NEVS’ Reorganisation Prolonged

Good news come from Vänersborg, after yesterday some creditors expressed their doubts about the plan to write down their demands towards NEVS. Obviously they still see a point in NEVS’ plans and this morning the District Court decided to prolong the reorganisation. Here is the press release from NEVS:

The reorganization of Nevs is prolonged

The District Court of Vänersborg, today December 11, decided that the Reorganization of Nevs shall continue for an additional time period of three months, until March 2, 2015.

“I am glad that the District Court has decided to prolong the Reorganization. We need the time the prolongation allows to concretize and finalize the ongoing negotiations” said Nevs’ President Mattias Bergman.

Let’s hope there will be a final and viable solution on the table in March.

32 thoughts on “NEVS’ Reorganisation Prolonged”

    • Sonett: I’m also surprised that this post hasn’t had a lot more activity, a lot more comments. Speaking for myself—-I wanted to think about it a lot before commenting—-trying to let it settle in. After a couple days of introspection, my thought is that it’s good news. The 3 month time frame is longer than it might have been if the news was bad. I think the court might see some real potential in what’s being discussed—and they want to give the parties involved sufficient time to iron things out—-to give this every chance of succeeding before they close the book on Saab. I think that’s a huge positive—-3 months to conduct business and every reason to believe progress will be made. If there was nothing constructive on the table, I don’t think this would have been punted to March. It’s going to be a really long Winter for us Saab faithful—-because there won’t be anything to discuss except for a rumor or two maybe. But I have good feelings about the Spring. I don’t know why exactly—-but something tells me there’s light at the end of the tunnel and a real chance for a clean slate with a real owner this time and maybe an ideal fit for Saab, finally. Joe—-we might have to get used to what a future Saab will be. I think after decades of misery, we should embrace changes that might finally bring profits to this company—-profits and stability. And as long as they are in business, greater things can happen down the road.

      • Angelo; respectfully, as you know nameplate does not a SAAB make! Nor does putting the ignition switch between the seats categorize an automobile as SAAB..would they really be “in business” as you say?
        Guess I would rather see SAAB depart with some dignity in her, and not walk the Earth like Frankenstein’s monster.

        • Well, the early efforts might not be “proper” Saabs as some would say—-but if they’re alive, they can improve. If they’re dead, they’re dead. I’m not ruling out one more shot for the 9-3 either!

  1. The board at Mahindra that has Saabs fait in their hands:
    Executive Director & President – Automotive & Farm Equipment Sectors
    Pawan has a BSc. in Mechanical Engineering from IIT, Kanpur, a PhDfrom Cornell University, USA and completed the Harvard Business School Advanced Management Program. He joined Mahindra in 1993 as General Manager, R&D. Before that, Pawan spent 14 years with General Motors, USA and is credited with pioneering research in engine design and development.

    President — Information Technology Sector & CTO, Mahindra Group
    Ulhas holds a Bachelor’s of Technology degree in Mechanical Engineering from IIT, Madras and an MBA degree from Harvard Business School. He joined the Group in 1992 as General Manager of Corporate Planning. Prior to that, he worked with GKN Automotive USA and GKN Invel Transmissions, India.


  2. Like everyone here, I would love to believe that Mahindra and co could just wave their hands and produce the Saab of everyone’s dreams in 18 months. Tata (Jaguar) and Geely (Volvo) had much easier tasks. They acauited brands that were up and running, and did not have the damage that has been done to the Saab brand. Jaguar was rather scuffed up due to quality issues, but, like Volvo they remained in production. Jaguar and Volvo weren’t subjected to the underinvestment and poor marketing under GM or to the soap opera ownership story. None of this did the brand any favors in the minds of potential customers.

    While Saab was starved of capital for most of a decade, automotive engineering moved on. Volvo and Jaguar were able to keep up, Saab was not. In my opinion, whatever there is of Saab is now a good 10 years behind the rest of the industry. An exquisitely painful reality in light of Saab once being 10 years ahead of the rest of the industry, or so it seemed at the time.

