More on the Turkish Delight!


Skärmavbild 2015-10-22 kl. 07.53.09

Photo credit AA

It used to be that SU was exclusively informed by the management by both SAAB Automobile, SWAN, and to some extent NEVS. Now we read about the possible future in Road & Track magazine and the turkish newspaper Hürriyet Daily News.

– Mr. Fikri Isik Turkish Minister of Science industry and Technology says that new car shall consist of at least 85% parts produced in Turkey. Their goal is to have extended range environmental friendly vehicles.

“All of its intellectual property rights will be Turkey’s. That’s what we mean by national,” “We bought the Saab 9-3’s intellectual property rights, but not its name,”  Işık stated

– The car will have the Cadillac BLS front design and come in sedan/saloon only and without the SAAB name.The deal was settled way back in May and NEVS has shown 3 prototype cars

According to Hürriet News there has been some hiccups on the deliveries of the prototypes. NEVS failed to deliver the Phoenix Prototypes on time and the electric car did not function properly. On may 29th TUBITAK demanded improvements on the prototypes. The only functioning prototype was the gasoline powered car. The turkish paper also mention a SUV prototype that was not delivered at all.

From the picture it looks like the prototypes has a radiator that indicates that the car might have a  petrol or diesel engine. Is that what the turks means with extended range? Another interesting question is the safety of the car. We all know that the 9-3 does not fulfill the latest safety standards for car manufactured in europe. The hood/bonnet sits to close to the engine parts and is a hazard for pedestrians. Do they have other safety regulations in Turkey? We know that NEVS built at least one prototype with a higher hood with exploding / lifting mechanism.

Great to see that at least some engineers in Trollhättan has the chance to collaborate with the turkish counterpart and we will see what name the car will be given by the turks.

Earlier this week the Brazilian President Dilma Rouseff visited Sweden as part of her nations purchase of SAAB Gripen Fighters. A big debate has been sparked on whether this sale is so good for Sweden since it consists of a lot of “giving away” of knowledge and IP (intellectual property). I hope that this is not the case with the NEVS business with the turks. But in most agreements between equal technological developed nations both parties will benefit each other with knowledge not necessarily just in monetary terms. Dealing with a counterpart with a lower technological advancement, there is always a risk that one gives away technology that was taken many years of hard labour and investment away almost for free,

Skärmavbild 2015-10-22 kl. 08.32.49

Photo Credit AA “Personally I have a hard time understanding why the even bother to put camo on a car that is not new in any way looks pretty “stupid” better having the car plain and neutral nobody would recognize it. Where do You best hide a tree? In the forest of course!

90 thoughts on “More on the Turkish Delight!”

  1. I have always thought that the Cadillac-front on a Saab is a brutal design-crime. This clumsy front has nothing to do with the elegant through-going lines of a Saab.
    Regarding the technology, Saab never got enough out of their innovations which are now existing in most cars. Nevs should learn from that and protect good ideas better in the future. Hopefully they will get some kind of Royalty for parts of the 9-3-tech that will later be manufactured in Turkey.

    • It’s horrible. It reminds me of the Cadillac Catera—-when they took a decent looking Opel and grafted a Cadillac front end on that—-laughable. This is, if anything, perhaps worse. “Design Crime” is a fantastic way of putting it. That said—-at least there’s some activity.

  2. ” NEVS failed to deliver the Phoenix Prototypes on time and the electric car did not function properly.”

    Why does this not surprise us? Have they ever delivered anything on time and functioning properly? And what’s that about Phoenix? The article talks about 9-3 IP. Phoenix isn’t part of that, is it?

    • Yes, I thought the Phoenix platform was what came “next” and not the existing 9-3 platform. So, yes, we knew that NEVS was working on a full electric prototype based on the last available 9-3 (that was demoed in Sweden a while back), but the Phoenix platform was the future. Has that now been sold also?

      • The Hurriet article states “prototypes called Phoenix”. The article is supposedly based on some Turkish documents they found access to. I wouldn’t hurry with jumping to conclusions, but I guess if the turks had acquired access to the Phoenix they would state or at least hint in some way that they have such access. Instead, they say their plans are to build cars around the 9-3 technology.

          • It says prototypes called Phoenix. If you look at the documents, they list sedan EV, sedan EREV, wagon ICE and cross over wagon EREV (not SUV, as stated in the Hurriet article). From this it is easy to conclude we are talking about different body styles of the current 9-3 – sedan, wagon and turbo x wagon. Besides, from the description of the problems with the EV sedan, we see that this is the EV prototype NEVS presented last year. It lacks management systems, comprehensive instrumentation systems and so on, exactly the way it was seen by everyone who test drove it last year, including the SU guys. So Nevs didn’t deliver some malfunctioning, broken car, they delivered a prototype in its current level of development.They didn’t deliver the range extended sedan and wagon, which were not developed prior to the reorganization. It is interesting way they are calling them Phoenix, but the name itself doesn’t connect them with the platform with this name.

            • Well, I still don’t get why they call it Phoenix if it’s old 9-3 platform?
              What about actual Phoenix platform they own? They’re gonna rename it or still call it Phoenix? Strange and confusing.
              Too bad NEVS is not willing to talk with anybody about it, I’ve sent them an e-mail sometime ago asking when can we expect some new cars under Saab brand to be available but been told to keep eye on their website, that’s it.

              • Jacko: They’re not willing to speak broadly about anything. From day one, these people have been silent when they should have been drumming up interest and enthusiasm about their plans with the brand. It’s been a hoax—-a ridiculous hoax, bordering on a scam. They don’t talk because they have nothing to say. They don’t have anything to say because they don’t have a clue what they are doing in the context of building Saabs. Their plan has changed because it was a pitiful plan to begin with and perhaps not even a real one, but a fake, “stated” plan to get their foot in the door. They’ve shown nothing at all to instill even a shred of confidence that they can achieve anything meaningful with the factory or with the Saab name. In short, Saab AB needs to legally pull the plug on this nonsense as quickly as possible, force a cease and desist so their name isn’t dragged through the mud any further—-and either put it on ice forever, or find something more constructive to do with the name as it relates to automobiles—-a partnership with a company that isn’t incompetent.

