete and we don’t want to risk releasing something too soon or potentially damage something that was being explored, not to mention that sometimes we are told rumours as well.

I still search through the job postings everyday looking for what I can see and trying to read between the lines which is probably both good and bad because sometimes you may just see what you want to see but on the other hand, why would something be written out in a job description if it wasn’t being explored or if it wasn’t something they were looking to do?

This is the latest job posting that I found on the NEVS job board and I have highlighted something that caught my eye for obvious reasons. I have absolutely no knowledge as to where they are in this regard but the fact they want someone with basic knowledge in electric and hybrid makes me a little more optimistic in regards to hybrid technology. What do you think, can we read between lines or is this just a standard thing to look for?

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43 thoughts on “Reading Between The Lines”

  1. I find this a bit depressing really. Who are they going to find in Sweden with experience of tuning chassis for EVs? And why no mention at all of ICEs? Have they completely given up on these latter?

    • I think you read more between the lines then I do. If as you say it will be hard to find anyone in Sweden with experience tuning chassis for an EV or hybrid than would that not lead you to believe that whoever they find would have working experience with an ICE? Even still, would they need that if the engines were provided by another party and the chassis is already setup for an ICE? This is one job posting as well, I wouldn’t worry too much about ICE not being mentioned in one job posting.

  2. I think you could be right regarding hybrid technology. Currently there is no sufficient infrastructure for EV´s in Europe and how it will work in China or perhaps other countries we´ll see. An experiment in any case. NEVS has to earn money and why should they put off many long-term Saab fans if one could build a hybrid or fossil-fuel / biopower car like the 9-3 without extraordinary expenditure and sell it. Let´s hope.

  3. Volvo showed us with their v60 plug in hybrid D6, and also Mitsubishi with their (ugly) outlander hybrid with a 2 liter petrol engine what at least here in holland people want. Both are sold out , and production is increased due to the big demand of tax friendly cars who can also thug a boat or caravan and are not limited in range due rare charging stations. Saab 93 diesel hybrid will sell as hell. Make it , nevs.

  4. NEVS biggest issue is N E V S. They chose to focus on a single technique, EV. Why not be open minded, the future is not set.

    • I guess we’ll have to wait and see on that one. I personally don’t believe that if they restart production of the 9-3 that the first batch will be EVs as I just don’t see that happening as quickly as things seem to be moving with the recent hiring moves behind the scenes. I hope more info will be forthcoming at the SAAB Festival in Trollhättan in 12 days.

  5. Why are they even placing “Help Wanted” ads? Didn’t Saab have dedicated EV staff before the Dec 2011 collapse – why not re-hire them? I always got the sense that in the automotive world, companies constantly picked off competitors staff – why not strategically target folks with EV experience? Or is it that Saab can’t offer any real future (or at least stable enough to jump ship)? I bet there’s a few FIsker Automotive folks that could offer NEVS some EV/Hybrid know-how.

    • I would think they have to put the job offers out there like that so that everyone who once worked there has the opportunity to apply for the job. Not sure if there is any law about the job having to be offered to former employees or not but either way, it’s a good idea to do this so that everyone who is not already working somewhere else will be able to apply.

    • Dead serious about hiring Fisker staff. In fact, wouldn’t it be cool if NEVS purchased the remains of Fisker – consolidated the design studios – and had production capability in both Trollhättan and Uusikaupunki – talk about “Scandinavian”!

      And on the Fisker Karma – I’d re-lauch an newly skinned version in 2014 as the new Saab 9-5 with all the Aero X and NG 9-5 styling cues. Suddenly Saab Cars would have the 9-3 hybrid, 9-3 EV, and 9-5 plug-in hybrid to offer the world. One hurdle of course would be getting the Karma-based 9-5 under 50K but who cares since I’m dreaming.

      • If Saab couldn’t make it without GM, and Fisker couldn’t make it with their investor group, why should they together, succeed? Both failed mostly from various MARKETING reasons.

