NEVS’ chairman Jiang Dalong spoke to Reuters about the deal with Panda and the future of electric vehicles. While I want to take out a few interesting excerpts you can read the full article here.
“China is going to be the world’s biggest market for electric cars,” Jiang said in an interview in his office in Beijing. “China has no choice. They have to wean themselves from conventional gasoline combustion cars,” he added, describing the recent sharp uptick in air pollution levels in China’s capital as “terrible” and “crazy”.
“Big existing automakers are too big. They cannot stop producing conventional gasoline combustion cars. But we can … switch to new energy cars.”
In general I have to agree with him here. For China it’s of course the issue of air pollution but also, according to some calculations that I read a while ago, if China would reach a car per people ratio that is close to for example Europe, they would need the entire world production of gasoline and diesel to run those cars. So currently the way the Chinese government wants to take is electromobility and it can’t be a fault to be part of it.
The biggest question mark is Chinese economy which seems to be in some difficult times the moment. But given the long term of this investment I would not judge it just from today. China may not grow at a rate like they did in the last decade but they will get back to a path that is solid.
Then it’s about the Panda deal and its financing:
Panda New Energy, which is funded by a Beijing investment fund called Hasun Asset, won’t have to pony up the whole US$12 billion for the cars, according to Jiang and Panda’s Sun Wei.
The two executives said Panda New Energy will pay NEVS for the cars from a four-to-five-year stream of revenue it expects from leasing those 250,000 EVs. All Panda New Energy will have to come up with is a deposit as little as 10 percent, Jiang said.
Panda New Energy initially expects to receive an all-electric minibus that seats 38 passengers and an electric commercial van. Jiang said production of the minibus and the MPV cars are due to start gradually in 2016 at the Tianjin factory, which he said is already half-completed.
Over the next four to five years, Panda New Energy will buy 50,000 minibuses and 50,000 courier vans, Jiang said. Sun said courier service companies in China ,such as one run by 58.com, will use the commercial vans.
The rest of the deal – 150,000 vehicles – are all EVs based on the Saab 9-3, a sedan. Panda New Energy plans to lease them to taxi-like chauffeur service companies.
So there we have at least a little more info on who stands behind Panda New Energy. And, even more interesting, we get to know that the deal is not only about the 150 9-3 EVs but also about other vehicles that most likely won’t be based on a Saab. While we most likely don’t want to drive them this means business that in the end can generate revenue for the plans that NEVS have for their own car lineup.
Altogether this is not a major boost in information but still at least a bit more insight into the deal.
68 thoughts on “Jiang Dalong On The Panda Deal”
So I’m guessing there’s no rights to the SAAB brand then?
Aaron, there was an intervju by a Swedish Radio reporter about a week ago, where Jiang- for the first time – admitted that they can/will not use the SAAB brand. The intervju was also in the P4 Väst homepage. They are now developing a new brand.
I have seen it coming for more than two years -the Wallenberg family will not allow any more SAAB:s.
I like the “Koenigsaab” suggested by John in the Freevalve article. Probably couldn’t get away with that though.
The article also said Jiang sold his bio-power generation business. Is this now his sole venture?
“SAAB” is still on NEVS’ website. Seems like that would not be tolerated if your statement is correct?
It’s disturbing, isn’t it? The carpetbaggers need to be shut down. Get anything “Saab” away from them. Cease and desist. I don’t want these pretenders to have the Saab name on their website, or on the building they were gifted—-someone needs to go in there and take away anything with Saab on it—-coffee mugs, pens, all of it. Make it crystal clear that they only thing they have that WAS Saab is some real estate and old tooling. None of it is Saab anymore. The Saab name can rest in peace or maybe, with the proverbial “fingers crossed” it can someday be licensed to a company that isn’t incompetent.
The entire situation was forced by Sweden’s ultra leftist politics of the time in history. A stronger central government with (at least some) nationalistic sentiments might have saved SAAB. Of course these nationalistic views are growing stronger throughout Europe at the moment. It is a shame that NEVS gets to occupy the wonderful facility in Trollhatten.
Pattie: Agree with all of that. And “It’s a shame” is a bit of an understatement. I would tell you how I would phrase it—-but it’s possible children visit this site, so I’ll just leave it at that.
Angelo, I also have to agree with you.
When I first saw those pictures from Reuters, only Whisky Tango Foxtrot came to my mind.
I hope such abominations like this “cheapest & ugliest fake grill ever” is only for China under a non-SAAB brand, or as other Chinese have done before (See BAIC) this is just to show a car but has nothing to do with any product they will ever have for sale.
My guess (and hope) is this grill will be used only on test vehicles.
Nevs and KJJ in particular have been talking about developing another brand since the exit from reorganization. In the same time they have continued showing interest in the SAAB brand. So KJJ talking about a new brand is not necessary something to be seen as news. In a recent article Teknikens värld said that according their sources the brand issue is still open for discussion. Of course, how accurate this information is is everyone’s guess. Now people will wonder why would they need another brand if they had access to the SAAB branding rights. A possible answer is to be found in the Chinese regulations according which to get a license for producing electric vehicles you need to, among other things, own a brand name. Now, I am not sure how the respective authorities interpret these regulations and if licensing a brand from another organization would be sufficient, but there is possibility that they actually need a full ownership over a brand, something they can’t have with SAAB. So it is possible they develop the new brand because they know they’re not getting SAAB, or because they want to have a plan B in case their discussions with SAAB AB are unproductive, or because they need both. I think currently all of these possibilities are valid.