              • I remember reading on some of the other Saab blogs (think it was Saabtala) that the Phoenix platform could get a new name. From the articles posted in the comments and the documents about the prototypes I get the feeling NEVS is referring to the 9-3 platform as Phoenix 1 and maybe the Phoenix platform will be called Phoenix 2. But all of this is just my guesswork.

  3. For clarification, does this mean that NEVS has no platforms of their own now? It sounds like they sold the 9-3 all together, and the Phoenix platform. Does it really portray that the now have no vehicle of their own whatsoever?

    • Highly unlikely. It wouldn’t make sense for them to sell the Phoenix because they have own plans for it and their partnership with Dongfeng is largely based on the Phoenix. License? Might be. Sell? Wouldn’t say.

  4. This is immensely depressing and actually rather embarrassing. It reads as though NEVS have so far been unable satisfactorily to develop the Phoenix platform and their initial efforts at an EV have met with disaster. So they now sell off all they have left, the 9-3 IP. They have also carelessly lost the rights to the name along the way. The only thing left of Saab Motors seems to be the name above the factory. No wonder that they don’t want to talk about all of this on a website.

    Perhaps it is about time that some other industrial group recognises that there is still life in the brand and approaches Saab AB. Look at what BMW has done with the long-defunct ‘mini’ brand. And Bentley and RR motors seem also to be doing rather well in German hands. Perhaps some other industrial group that knows more about managing a brand than Chinese communists could take on the challenge.

    • Well said, Jond. Bravo to you. That factory will end up being a warehouse if nothing is done soon to attract a company that knows how to design and build cars—-to take this off of NEVS hands. My hope is that NEVS won’t pay taxes and they’ll lose the factory.

  5. Now I am really confused. Didn’t BAIC purchase at least licensing rights to the 9-3 awhile back, and actually starting producing models on that platform? How can this Turkish firm then say that it has purchased the intellectual rights to the 9-3? Maybe they can then continue the licensing arrangement to BAIC (which they may have been contractually tied to in the purchase) while they develop their own models on the platform.

    • BAIC bought the rights to the first generation 9-5 and the pre-facelifted 9-3. NEVS owns/owned the 9-3 in the way it was in the moment of the bankruptcy (so everything done with the model in the meantime) . So Tubitak bought that. An interesting question is if they bought, meaning wholly own the platform, or only licensed it, which would mean NEVS still could use it for something.

      • NG 9-3 2003-2006 and NG 2007- are just different in cosmetic details. Both are now a product designed 16 years ago. I love my 04 CV but it is a modern classic.

        • True, but nevertheless that’s how the deal was announced to be back then. At least this information circulated a lot around here, don’t know how it was officially explained.

        • By the way, it is not entirely true that the difference between the pre and post facelifted cars are only cosmetic. There were some technical changes, most notably the addition of the AWD feature.

        • The tooling for the pre-facelift 9-3 was different. IIRC Swan sold the old tools and kept the new. It was mentioned at the time that the tools were quite expensive to develop and manufacture.

          Hopefully Orio has filled up their warehouse with 9-3 body parts (like they did with NG 9-5).

          What I find troubling is that they mention the Phoenix platform. Presumably NEVS still has a platform on the way for their own cars… (And naturally I hope those cars will be relevant for most of us here)

  6. Well, here is an article that answers my questions:

    NEVS got 40 million Euros out of the deal (and will likely make more helping with development), but says it retained the rights to the 9-3 and Phoenix platform for Sweden and China, and the Turkish firm only got the rights (or license) to produce in Turkey.

    NEVS’ Mikael Ostlund is quoted as saying that NEVS still plans to produce its own cars on the Phoenix platform, but does state that it is [still] not clear if they will be able to use the Saab brand, noting that SAAB AB is in talks with the EU (?) and that details will be forthcoming next year.

    Again, as I noted in another post, this sort of activity fits in with NEVS’ plan to work with partners on various projects. So, whether the Turks get to have a Saabillac to play with, or the Chinese investors end up with a 9-3 based platform for an electric car, that is fine as long as there may be a Saab-branded vehicle at least developed mostly in Sweden, even if it may be built elsewhere for certain markets. That is the most we can hope for.

    A lot of folks railed at Porsche for building SUVs. Hey, if building SUVs keeps the company afloat so it can keep cranking out 911s and Caymans, then so be it. A bit of a stretch metaphorically, but same with NEVS–if these ventures keep it afloat so it can have a chance (if only a chance) to again make a Saab, then so be it.

    • I don’t want NEVS making a Saab. I want a good Saab or no Saab. They’re incapable of a good one and the reason the timeline is never discussed by Ostlund or anyone else is because it’s a pipe dream—–there aren’t plans, only dreams. We’ve had enough of that.

    • Reading this articles and documents I get the feeling NEVS started to refer to the 9-3 platform as Phoenix 1. Maybe it is to differentiate it from everything else done on the Epsilon 1. This way what we know as Phoenix platform maybe will be Phoenix 2 or something completely different.

      • But does that platform have anything to do with the Phoenix platform? If not, couldn’t they have differentiated it by saying the NEVS 9-3 or something along those lines? Why create more confusion by using the already established name for a platform for cars of the future by tying it back to the 9-3? If I understand it correctly then, “Phoenix One would have absolutely nothing to do with Phoenix 2, except the name Phoenix? I swear, these people.

  7. I won’t pretend, I know much about licencing rights to 9-3 IP and Phoenix, because I don’t. In fact I really don’t want to bother with that much more. Even so, as a Saab fan and a proud owner of a 9-3, I find this developments with NEVS rather disturbing. This guys never cared much for a fan base, never shared any meaningful information and proved time and again they are not up to the challenge. Now they act in a way as liquidators – they are selling whatever they can to whomever they can. I understand it makes sense to them, but to me it feels like digging out a corpse of a decent and well loved man from the grave and turning it into some kind of zombie. It’s distastefull.

    That said, I don’t have any problems with Turks, far from it. I hope they get as good a car from all this business, as possible. Just please NEVS,Tubitak, whoever, have the decency not to making it look like a Saab. You owe us that much.

  8. The body of a Saab with the grill of a Cadillac and the tail lights of a E46 BMW. How tacky.
    You know, I thought the Chinese were buying into NEVS for some kind of design background or engineering skills, but now they’ve sold off all their IP? This can really only go one of two ways, start from scratch, or use some kind of Chinese platform. Either way that pushes real cars off the table for the next 8 years…
    I wish I was as rich as the people who own and invest in NEVS. It must be really nice to know you can just toss around millions of dollars and not have it affect your lifestyle at all, no worries about if the company you’re making will flop or not. They say money can’t buy happiness, but it buys peace of mind. Also seen it said “money can’t buy happiness? Ok, I’ll lease it then.”