    Now you add in that Saab has been pretty much out of production since 2011 and with models that were outdated (the 9-3) or irrelevant (the 9-7)

    So, I’m saying all that to say that no matter how much we all would love to see a new Saab presence, it’s a good 5 to 8 years out. Mahindra have nothing to start with other than a once cherished brand. I have to believe they are smart enough to realize that it will take deep pockets and a long view to re-establish a brand that has been as compromised as Saab cars is right now.

    It will also take a new platform, very imaginative styyling, innovative propulsion, features and interior appointments that leapfrog Audi and BMW. There will also have to be cutting-edge and imaginative marketing. That’s what the 900 did in the early 80’s. It brought Saab from an outlier brand for kooks to a must have status symbol. It was a cutting edge, imaginative and innovative offering They need the same thing again, based once again on cutting edge technology. My vote would be for fuel cells or hydrogen, but that is only my opinion.

    They have to repeat that sort of pattern if they are to establish the volumes they need to survive. They now also need an effective and aggressive campaign to recruit and re-establish a dealer and parts networks.

    It will take a long term plan, alot of money, a lot of time, and consistent and steady management to plan. I would rather see them take a good long time and get it right, than repeat the last 10 years of high-wire financing games and on and off production of an inventory of aging or half-baked models.

    I hope to keep my 9-5’s going until the new Saabs arrive on these shores, but I am not optimistic. Mahindra are a global company. Europe and North America are saturated markets. The growth opportunities are in Asia, not here. If they get up off the ground, my guess is that they would be looking to that market first.

    • David: Mahindra was very interested in entering the U.S. with their cars and trucks a few years ago. The market might be “saturated” but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a lot of money to be made here, with the right product and the right price. Having a familiar brand name is important for Mahindra—-which might be one reason why they are focused on Saab. A time line of 8 years is a non starter though. They have products already—-that can be re-engineered, redesigned and rebranded in well under 5 years. They also would have access to all variants of the 9-3 if they complete a purchase of Saab. I suspect that they’ll need to begin selling these cars closer to 5 years than 8 years. Hopefully under five years—-and hopefully in several global markets where Saab was previously and where the name is already known. Why go out of their way to gain access to the name—-if they’re going to expand into regions where nobody has ever seen a Saab or might not have ever heard of Saab? I would think they want a Western name to do at least some business in Western markets.

  3. Good points, but not sure why you single out the 9-3 (ok), the 9-7 (already stopped in 2009) and don’t mention the 9-5 and 9-4, both plenty relevant for 2011 even if they will not return.

  4. I hope they don’t think that badge engineering will get them back into Western markets. It’s too soon after the Saaburu (9-2) and Saab Trailblazer (9-7), Those were, IMHO, the very antithesis of what was Saab. They were an unfortunate departure from what had been a nice, clean brand identity. The Saab brand identity was muddled, cheapened and degraded. Seeing a Trailblazer running around with a Saab badge stuck on it smacked of desperation. Those models are what happens when accountants are allowed to run companies that make things and to make decisions about things they know nothing about.

    Mahindra, if they are serious, will need to offer something that re-establishes Saab’s uniqueness, and offer a blend of performance and sophistication that no one else has, at a reasonbable price, like they did 30 years ago. Badge engineering won’t accomplish that. People will see through it. I doubt many here would be interested in another Saab Trailblazer. From the pedigrees of the executive team, one has to hope they have considered all this.

    If their intention is to just use a fancy Western name in markets where there is no history, then this discussion isn’t really relevant to us since we won’t see the new models anyway.

    • David: You might think the Trailblazer 9-7 smacked of desperation and you might be right. Why the desperation? Because that other formula wasn’t getting Saab anywhere. That formula had them on the brink of extinction. And in today’s automotive world, platform sharing and badge engineering are simple realities. It’s just the way it is. Volkswagen and Porsche share platforms. So what? Further, as Avelik has said to me on occasion, please back up your statements with some details. Okay, so you want performance and sophistication that no one else has, at a reasonable price: How? How can that possibly be delivered? Where will the cars be made? What’s a reasonable price? How many models should be in the line? Realize that even Porsche had to expand into SUVs and sedans. If you think Saab is going to make it with one or two lines that are sedans—one of the lines with a convertible and the other with a wagon—-understand that they’ll be in business for a few years, then out of business again. We’ll be having this same conversation soon enough. They need an entry level compact, they need at least one or two SUVs, they need a mid range and for those purists, I guess a premium too. Without a full line, they’ll go away again. And there simply is no way for little Saab to create a full line without looking into sharing platforms with other automakers or within the Mahindra family.