        Remember it’s mostly about MARKETING, not dreaming.

      • The folks from UUsikaupunki always seemed to build a really fine Saab! I noticed, when I set-up shop in 1993, that if you had 3 classic 900’s, with about 150k on the odometer, chances were that the one that just felt a little tighter than the rest @ that mileage was off Assembly line 7 @ Valmet! No offense to my Swedish friends, certainly the Trollhatten cars were excellent vehicles, but those Line 7 cars really held-up well! I once, @ the port in Brunswick, Georgia, watched a group from the Arlov plant looking over a 900 sedan from Finland and, despite the fact that I couldn’t understand what they were saying, it was obvious that they were impressed!

  6. I’m done “reading between the lines” with NEVS. The lines are too blurry and there’s not enough space between them to write anything, much less read it. They should use their website to update the Saab community and the automotive world in general on what we should be looking for in the next year or so. It’s a bush league website they’re running, but a few lines of current news would be nice. Is “Web Developer” in the help wanted section? How about “Public Relations Specialist” or “Advertising Coordinator?”

    • I wrote this mainly because I find it interesting that it says they want someone with hybrid chassis experience. I’m sure I’m not the only one who finds it interesting to see this.

      • Jason: Maybe they’re going to buy a fleet of Priuses for their executives and they want someone who knows how to work on them. I’ll stick with that theory until NEVS tells us if they have plans to develop a hybrid. I’m done guessing about what these people will do. I’m much better at second guessing why they don’t seem to be better at launching a car company. Supposedly, they are successful businesspeople and some have experience in the car industry—-but they seem wet behind the ears when it comes to the basic building blocks of what they are trying to do—-IF what they are trying to do is real and not a scam of some sort.

        • Angelo,

          These things take time. I’m sure that you can appreciate the fact that showing your cards too early is always a big mistake.

          You need to realize that SU is a tiny entity compared to the world automotive market. We are like Star Wars fans who “demand to know” details about the next film in the series. We may think that we deserve this information, but it’s better to wait for the premiere like everyone else.

          If NEVS were to show stuff now, they would get 1 day of good publicity followed by 6 months of bad publicity (“where’s the product?”, “whatever happened to?”).

          • Funny, other manufacturers project up to three model years into the future and intentionally “leak” information to the auto press, so that prospective buyers have something to get excited about. Go to Kia’s website—-they show concept vehicles. Where is NEVS?

            • Where nevs is?
              Funny you ask, well, they “do-not-have-any-production” and “do-not-have-any-product-on-sale-yet” also, they have choosen a way to do stuff that they think is right.
              It might be wrong, it might be right. Time will tell.

      • No Jason, you are not the only one interested in this. I don’t comment on topics I find uninteresting, because that might spoil it for those who are.
        Often, any topics on this site, gets comments about how NEVS is handling theire own bussiness or how bad everything looks.
        I find it a bit tiresome that we can’t se the good stuff, that comments and discussions relates to matters of nevs homepage, or that ice isn’t the main tech or just anything that anoys the the commenter. Regardless of the topic at hand. But that’s me and my thoughts.

        • TT: This is primarily a community of Saab fans. It doesn’t surprise me—-that there are negative comments and skepticism. Some of it is unfounded but some of it is spot-on. I think most of us want what’s best for a successful rebirth of Saab. We’re vocal when we see things we don’t like—-because we perceive it as a coming failure. Yes, ANOTHER failure. We’re frustrated about that so we sound off. As for seeing the good stuff—-when Tim ran those sketches a while back, I made mostly favorable comments about them. I thought they looked like very credible products. If NEVS announced they were going to gain control of the concepts and build some version of those cars, I’d go out of my way to write positive things about NEVS.

  7. I’m also reading all the job-offers.
    I find it comforting to see what they hire and that the ads is out for such a short period of time. To me that indicates NEVS gets the staff they wants.
    I’ve only seen a few ads that got a new end application date. Again, to me, changing the end date means “we want more/better applications”.