    • We don’t have anything that says NEVS sold all of their IP. Just a sentence claiming they have not delivered a prototype called Phoenix in no way means they have sold all of their tech. Let us not make ‘news’ out of nothing.

        • The 9-3 is the only thing they could produce (relatively) immediately. But its history showed it is not very viable in the marketplace.

          • Avelik: Your opinion, please: Tim had stated many times how my idea to come back quickly with the 9-3 line, decontented, with lower sticker price—-wasn’t feasible at all because the 9-3 was “too expensive to build”—-expensive to the point of being so far out of line with more modern designs, it could never be cost-competitive or have a price reduction. His point wasn’t about Swedish labor costs, but about the design of the car itself, internal systems, etc. My question is this: If that’s true—-that the car would be cost-prohibitive to build again and drop the price a few thousand after making leather into textile, less fancy wheels, fewer standard convenience options, manual seats instead of power with motors, etc.—-if the car was just fundamentally “too expensive to build” then how/why would this be the basis for a Turkish national car?

            • The problem with the cost of the 9-3 model is connected to two things – the production cost and the level of investment in re-engineering. The production cost depends on the volume, the level of engineering, who your suppliers are and so on, but mainly on the volume. The intended production volume for the 9-3 was low, which means the price to make it was high and the price of the car was also high. Besides, Nevs did not intend to make serious changes to the model because for them it was a stopgap measure until the new generation of cars is completed. For them it was important to have a product on the market as soon as possible that would generate cash flow. This way the cars couldn’t be sold for a low price.
              Now to Turkey. It makes sense to suppose they are going to aim at much higher volume than Saab can make. So this will bring the cost down. Also, they are going to aim at high level of localization. Apart from that, since they intend to develop this platforms and not use it as a stop gap measure, they can invest in some re-engineering that would allow them to bring the cost further down. This will make the development cost higher but it would make sense in the long term if it makes their profit margin better.
              Shortly, this is the difference between the two cases.

              • That sounds reasonable. I don’t want to put words in Tim’s mouth or speak for him—-but I recall his comments being more about how the 9-3 was designed—that compared to newer cars, it was expensive to assemble. I didn’t think those comments were based on volume, but more specifically about the 9-3 itself being a costly platform that was antiquated—-and more expensive to produce because newer cars have the means to be put together faster and cheaper. Again, I don’t know the particulars, but I don’t think he was focused on labor cost or production numbers—-but the platform itself. As for NEVS building the 9-3—–low volume and high price for a 14 year old design was not a good idea. The only way that could have worked is high volume, slashing the price and getting people to buy based on getting a great deal—-a car selling for less than it did a few years ago—-not the newest design on the block but a solid car that is “now selling for a price you can afford!” I am convinced that in the U.S. at least, where NEVS had no interest in selling—-a new line of 9-3s with the same architecture but stripped down a bit to sell for less—-could have sold in reasonably good numbers. The advertising could have said “Now Playing: Your new Saab for $29,995.” The convertible would have been several thousand more perhaps and the wagon version would have a thousand or two higher—-but the point is that all of them would be not as feature laden—-but at newly affordable list prices. But again, Tim said it couldn’t be done because of the way the 9-3s were built—-no way to cut the margin because of “the complexity” in building them.

                • Well, the two things are connected. As far as I remember, the model is complicated to make because it has a lot of parts and probably this affects the building process, making it more complicated. Bigger volume is not going to make it easier to build, but can make every part cheaper, making the whole cheaper. Of course there are limitations volume can’t overcome.
                  As for NEVS, remember that the goal of the 9-3 was not to make it work. It was not there to reestablish the brand, to regain market share, to make profits. That would be a mission far too big for the shoulders of the 9-3. Again, the 9-3 was a stopgap measure.

  9. There’s been a lot said about this so called Phoenix platform but nothing has ever come from it. For all we know it could have amounted to not much at all, just a few drawings, mock ups and ideas.

    • I’ve always said the “Phoenix Platform” should really be called the “Phantom Platform”. It’s only semi-tangible existence is in the minds of the delusional…consider it vaporware to build the IP value of a drowning company.

      • So all the engineers who worked on it before the bankruptcy are delusional? They were obviously living under the impression they are developing a new 9-3 on it, but that was some common dream they were having, clearly. And the people from Leannova who openly declared they were working on the platform for Nevs (there were articles in Ttela), they are also delusional? Well, of course, they are pretty much the same engineers. And Frank Smit, who presented some of the features of the platform (another Ttela article), is also delusional? Of course, because he is working for Nevs and every one there is delusional.

        • Obviously they were going to develop new 9-3 on Phoenix platform but if they haven’t finished that job and Nevs owns partly done platform how can we expect Nevs is gonna succed? So far they miserably failed to deliver 4 cars for Turks – only 1 was in fully working condition. After 3 years of work. This is a joke and I hope they will never be allowed to use Saab name again.

          • We currently are discussing the actuality of the existence of the Phoenix platform and not what will happen with it in the future. NEVS will be able to develop cars if they employ enough engineers and have financial stability. So far none of these has been present for long enough. They might never be present, or might be. This is something future will tell. Not you and me here.

        • Avelik: People do work on vaporware. These solar companies in the U.S. burned through millions of dollars (seed money on the backs of taxpayers). They did hire people and people were working on development, design, prototypes, etc. But it never went anywhere and disappeared. Vaporware. Unless a car is actually built in mass production on Phoenix, it truly doesn’t exist in any real sense. It might exist on paper or even prototypes—–but until it’s actually being used for the purpose it was being developed for, there’s nothing there. And right now, with this gang running things, each day that goes by is another shred of evidence that there won’t be a car developed by NEVS, built by NEVS and brought to market—-certainly not a Saab. They’ve failed. Please, someone pull the plug on the Saab name and get it away from NEVS, as quickly as possible. Get if off the building, off their website, out of any discussions about the future. Saab and NEVS need to be separated pronto.