      • One should not forget that badge engineering and platform sharing are two different concepts. Badge engineering is when you sell more or less the same car just with a different name. The 9-7X and 9-2x were examples of badge engineering. It is badge engineering when the same car is sold as Buick Regal in USA and China and as Opel Insignia in Europe. This is what badge engineering means. Platform sharing is different. It is used by everyone because it makes car making possible (otherwise it would be too expansive for the manufacturers). The 9-5 and the Insignia/Regal shared platforms, but were different cars. The Porsche Cayenne, Audi Q7 and VW Touareg share the same platform, but they are different cars. Platform sharing is a normal thing.
        Saab needs a wide range of cars and the good thing is that now they have a platform that allows them to do that. They can build a wide range of different models on the Phoenix. I think it is possible to see a product on that platform sooner than the 8 years Tim has been mentioning. I don’t think it makes sense to use existing platforms that Mahindra uses because they will have to make a car from scratch on them – a little bit of reengineering is not going to be enough.
        So there is a way for SAAB to create a full line of cars without using anyone else’s platforms. They may share it with others but that’s a different question.

        • And that was a good clarification between platform sharing and badge engineering. You are correct that for Saab, it should be platform sharing. Chrysler did a lot with the platform of the K-Cars. Compact cars, convertibles, larger cars, minivans…you name it. Maybe the Phoenix can be a multi purpose tool for Saab too.

  5. I am amazed that people are convinced that Mahindra is just wanting badge engineered cars with the SAAB brand on them. Firstly I think SAAB will seek assurances this is not the case before allowing the use of their name. Secondly, they know what the market is like in terms of near luxury cars. There is LOTS of amazing product out there. A badge engineered car will be laughed out of the market. Mahindra will probably restart the 9-3, and I hope create a new product priced in below the Audi A3/CLA price range. Who knows what powertrain they will use, but it better be good, because the competition is super.

    • I would love to see them restart the 9-3 in all forms—wagon, convertible and sedan, while they develop new Saabs. In the absence of restarting the 9-3, which some on these pages have said will never happen—-too expensive to build, too outdated, never happen—-if they are right, an updated and rebranded car already in production—-that they have access to—might be the only other way to bring a car to market in less than six years. We’ve also heard up to eight years for this to happen. I am amazed that people are convinced that Mahindra is buying Saab with the intention of not selling a Saab for eight years.

      • Eight years is a very long time. Yes, they are very far behind, but there is a relatively modern factory, a relatively modern unfinished platform, and an aged model that could do with a major faceleft. But they are starting with that relatively modern factory, platform, model, some engineering staff, etc….Can it really take that long? Out of curiosity, does anyone have a sense how long it took Elon Musk from the point where they started design and put their first cars on the road? From what I can see on Wikapedia, they incorporated in 2003 and sold out their first 100 roadsters in 2006 with Lotus initially producing cars without the power train for them. That’s a lot shorter than eight years…..

        • I don’t know if the 8 years assumption of Tim’s is based on something substantial he’s heard or this was more of a random assumption but I think it is more than possible to have a Phoenix based car sooner than that. Qoros had a product on the market 6 years after their establishment and they are a company established from scratch. In 6 years they gathered management and engineering staff, established design and development centers in China and Germany, developed a platform, reengineered an engine (their engine is based on a Chery engine but there were some changes made), built production facility in Changshu, China, employed production staff and delivered their first model to the market. NEVS already have some key people, they have the development and production facilities, they have technologies. If the deal is ready in the beginning of next year and they receive the needed investment I think it is possible to see a car based on the Phoenix before the end of the decade.

      • I’m having a hard time seeing the 9-3 re-entering any market, neither in ICE nor EV guise. Especially if the supplier network are eventually asked to write down NEVS’ debt load.

        Secondly, compact class has moved on. Saab 9-3 is a freak between two classes. Its overall measures are still the same as Merc C-class, BMW 3, Audi A4, but the wheelbase is around six to ten inches shorter. You can’t fit four adults in the car comfortably, even if it’s a big car on the outside. The car also has excess weight compared to modern competition.