    • I know a former Saab designer, he is now responsible for styling at Nevs. He works as a consultant, not an employee of Nevs. He has two modellers, also consultants. Nevs also have former Saab engineers as consultants.

      • Johnny (Or Tim, or Jason): Is this common practice throughout the industry? Do most car companies have in-house staff for these matters, or do most of them go to consultants? I know there are design houses like Pininfaria and others—but what about engineering?

        • This becomes more and more common. This makes it much easier for the company to adjust the number of people they need. Saab had in-house staff for these matters, but for many years also a number of consultants, the number of them depended on how much work there was to do.

  8. When you go to Nevs website and look at ‘Work with us’, you will not find job ads there for all people they need. E.g., they don’t employ people for product development. They engage consulting firms for these jobs. Many engineers who worked for Saab earlier, are now employed in new consulting firms, some of them located in Trollhättan. In these firms, Nevs have found or will find many of the people they need.

  9. Like Jason, I think these jobs postings tell more than NEVS wants, for NOW, to say. Mainly because the way to ICE cars is a bit longer or uncertain than we would hope and mainly because it is not the right time to go to market. What product, for who, where and when. First question is not yet fully answered, no reason to blablabla like we unfortunately have in the past. This time until they enter in the market: they will never have it back when the production will start up so they spend costs in advertising, marketing and commercial management while they are working on their products strategy. I prefer that they take the necessary time before steping into the arena…

    Former white collars Saab employees are either on their own as consultants or belong to R and D new Start’Up companies, some at Innovatum Park in Trollhättan.

    Wait and see. Waiting (and keeping saabing) cannot be worse now anyway than what hapened in dec. 2011 and the consequences until august 2012…

    • The ultimate “consequence” of December 2011 will be if “the new Saab” builds electric toys for the rich exclusively, and no real cars. That would be the ultimate punishment for people who want Saab back in some form of what we remember. My fear is that we might never see another new Saab for sale in North America (at least not with this owner) and the rest of the world will get electric appliances without the obsessive safety features our older Saabs have. Having read posts from many others over the last year or so—-I know that I’m not the only one with these concerns. Go back over the archives. Plenty of us share this worry. NEVS can certainly calm it all down or lay it to rest by speaking.

      • With your kinds of fears though Angelo, with coming out and clearly detailing everything to Angelo’s satisfaction, you will always feel that they are not sincere and doomed to fail. You waver back and forth too like an unbalanced ship sometimes sounding positive with NEVS and other time the extreme opposite. I like that with this post we hear from people like Johnny who worked many years with Saab and has more personal insight as to why some jobs aren’t posted. Paints even a more clear picture to me as he knows actual employees of NEVS and people contracted as consultants.

        • I don’t understand what you’re asserting. Why would I always feel that they are doomed to fail or not sincere? And I’m not even asking for “detailed” information—–just for their website to have a press release (which would also be picked up by the automotive press and other media outlets) stating when and where they plan to begin selling new Saabs. And sure, I would love to have some assurance that they will build cars with internal combustion engines—-the propulsion method of choice for the enromous majority of car buyers today and into the near future at least—-if not longer. But I’d understand if they don’t disclose that yet. But knowing if they even would LIKE to sell cars in North America—–and WHEN they think that might be (model year they are targeting, no legal commitments here!)—–seriously Jason, I’d be astonished if you think that’s a “secret” that they shouldn’t divulge. Throw us a few peanuts NEVS.

        • One can see why there is some feeling that NEVS seems to be neither here nor there. First it was only EVs for limited markets, then ICEs to get the production line operating, and now hybrids. It is probably true that they will have more to say when they know what they are going to do. Meanwhile time is passing.

          That NEVS can absorb the cost of a long start-up and ultimate product roll-out while continuing to forego any return on investment may be an indication that they are well financed. I hope so,.