          • What you are saying makes no sense. It’s like saying a seed does not exist in a real sense until a tree grows from it. That’s nonsense. You can say the existence of a platform has no relation to your life until a car made on it reaches the market. But this has nothing to do with the real existence of a platform. The existence of the platform has REAL effect on many activities of the company, from business to product development, and the fact that you don’t care about these steps of the development, doesn’t make it not important. We are discussing if the platform Phoenix exists and if it has real influence on the fate the company. It does. You are telling me there might not be a car ever produced on the platform. Thank you for telling me that. Didn’t know that.
            I don’t see day after day an evidence that NEVS will never make a car. You obviously believe it. That’s fine. Continue believing it, if you want. But if you really believe SAAB is dead and is never coming back, then why don’t you just move on with your life? What’s the point of wasting your nerves?

            • Well it’s all speculation on my part and it’s somewhat enjoyable to share opinions among people who had an interest in the marque when the company was capable of achievement. It’s still current enough to wait for news that confirms what we believe. Just because you feel very confident of the outcome of an election, it doesn’t mean you stop talking about it and not vote. There’s still a process to watch and bantering about it is good fun. As for the platform—-I was speaking in theory. You’ve no doubt heard, if a tree falls in the woods and nobody is there to hear it—–did it make any noise? Conversely, if there’s talk about a platform existing, but nothing is ever done with it, is it really a platform? Maybe, but it’s a foolish exercise and has been a waste of money to this point. How many years have we been hearing about Phoenix? How much has been written about it? How many cars have been built on it? Yeah, exactly. Vaporware. At this point, there’s a better chance of Checker starting up production again than NEVS making a new Saab.

              • It has not been a meaningless exercise and waste of money. Imagine there is a 10 storey building being built and some people are waiting for it to be ready so that they can buy apartments in it. For them the only thing that matters is that the building is finally built. If only a 5 storey structure is built for them it is the same as no building at all. But does this mean a 5 storey structure is the same as an empty plot of land? No. Because a 5 storey structure is much closer to a finished building than an empty plot. For the final customers there is no practical difference, but for a construction company or an investor these are two completely different cases. For these companies the existence of the 5 storey structure actually changes what they can do, compared to just having an empty space. For them the construction of this structure wasn’t meaningless exercise and waste of money. And although the final customers don’t realize it, it wasn’t a meaningless exercise for them also, because a 5 storey structure can become an apartment building much easier than an empty space. It’s the same with the Phoenix. Yes, we have heard about the Phoenix for a long time, but in the same time we are painfully aware of all the reasons why there’s been no product produced on the platform earlier. But this doesn’t mean we should think all has been just words.

                • Well I hope you are right that in the end, Phoenix will be more than just words and sketches. Let’s agree though: When Phoenix was first announced, it was a platform that was going to spawn a new group of Saab models. The idea was new Saabs for the markets that were selling Saabs at that point in time. So if Phoenix is someday completed but the mission has changed so much—-the MAJORITY of the markets that the products were originally intended for don’t even have Saab dealerships anymore—-and countries that didn’t even have Saabs back then will be the buyers of these Phoenix based cars, what does that really mean? It means NOTHING to us. Your analogy is flawed somewhat too—-because if you really think about it, with that apartment building, anybody could drive by and see the progress once ground was broken on the project. It would be very easy to measure where the developer was in the process, how things were going. People could then make a decision if they should wait for the apartment to be completed—-if they should instead stay where they are by signing the lease for another year—-or if things looked close to completion, they could move into temporary month to month housing while waiting for final completion of their dream apartment on the 10th floor. I think the better analogy would be that a developer has announced that the 10 story building is coming—-and that the architect is working on the plans. And here’s the thing—-if people in the market kept hearing this same thing for 10 years, I think they’d finally start laughing and joking about how foolish the developer is—-how they can’t deliver on this building—-how long the “coming soon” sign has been up. It would be a big joke in that city.

                  • Every analogy is somewhat flawed, even the reflection in the mirror is not a perfect analogy, so to say. We are, as often happens, discussing different things. Originally, we were discussing if Phoenix is a real asset, because people were saying it has no meaningful existence. The Phoenix is a real asset and that was the point of my analogy – that you may not see the value, but it is there. But of course Phoenix is not an apartment building and you can’t see the progress. The company can’t present monthly progress reports, because the details of the platform are something only the company should know. What you are trying to tell me is that the Phoenix may not result in cars being produced or these cars may be totally disappointing for us. This is of course possible, but it is something completely different from the value of the Phoenix. These are two separate topics.

                    • Yes, that makes sense. The work that has done on Phoenix thus far is an asset. So you are correct—-it’s an asset that’s worth something. I think the “vaporware” is addressing what will be done with that asset, which most of us feel will be zero—-and those of us who do expect something to come from Phoenix must live with the realization that it’s highly unlikely that we will share in the opportunity of buying one of these vehicles—-as we’ve been cast aside in our markets. Therein lies the frustration.

  10. The news articles about the Turkish deal seem to be intertwining the 9-3 platform with references to Phoenix, or Phoenix 1, which is odd. Maybe they got a package deal, a license to build on the 9-3 architecture and also the rights to further develop a future model on the Phoenix platform. It’s hard to tell.

    But I think it is clear that NEVS has not divested itself of the actual rights to the 9-3 platform or Phoenix, and NEVS has stated that it retains the right to produce vehicles under those platforms in China and Sweden. What they have done (various nomenclatures aside) is to license rights to the Turks for their own market while retaining rights to other markets. But the Saab brand was not part of the deal because NEVS doesn’t itself have rights to the brand.

    A number have opined that they would prefer for someone other than NEVS to make Saabs. I just don’t see who that could be. The ideas floated (BMW, Apple, hell even Google) seem pretty far-fetched. If it is not NEVS or some permutation of it, then it will ultimately be nobody at all. I understand the desire for someone else to take up the Saab mantle, but I just don’t know who that would realistically be.

    If NEVS (nee Chinese) still want to leverage off of the Saab brand, even if they only intend to use it in the European market, then that is the best hope for something with a Saab nameplate. Again, there is no white knight that is going to ride in and save the day. It’s like your in-laws: you may not like them all that much, but they are the ones you are stuck with.

    Go Kansas City Royals!!