        The car needs a nose job, for pedestrian safety and all. It needs a GM free engine and drivetrain, Euro6 compatible. That’s a good year’s work in itself to get sorted. Add another year, if you want a diesel engine variant, too. Add a year if you want to relaunch the SC.

        The electrical system in 9-3 is badly outdated, you can’t fit in any of the new gizmos like adaptice cruise control or a more modern electronic stability control.

        Nobody in Europe is interested in the 9-3 anymore. The big 3 are flexing their muscles, VW Passat and Ford Mondeo are getting in the ring with new models as we speak. Honda and Toyota are already admitting defeat, pulling the Accord and Avensis from European market. Volvo is suffering despite its excellent later models. Lexus is a complete loser in the segment as well. Why build 9-3 in Sweden for this market? Why build it and ship it to US or Asia?

        There’s no dealer network, there are two recent failures to keep the car alive… I could go on. There’s not a single thread of sense left to make a push with this car. If there was, why did they just give the boot to all the blue collars? It would take a few months to hire new staff. Even the EV version is about two years of testing short of being finished.

        Why put any money in all of that when you can get to work with a new platform right away? They only did the ICE 9-3 again because a bunch of former Qinqdao executives asked them to. They never meant to do it in the first place.

        If you want one, Angelo, there are about a hundred still unsold in Sweden, I hear. Some of them are being auctioned as we speak, they are going for around 190 000 krona. That’s about 24 000 US$. Of course, cars in Sweden are more expensive than in the States, so the going price for a 9-3 Aero in the US could be a tad under 20k – right where it was back in 2011 when Saab went bust.

    • That was my point. Badge engineering insults any brand, and insults premium brands more. Platform sharing is different, and makes sense for many reasons. The platform is a simple engineering decision. There is an engineering problem to solve, and you use a solution that solves it in the most cost effective way. Whether you build or buy doesn’t matter if it meets the engineering requirements.

      People don’t buy cars for the platform. It’s what the design teams do with the platform that matters: drive train, suspension and steeringcomponents, body design, seats, interior appointments. Those are what create the identity of the car and those are what people respond to.

      The first fatal error GM/Saab made was to replace the original 900 with a car built on a platform that was vastly inferior. Of many examples, the original 900 had the emergency brakes on the front wheels, where they are more effective. Saab was the only company to figure out how to do that. The original 900 had a proper shift linkage. The platform was designed for the kind of high performance driver the car was aimed at.

      For purely economic reasons (= GM accountants – the very same bunch that drove GM into the ground and caused the US government to use my tax dollars to pay for their mistakes), the so-called “new 900” was a Vauxhall Cavalier – an unremarkable, aging middle range family sedan unknown in the US, but ubiquitous in Europe. The emergency brakes were on the rear wheels, which made them like everyone else’s, the shift linkage was cable, which felt sloppy and cheap. Saab was allowed to change the hood, the dash, the lights and a few peripheral detail, including the badges. The car still drove and handled like the boring family sedan it was built on. It was a huge step down from the advanced exciting original. People saw through it. That was the beginning of the end.

      Whether the original 900 was getting long in the tooth can be debated, but once the decision was made to update the car, replacing it with an inferior offering set Saab up for what happened.

      So to echo the points above. I hope, as mntzr says above, that Mahindra is aware of the history and has the wisdom and resources to avoid repeating it, whatever platform they choose.

      Whatever they do, it has to make a statement, it has to be distinctive, and it has to recapture the originality and excitement that Saab once offered. You can do it successfully with a shared platform, witness the Toureg/Cayenne. You can’t do it by slapping a Saab badge on someone else’s sedan.

      • Reports were that the real problem with the new 900 was that it was rushed into production and that the later 9-3 version represented what the new 900 should have been if it had been done right. Nonetheless you are probably correct that it was a critical setback.

        As for the earlier Trollblazer comments, in AERO form it offered a lot off performance for the money. However, as you infer the whole package was a bit much for the traditional SAAB market and other buyers preferred to spend more for a brand with more status.