          • 3 Cyl: I hope they are well financed too. If they are, the venture has a chance, even if there are early missteps, which there are. But I find your phrasing interesting—-in the first paragraph, “It is probably true that they will have more to say when they know what they are going to do.” You are exactly right—-but don’t you find it odd that we’re hearing that they will be producing and selling cars in 2014, about a year from now—-so how is it possible that they don’t know what they are going to do? If product will be available for sale in mid-2014, which I believe was written on this site last week, how in the world does NEVS not know what they are doing yet? And don’t get me wrong—-I actually agree with what you wrote—-but wow, what a paradox. Hopefully they are better at engineering cars and manufaturing them, then they are at basic communications.

            • Angelo,

              Have your children ever asked “why can’t it be Christmas today?”

              We all feel the anticipation, but Christmas is still many months away.

              • My kid gets toys and other junk all year long—-I try to stress to him that Christmas is about a lot more than presents—-but yes, he does get impatient as it draws closer. But in the car world, 12 months is a blip. If they’re really going to launch a car in 2014, particularly if it’s mid-year—-they would already need to have an advertising agency on board, wouldn’t they? Are they thinking they can find one 90 days out and get the message around that Saab is back, and people will beat down their doors to buy one? LOL. To craft the message properly, and make sure it’s all integrated and approved by NEVS executives—-any credible firm would need as much time as possible—-they’d need to see renderings of the product, understand who the competition is, who the target audience is, etc. And that’s just scratching the surface—–they would also want to make the inaugural messaging timeless—-something to build on in the future—-getting it right out of the gate is very important. Lexus did a superb job. Infiniti, not so great. NEVS? We’ll see. I guess maybe if their market is government officials in China who order city buses—-maybe the task won’t be as difficult as I think. Invite them out for dinner and get them drunk and NEVS will make a few sales. But if they have any vision of taking this to Saab’s previous markets, lord knows they need something really well planned. Have they announced a European ad agency yet?

            • Angelo, whatever NEVS’ plan is it seems to be in a state of flux. As noted above, in the beginning it appeared that they were committed to EVs for limited markets. This has expanded to possible ICEs and hybrids. Apparently they are exploring options and haven’t announced anything because of uncertainty over what will be produced and whether or not the pieces (e.g. suppliers) will be in place to do it. Nonetheless, It seems that they have made large initial and ongoing investments for not having a definite plan out of the gate.

  10. From the engineer point of view this job posting is no surprise.

    First, they are asking for a chassis mechanic and not an engineer, this is the guy that fiddles around with the springs and dampers, and not the one that decides that the springs have to be a little bit harder. And no matter what NEVS does, they will be offering some kind of EV and/or hybrid car, as all the other car brands.

    Second, to be able to work as a mechanic on a hybrid or EV you need a special knowledge, as it can be very unhealthy to touch the wrong cables at the wrong moment. Those orange cables transport a lot of energy, and they are orange, signal colour, for a reason.

    And at last, the fact that this mechanic will work with internal and external customers is more important for me than anything else.

  11. To be quite honest, if Saab and NEVS really want to be competitive, they need to follow in the way of Ford… Selling gasoline powered cars (petrol) with electric components, and sell plug in variants to back up. This way they can ease their way into being a fully electric car company. Right now in 2013 the technology isn’t exactly there… Take it from an americans point of view… The Nissan Leaf is severely unattractive, the FIAT 500e is only sold in California, the Mitsubishi i-Miev is extremely underpowered. NEVS has to build a car that is attractive, available everywhere, and makes people feel as their not driving an electric car, thus building a competitive line of cars considering Saabs extensive history. The only way for NEVS to strive as an electric company is to hold off on electric capabilities for a while, and sell gasoline powered cars.

    • There are more markets than just the american one and electric cars are on the rise in most of Europe whos market was at its peak almost 40% larger than the american one with a significantly higher profit margin per sold car than cars sold in the US.

      I think we should rely upon that NEVS has done its homework and know what they need to do, it is after all their place and their money.

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