    • At this point, it really doesn’t matter if there’s no knight in shining armor to save Saab. I’ve seen enough of NEVS to know that and end to Saab cars is better than continuing the saga with them. That’s clear to me. They failed. You say you don’t know, realistically, who else could step in. Here’s the thing: NEVS isn’t real. This is a farce. If any of us ever believed in them to rally Saab back from the end of the Muller era, that’s all been put to rest. They aren’t capable of doing it and they won’t ever be. It’s easy to say, if it’s not NEVS, it won’t be anyone else. I will turn that around and say, If it’s not someone else, it’s no one. Because unless someone else does come in to build Saab cars, there won’t be any more of them. NEVS isn’t up to the challenge. It’s time we all face that. They can’t do it.

  11. Hey guys! We all want new SAAB´s for the moment there are no new ones to buy. The reson for this is of course multifaceted. We have no clue on what the Chinese new owners ambitions, plans etc. are. We are used to get things within a year or two we want instant gratification in a relentless struggle for the best product available. The Chinese business is partly based on the communist party doctrines with plans reaching over many years and the whole Chinese empire has been around for thousands of years in different shapes. We can only hope that CEO Mattias Bergman has gathered a group with people who knows the automotive business. Lets give NEVS a fair chance but in the car business one can not be 100% away for so many years without feeding fuel to the (eternal) flame. Looking in the mirror NEVS should have used the skilled people + KMX to make a limited production AERO-X type car at a SUPER-Premium cost to cover the development and everything. Just so that the market would have one halo-car. A car that would make car magazines and websites/youtube broadcasters to go bananas. Now it is a long grey boring waiting period for something that I guess will be mainstream and bland like most cars in the 30000-40000 dollar category.

    • Well, this sounds good on paper, but in reality they couldn’t have developed such car in a year or two. Besides, the business case for such model is quite questionable. For many brands developing such models has resulted in economic losses. It is a great image booster, no doubt. But having it as an only model wouldn’t be very reasonable. As for 30-40 000 cars being bland, yeah, every car would be bland compared to a supercar, but these are the car people drive and like. And they can be quite cool too.

  12. Dear CVK
    Please negotiate with Saab AB to have exclusive use of the Saab brand for car production. If you started producing low volumes of something like the Aero- X with one of two of your innovative technologies incorporated it would sell out even off plan for sure. This would be a total win-win-win. For you better economies of scale for new tech, a training ground for new engineers, further exposure of the Koenigsegg brand with very low risk. For Saab AB a prestigous association that would enhance the Saab brand rather than destroy it. You never know they might be keen enough to invest as might the Wallenburgs.
    For Saab lovers with a high income and those fed up with high end BMW and Mercs, this would be an absolutely compelling proposition. For us less well off Saabistas, well it would be great in the first instance to see the brand alive and producing briliant products, then the chance of at least obtaining an amazing car second user at some point, and lastly give us a faint hope of further expansion of the range to a slightly more affordable model at some stage.

    Go on you know it makes sense.

    • No. If an affordable and appealing Saab can’t be built, then let’s not bother. And honestly, the last thing anyone needs is a second hand overpriced car that will absolutely kill the family budget with niggling problems and outrageously expensive parts and service. Saab was born as an affordable car and it died as an overpriced and overcomplicated car.

    • It’s unreasonable to suppose SAAB AB is going to license the brand to an entity which does not own the Trollhättan facilities – that’s where the roots of SAAB car manufacturing are. SAAB AB is said to attach great importance to the swedishness of the Saab cars and only place that can realistically guarantee this is the facility in THT. Realistically, no entity, Swedish or foreign, will create new center for Saab operations, so the party who owns the facility is the only one that could claim rights to use the brand. Currently that’s Nevs, you can’t go around them.
      As for CvK, the prospects of him owning SAAB look cool but it is unlikely he has access to the financial resources needed. Back then when he was negotiating his plan heavily relied on the coming new products and on a serious loan from the European investment bank. The current situation of SAAB requires much more serious financing. Therefore he is not likely to engage in such endeavor.

      • I think it’s delusional for someone to believe SAAB AB will license the brand name. At this point (sadly) the brand value is so damaged, and the potential benefit so miniscule, to an on-going operation such as SAAB AB. I’m sorry guys, I just don’t see the risk/benefit ratio working.

        • Yes, the last 3 years have been pitiful. At least prior to that, it was a company making nice cars that got into financial trouble because the owner was a guppy in an ocean. They were too small and underfunded to compete and he was prevented from securing financing from Russia—-so it failed. After that, the brand was sold to a group that is embarrassing and in this case, no news has been horrible news. So Joe, it’s not only delusional for someone to believe that SAAB AB will license the brand name—-it’s also delusional, at this point, to believe that anyone who is capable would even want to license it. I hope I’m wrong and that someone who’s competent might actually want to try to bring SAAB back, but I just don’t see it. I see NEVS. I see disaster.

          • This is why the Saab name in automotive terms needs a halo product for any reboot to be successful. The last 10 years or so need to be buried by making them irrelevant because the new product is so good that it transends this debacle.
            Lets be clear even established players like Ford are facing a perilous future with the coming competetion from Apple, Google, et al. A new ‘low rent’ car developed by a small start up and marketed two or three years from now will be so far behind the curve it will even make a 9-3 in 2015 look like an advanced car. A paradigm change is happening and accelerating and however much I love my 9-5 planning a future on a low tech, low price (even worseICE powered) vehicle is simply planning for failure and bankruptcy.
            Firstly the brand needs rescuing from the mes it is in and certain obvilion with the development of a technically advanced and beautifully designed product that will sell out, volume not an issue just make it profitable even if its high cost. No more competing with manufacturers selling cans of beans at lowest common denomonator prices, their scale of operations means they will always win at that game. Its a pointless game to stick the Saab name on such a car.
            I hear what you say Angelo and agree with a lot of what you say generally but just look at cellphones and tablets, if your view on positioning was infallible then Apple would be dead instead of being the market leader wouldn’t they?
            CvK could pull this off for sure. The fact that he couldn’t raise or didn’t want to risk the funds to run a large factory and compete at volume levels is irrelevant.
            Once you have developed a brand with real value you then look at how you can leverage that to extend your product set, in this case towards more affordable product.
            How does the saying go? ‘How do you eat an elephant?’ Answer ‘one piece at a time’.
            Angelo your vision of starting with a low cost model would mean huge upfront investment, high overheads, low (to non existant margins) and taking on bigger more efficient and ruthless players who would squash such a business plan like the gnat it is.