        I suppose all of this is a way of saying too much badge and not enough engineering. A new investor will need significant financial fortitude to avoid that approach in favor of making the extra money and time investment it will take to recapture the old SAAB spirit.

        • Agree, the “new” 900 is what did all the damage. That was a disaster. It killed the 900 prematurely, it killed the 9000 and it starved the 9-5 development. I believe it would have been a different story if they had just stuck with the original 900 for another 4 years. The 900 was already old, the development costs were well amortized, and the car was and is still well loved. Likewise, the new 9-3 is a sweet car and a worthy successor to the original 900 I completely agree with Angelo there. But after the damage done by the “new” 900, it was playing to a largely empty stage when it arrived. I just don’t think that market will be interested in that model now. The competition would pounce, planting doubts about a “10 year old car” compared to VW and BMW who refresh or replace models on much shorter intervals. It’s all marketing. It won’t matter if the 9-3 is technologically as or more capable than the competitors. They will just pander to the natural human desire for the newest thing, and that be all they need to do.

          • One thing I will say is that the lack of a hatchback for the “new” 9-3 left many Saab buyers disappointed. And actually, a historic review supports the contention that Saab was often vulnerable to the competition calling them “outdated.” You suggest that the old 900 should have hung around for a few more years and I’m in full agreement with you. But how old was it already? The competition could always pounce on something. The competition pounced on turbos being unreliable. In fact, as recently as the mid 2000s (even later) the competition pounced on the fact that Saab was using 4 cylinder engines in very expensive cars, while THEY offered V6 and V8 options. I think any new Saab owner has to focus on what they do best—-and cultivating a new generation of buyers for Saab products. The only thing left is the name. I contend that the best way to trade on that name is to introduce a more affordable Saab—-“European performance for less.” It could be an existing smaller car/SUV re-engineered and restyled in Sweden, brought to market as quickly as can be done well—sold for less than people expect to pay for a Saab. That might turn off this tiny group of people who keep asking for another Mullermobile, but it will find some new buyers and frankly, new buyers are needed more than anything if Saab comes back. And the higher end line can be the 9-3, updated. This is far from ideal, but it would be a quick start until some new models can be developed in 8 years (the estimate that’s been thrown around here so often). If a Phoenix based model is going to take 6-8 years, that’s too long. They need to go with what they have in house now, spruced up and sold at higher volume and lower profit. As for intervals—-maybe with Mahindra’s financial muscle, the product cycles can be shortened. But it never bothered me in the past when Saab, Volvo, Mercedes, etc. had cars that hung around for 10-12-15 years—-evolving. The old 900 and the Volvo 240 were proof that evolution can certainly trump revolution if done correctly. I would buy one of those cars today if they were still available new—-touch screen infotainment be damned. I want a safe, reliable, durable car, not a video game on wheels. Yes, to reach the younger buyers, some of this garbage will be needed—-but keep it to a minimum to keep the costs in check.

  6. Quote from

    Mahindra is now set to take a majority stake in NEVS, in the process acquiring the Saab brand, the court documents suggest. A spokesman for Mahindra declined to comment.

    Any deal would mark the culmination of a lengthy courtship by the Harvard-educated Indian tycoon, who first tried to buy the embattled Swedish company two years ago, as part of ambitious plans to expand into western markets.

    Mr Mahindra has launched a series of attempts to acquire upscale global brands, including an abortive bid for British luxury sports car maker Aston Martin in 2012, and a successful $466m deal for Korean SUV-maker Ssangyong in 2010.

    Mahindra also tried to buy Britain’s Jaguar Land Rover in 2009, before ultimately losing out to Tata, another Indian conglomerate.

    The tycoon’s inexpensive entry-level SUVs enjoy a dominant position in India’s market, but Mr Mahindra believe that his group needs to acquire upmarket brands if it is win-over consumers in industrial economies.

    In 2013, Mr Mahindra told the FT that “we need brands, because the one thing you cannot build, if you want to grow globally at least – something that can take a lifetime, and we are in a hurry – is brands”.

    In particular, Mr Mahindra is understood to have ambitions to launch a premium SUV model, tapping into a segment that has proved hugely lucrative for carmaker such as Germany’s Porsche and Audi.

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