            • Steve: It’s an interesting debate for sure. Here is the problem: There simply aren’t enough people who want a Saab halo product AND could afford it. You’re talking about such a small fraction of the car buying public, it wouldn’t even be a blip—-it would be nothing. The volume would be so low, the automotive press wouldn’t even cover it. It would be a curiosity—-mentioned in passing in a paragraph and then forgotten. There’s just no demand for an $80,000 Saab. There are too many other choices. I maintain that an $80,000 Saab wouldn’t get enough attention from rich people in the market for a supercar—-but a $30,000 Saab branded car would get plenty of attention from a LOT of people with lesser means, who would (at this point) vaguely remember Saab as being positioned beyond their reach, but now within it. This strategy would have worked a couple years ago, when the public was still familiar with Saab. By the time NEVS does anything, there will be a generation who has never heard of Saab, making the name largely irrelevant. Anyway, this entry level Saab wouldn’t be made in Sweden. It would be Indian, Chinese, Korean—-making volume at a lower price possible. Your halo model would still be built in Sweden. So sure, if the idea would be to lose money with this big, sleek Saab, loaded with technology—-just to get it back in the public eye—-then follow with my lower priced car wearing the same emblem—-that could work. That’s Tesla’s idea, although at this point, their “affordable” model is so far behind, it’s laughable. And they haven’t made profits yet either. They’re sucking at the government teet and losing money—-and we put up with that here, but I don’t think Sweden would. They haven’t previously at least not recently with Saab. You mention Apple—-they ARE a volume leader. They crank out their products by the millions, in China. If Saab can do that, more power to them. Look—-Mahindra/SSangyong already have models in production that can serve as the basis for the price leader car. If you haven’t looked at those vehicles, I urge you to have a look. Look at the technology they’re putting in—-realize that right now, the lowest priced KIA is leaps and bounds ahead of the 2014 NEVS 9-3 and selling for less than half the price of that car. I know how difficult it is to sell cars—-and how expensive it is. But something else is a reality—-it’s become really cheap recently to buy good technology and cheaper parts from suppliers. Compared to 40 years ago, in some ways, it’s actually easier to build a car with so many companies able to make the parts and pack the technology into the parts, as it’s already existing. These parts have become ubiquitous, not exclusive.

              • Good points Angelo.
                Especially the last bit about non leading edge tech being readily available.
                Mulling all of this over reinforces my view that the Saab automotive brand would need to be developed into something desirable first. As you say Apple manufacture in China but the IP, USPs, design and quality standards are the core of the brand’s desirability and market strength. Other lessons to learn from Apple are the public visibilty of Intelligent and communicative leadership in their commercial and engineering divisions.
                An example of where the halo effect has worked in spades is BMW. The M3 allows them to sell a ton of totally crap 1 series cars, badly packaged space-wise, dubious quality but hey people love to say they have a BMW! IMHO If BMW were rebooting today after a total loss of credibility (with no fawning car mag journalists proclaiming the Kings New Clothes) and tried leading the come back with the 1 series the Audi A3, Golf and V40 for instance would destroy their dream in no time.
                Anyway good debate Angelo 🙂

              • BTW To be honest I’m probably envisioning a $200k-$300k Saab in the very first instance rather than $80k. Something incredible and something that would actually make money on small small volumes. Something thats gorgeous but affordable to a certain type of buyer who would love to have even a small piece of Koenigsegg in the DNA of their car.but can’t afford $1m. Make it stunning, make it talked about, make everyone want a Saab in a way that would make a Beemer seem the most boring choice on earth when a Saab comes around thats in their price range.

                • “Other lessons to learn from Apple are the public visibilty of Intelligent and communicative leadership in their commercial and engineering divisions.” And basically, that’s the best argument I’ve ever heard for taking “Saab” away from NEVS right away. Get the name away from them. They didn’t know what to do with it and they’ve failed at building Saabs. End it for NEVS. As for your idea of a $300,000 Saab—-if it starts as that, it will probably stay there. I don’t think they’d ever come back with pedestrian sedans or hatchbacks after marketing a car that costs over a quarter million dollars. It almost wouldn’t be fair to those owners to then see the same brand on a $35,000 hot hatch. You mentioned BMW—-and they started with the 2002 in the U.S.—-not exactly an expensive supercar. It was a fun little sport sedan—-a polished German version of a Fiat 128, that was engineered to race. But it wasn’t extraordinarly expensive. Even the older 3 series Bimmers were affordable by luxury standards—-less than the average Cadillac or Lincoln. Priced more like a good Buick. They built their brand in the U.S. at least, on the 3 series. THEN they went up to the 5 and 7 and “M.” My vision for a Saab rebirth had them starting with a hatchback with some retro Saab design cues in and out—-almost like what Mini did. They could have done something really different, eye catching—-fun and affordable for many—-to set the tone for a dramatic return upmarket.

                  • You are so right Angelo, to succeed now a company now needs to build a community around their product, a community that just can’t wait for the next juicy live webinar and the chance to buy the next cool product. Thats one reason all automotive manufacturers need to up thier game if they are going to have a hope in hell of competing against Tech companies.
                    Have you seen the stuff Swade is doing over at Ksegg, great articles and insight into the company. Stuff about tech, products and people. However even that’s short of Apple’s methods at teh moment but the momentum is there and its good stuff.
                    I kind of see what you mean about owners of a ‘Super-Saab’ possibly not liking the release of a modest model but Audi R8 owners aren’t t put off by the existance of the A1 (basically a VW Polo/Skoda Fabia/Seat Ibiza!).
                    The key is that this affordable model, as you suggest, has to be different, a rule breaker, just as ‘I’ve gotta have it’ for us as the ‘Super-Saab’ would be for the rich folk. The sort of car that also catches the rich folk’s imagination too as well as ours, something they would want as a second car, the one to leave in car parks or for the commuter run.
                    The combo the of these two extremes really sounds like a plan to me. I am totally with everyone who says taking on BMW and Mercedes on the teritory they own is madness so thats why pitching above them with something in a different league altogether and then following up with something that looks wonderful, drives sublimely but is simple and affordable would create a new niche.
                    I know you sort of like Kias Angelo and thats what a new Saab shouldn’t never ever try to compete with ie delivering a lot of equipment for the money. Kia’s economies of scale would blow that out of the water. Just beat them on safety, looks, desireability and drivability.

                  • You are so right Angelo, to succeed now a company now needs to build a community around their product, a community that just can’t wait for the next juicy live webinar and the chance to buy the next cool product. That’s one reason all automotive manufacturers need to up thier game if they are going to have a hope in hell of competing against Tech companies.
                    Have you seen the stuff Swade is doing over at Ksegg, great articles and insight into the company. Stuff about tech, products and people. However even that’s short of Apple’s methods at the moment but the momentum is there and its good stuff.
                    I kind of see what you mean about owners of a ‘Super-Saab’ possibly not liking the release of a modest model but Audi R8 owners aren’t put off by the existance of the A1 (basically a VW Polo/Skoda Fabia/Seat Ibiza!).
                    The key is that this affordable model that you advocate has to be really different, a rule breaker, just as ‘I’ve gotta have it’ for us as the ‘Super-Saab’ would be for the rich folk. The sort of car that also catches the rich folk’s imagination too as well as ours, something they would want as a second car, the one to leave in car parks or for the commuter run.
                    The combo the of these two extremes really sounds like a plan to me. I am totally with everyone who says taking on BMW and Mercedes on the teritory they own is madness so thats why pitching above them with something in a different league altogether and then following up with something that looks wonderful, drives sublimely but is simple and affordable would create a new niche.
                    I know you sort of like Kias Angelo and thats exactly what a new Saab shouldn’t never ever try to compete with ie delivering a lot of equipment for the money. Kia’s economies of scale would blow that out of the water. Just beat them on safety, looks, desireability and drivability. When I drive my 2005 9-5 I just love it to pieces and dont miss any of the electronic gizmos of later cars one little bit. Why? Because its just a better car in so many ways that are important to me and its a left field choice with personality.

                    • Yep, I agree with you. The starter Saab I envision would not compete with KIA in any way at all. This car wouldn’t be about offering the most content at a value price. It would be about offering the most SAAB at a value price. What do I mean? I mean it would be a rounded hatchback—-with some DNA in the design from the 1960s era Saabs—rounded, aerodynamic, bigger on the inside than on the outside. That’s design and engineering—-it isn’t content. It would be class leading in terms of safety, with a nice balance of active safety and passive safety and a solid safety cage built in. It wouldn’t be fancy in terms of things like the wheels—certainly not on the base version. Very plain, not low profile tires and a fortune spent on designer alloy wheels. Inside, the base version would have textile seating with manual adjustment. It would have a big speedometer, similar to the Mini and very plain and sparse instrumentation, like the old Saabs. You’d get heating and air conditioning of course, power windows—-a sunroof available as a stand alone option—-but the car wouldn’t have things like memory seat motors, defrosting mirrors, refrigeration in the glovebox, etc. It would be very simple, with what most people need and nothing more. I’d have the bare minimum of technology gadgets—-I guess Blue Tooth so a phone could work with the stereo, but not a lot more. There could be a “technology package” for those so inclined. But the car I’m envisioning, even with the Saab safety packed into it, could easily sell for under $30,000, even with options. If this car were the entry level Saab built in India or China or Korea, etc.—-it could likely start in the low to mid 20s. Then the Swedish factory would be building the Saabs that cost twice as much and more.

    • In fact, it was a colossal failure the last decade or so, pitiful. I know some people loved those cars and badly wanted to see Saab go head to head with the big boys in the marketplace. They couldn’t do it. They can’t do it. They lost an opportunity to move down to VW/Mazda territory, a fraction higher actually, and try to carve out that niche. The idea of playing in the league with Audi and BMW, Mercedes and Lexus—-is laughable for Saab.

  13. I don’t know how to open new article on Saabsunited so I’m adding it here:

    • A quote from the article you linked to: “Nevs we now make a restart and will enter a really exciting phase where we put up the plans for how we, with our products and our solutions, will implement our vision to create mobility for a more sustainable future”
      I was laughing so hard, coffee was coming out of my nose and dripping all over my desk and keyboard. These are just a lot of words that sound good together—-and the tired cliché of “a more sustainable future” had to be thrown in too. Lots of laughs. Creating mobility leads to a more sustainable future I guess. Okay. Their products and their solutions? What products?

      • Hey Angelo, did you notice in the video when Mattias was asked about the 9-3 ip rights, he mentioned the name of the Turkish government but when he was asked about the company, he just mentioned new owners without giving their names. I don’t think he is proud of the new owners ( I am not proud either)……..

          • Yup, pride is defiantly lacking in this crowd. My father told my this saying “You become who you associate your self with”. Its definitely true. Saab associated with GM, they made Saab’s with interiors with a lot of plastic and with a lot of GM parts. Now they associated with NEVS and they became
            NEVS. I’m not expecting a bright future(or any) for Saab. And to tell you the truth,I would never buy a Saab made in China. I just don’t trust NEVS and China combined. They need to be made in Sweden. Not China.

            • I think there would always need to be at least one flagship model made in Sweden if a real company owned Saab. Other models might be made in lower cost factories in developing economies—-but a company with good intentions would keep the identity with Sweden and continue to build some of the line there. But NEVS? God only knows what their plans are, if they have plans. I’ve become convinced NEVS isn’t about having a plan, but just muddling along and improvising, letting the tail wag the dog. It’s been quite a spectacle to watch them get stuck in quicksand.

              • Agreed. What’s the worst that can happen with NEVS. Maybe they sell all thier IP (get some quick cash) move everything to china, start making cars with the IP they sold and uses different name? Who knows what’s next with NEVS. I wonder why the court chose NEVS as the buyer of Saab and not Mahindra, Young man, BMW….. Why? Did KJJ/ NEVSpay their way through to become the preferred buyer? Who knows why NEVS bought Saab and what they are planning to do next.

                • The receivers did not “choose” NEVS among Mahindra, BMW, Youngman etc, they sold the assets to the party who placed a bid and had the money to cover this bid. The only two parties who placed bids were Nevs and Youngman but Youngman couldn’t prove they had the money. All the theories that the bidding process was manipulated so that all the other parties could be left behind and NEVS could become the only bidder were proven to be wrong with articles on this very blog. (Apart from being obviously absurd, because Nevs weren’t the only bidder.)

                  • You’ll agree though, that the fact that there’s no hard evidence doesn’t mean that it didn’t happen—-it only means we can’t prove it. I’ve seen this sort of thing happen over and over. All things aren’t what they appear. Accepting things at face value is foolish sometimes—-and my belief is that THIS is one of these times. This company NEVS is a joke—-we all know that. We know that at the very least, Mahindra and Youngman were interested. We also know that the terms and conditions did change at some point in the process—-and miraculously, NEVS was in position to still submit an offer complying with the revised conditions while the others weren’t able to react quickly enough. And Youngman not having “proof” that they had funding is dubious too. It just seems as though the red carpet (no pun intended) was rolled out for NEVS. I think a huge part of that might have been their promise of being green, specializing in electric cars, etc. We don’t know any of that for a fact—-it’s me speculating. What we do know is that they are so far in over their heads, it’s like standing at the bottom of the ocean. There were utterly incapable of executing their original plan—-they failed. That, we do know.

                    • If you want to speculate base yourself on facts. Your current speculation has nothing to do with the facts. Conditions changed and no one but Nevs could react? Not true. This has been proven to be not true over and over again. All the interested parties were invited back to the negotiations and they went back to negotiate. These things are documented. Find and read that article of Tim’s again if you don’t remember. Youngman actually made a bid. I call this reaction. You say only Nevs could react under the new conditions, but Youngman made a bid, a fact everyone is aware of. And Youngman couldn’t prove they had the money, because they needed approval from the authorities in China to use this money and they may had not received this approval. Nothing ‘stinky’ there, if you know the facts. So if you look at the facts it does not seem as though the red carpet was rolled out for Nevs. None of the points you base your so called speculations on is actually true, more than that – they are wrong, opposite to the facts. So it is a mystery to me why you continue to repeat these things when you know they are not true.

                    • False. There’s no doubt in my mind that NEVS could have been spoon fed information all along by someone on the inside, telling them what to prepare for and what might be changing, so that when “invitation to bid, new terms and conditions” was put out on the street, with a tight deadline to respond, they already had their response prepared and the others were left scrambling and walking away. Youngman? They weren’t chosen. Maybe they threw something together quickly and got it in by the deadline but it could be justified that it wasn’t as complete as what NEVS submitted. And maybe if Youngman had been given more time, THEIR financing would have been approved. And as history shows, NEVS ended on their back, belly up, because a major part of their “financing” wasn’t secured and legally binding—-they were played like fools, told to build a gas engine 9-3, which they dutifully did—-a couple hundred units. Then the funding was withdrawn anyway, leaving them looking like idiots with their pockets turned inside out, begging for another chance and asking to reorganize. Failures. Like I said, FAILURES. Am I wrong? Prove it. How can you point to their success? What success?

                    • I see that every time you have nothing to say on a certain topic you steer to the ‘Nevs is incompetent’ theme, you feel confident there and think that by running into that no one will refute you on the first topic. Let’s stay on the original topic. Again, go and read that article. All the parties were there negotiating, presenting plans, high ranked representatives participated in meetings. They did not throw something together quickly. Nothing suggests that. The change in the conditions wasn’t a problem, it was made exactly to make it attractive to the bidders because no one wanted to buy before that. If you have seriously participated in negotiations to buy certain assets, the exclusion of a part of these assets you don’t want should not be an obstacle to your further negotiating. Quite the opposite. The problem with the Qingdao funding has nothing to do with the bidding process, so no need to put it there. You are going well out of your way to create a story where Nevs cheated, but it is all pure conjecture, could have, might be. No fact even remotely suggests this possibility. If we strip your thesis from all conjecture and mispresented facts, we end up with “NEVS cheated because they are ‘green’ and I think they are incompetent”. To make it more concise – “NEVS cheated because I don’t like them”. This is all you say. In the real world this is not enough to even establish a topic.

                      And so that you don’t say I ignored the discussion about Nevs’ failures and successes I will tell you that they failed in many things, no doubt in that, but the fact that they still exist is a success in its own way. Many in their place wouldn’t be here now. We will see what will happen from now on. You believe they won’t accomplish anything. You believe they can’t. I disagree, although I am not a happy optimist about their chances. But I won’t go into such discussions because we would be discussing beliefs and, in this particular situation, I see no point in such discussions. So I will let the future tell.

                    • What I’m illustrating is that it’s so obvious they were a poor choice, it leaves the door open to speculate that there was a lot more to the selection process than meets the eye.

                    • You don’t illustrate anything because there is no correlation between them supposedly being a poor choice and problems with the bidding process. The bidding was not a competition to determine who is the most capable company. Its sole purpose was to find a party that was willing to and could buy the assets. The fact that things didn’t go according to plans is completely different thing. By the way, Youngman has had some serious difficulties recently, difficulties that would have impact on Saab if Youngman had become the owner. Does this mean that Youngman was a poor choice too? The receivers were not fortune tellers. Their job was not to find a party able to guarantee inevitable success to SAAB (this is impossible). They worked with what they had. So don’t try to show a connection where there is no connection.

  14. While we may never know the exact maneuverings that involved the bidding parties, the whole process is pretty troubling. GM won’t approve the original sale that involves any Chinese partners because they don’t want them to get their hands on the tech–look how ironic that is now! Then NEVS comes along with Chinese backers and wins the bid, only to have a major source of funding pull out and sink it into bankruptcy. One of the remaining investors then ponies-up the money to pay creditors to facilitate reemergence from bankruptcy and then secure even more investment by Chinese firms. What a mess. Then NEVS appears to loose the rights to build vehicles using the Saab brand name, which is the preeminent thing of value that it has (yes, the plant and IP as well, but those are just nondescript assets without the brand).

    There is a glimmer of hope in what Volvo is now–Yes I know there are a ton of differences, large and small. But I think that is what we can at least hope for. I really think it all hinges on whether NEVS retains the Saab brand. If it does, then there is some hope. If next year comes and it doesn’t have the rights, then it’s over.

    • Paul: I see it differently. If NEVS retains the Saab brand, I don’t think there’s any hope at all for Saab cars. The best thing that can happen at this point is for Saab AB to pull the plug on this and maybe years from now, get back in the car business or license the name to someone who’s capable of doing something reasonable with the name—-and that’s not NEVS by any stretch of the imagination. Saab wasn’t reborn when NEVS took over—-that’s when Saab was finally killed off.

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