Yet in the Spring of 2012, when the fiasco kicked off, I read right on these pages how important it was for them to have the Saab name—-how the image of Saab’s European luxury roots was such an important part of their plan in breaking into the Chinese market.
Who said it isn’t now?
What he said in that interview, and have said earlier the last year, is that they will have a chinese brand. There is still talks about using Saab in other markets.
“Big existing automakers are too big. They cannot stop producing conventional gasoline combustion cars. But we can … switch to new energy cars.” This is preposterous. Of course, what else can we expect when someone from NEVS opens their mouth? It’s nonsense. And I don’t care how loyal anyone here is to NEVS or how badly they want to see this mess succeed—-the fact of the matter is that it’s ridiculous to assert that a tiny sliver of nothing that hasn’t accomplished a single meaningful task yet in the automotive world, is better prepared to meet these claimed new market conditions in China, or anywhere else. I question whether China is going to somehow crack down on vehicles that run on conventional fuels. But even if they succeed in that (The timing right now seems dubious at best), BIG companies will be in the best position to reap the benefits of the changeover to EVs. Big, profitable companies that are already selling vehicles in China and making profits, have the money to invest and their systems and procedures already in place. They likely already have some EV vehicles on the drawing board if not in production. A head start, money and brains gives them an advantage the way I see it. Being completely unaccomplished and also small—-seems to be the worst of both worlds. Good grief.
‘Too big to fail’, eh? 🙂
IBM springs to mind. In the 80s they became synonymous with the Personal Computer, but by the very next decade were becoming quite irrelevant. PS/2 failed and they were left with laptops. And eventually the ThinkPad brand was sold off and became Lenovo.
AFAICT Lenovo are relatively successful at the moment, but I doubt it is the first brand that springs to mind if you ask the average punter what laptop they’re going to buy next. (My wife has a Lenovo and loves it. Nothing wrong with Lenovo, it just isn’t quite as popular/recognized as IBM was back in the 80s)
Would it not be fair to say that a big company has more to lose by bringing about change? (thus making themselves vulnerable to hungry and agile upstarts that has nothing to lose?)
If you ask any Norwegian what brand they associate with EVs, it is going to be a Californian upstart that has never dabbled with ICs (and have received more than their fair share of government subsidies).
But… We are discussing semantics. My chief objection remains the old “what will happen if China sees the same saturation of cars as Europe (or the USA)?” chestnut. Well…. Before they can get to that point, they’d have to invest in a lot more roads and parking facilities. I fail to see how the choice of EV or IC have any practical impact whatsoever. There is no pollution with a modern IC vehicle, but China’s coal plants OTOH do not seem to be very clean (hopefully the new and future plants have filtering systems implemented?).
The price of oil is currently below US$ 35 per barrel, a third of what it used to be two years ago. The supply has never been this good and at this rate my country won’t even bother with new oil fields (too expensive!) that were still on the drawing board as late as last year.
Then again, China has an abundance of coal to burn, so that probably sets the tone for what type of technology they prefer. But if this is a significant factor, why can’t NEVS simply say that?
“My chief objection remains the old “what will happen if China sees the same saturation of cars as Europe (or the USA)?” chestnut. Well…. Before they can get to that point, they’d have to invest in a lot more roads and parking facilities.”
When people hear this sentence about cars saturation they imagine those traffic jam pictures from Beijing or Shanghai and think “these cities can’t accommodate anymore cars” . And it’s true, there is not much place for new cars in those cities. The thing is, China is not its top 10 cities. There are around 50 cities in China with a population of more than 1 million and the number of these cities and their populations is only going to grow because the urban population of China is growing quite fast. All those cities will experience what big Chinese cities have been experiencing, of course on a different scale, but the process will be similar – people will be buying cars for the first time, others will change their cheap cars to more expensive and so on. The car market in China is not saturated yet. I don’t know what China’s current cars/people ratio is and how much it is expected to grow, but this talk about car saturation isn’t entirely a hypothetical blah-blah.
Besides, it’s not only a question about will there be enough petrol for the Chinese to run their cars. It is also a question of whether they want to consume this much petrol. Oil is cheap now, but the thing about oil is that it is expensive today, cheap tomorrow and again expensive the day after, figuratively speaking. This is something Mattias Bergman has talked about in one of his presentations – it is also a matter of national security for China not to be that dependable on oil consumption. That’s something people have mostly overlooked as a reason to push for energy diversification, but it’s among the most important reasons from the standpoint of a state not controlling large oil reserves .
The “Big existing automakers are too big” comment is nonsense as NEVS went bankrupt trying to build a few dozen cars with traditional ICE engines. If they produce 1 electric car that someone could buy (or lease) that would be a 100% improvement over their current production of ZERO cars. Say what you want about any big existing Japanese, European or North American automaker you want but the truth is they are lightyears ahead of NEVS in bringing a non traditional powered modern cars to market.
Angelo, though I likely will not agree with you on climate change, I do agree with your assessment about this recent announcement. I, too, was amazed at the statement that large automakers are unable to make EVs. Not only does that not make sense from a resource/capability perspective, it is not even an actual fact, as several large automakers have EVs right now. One could argue that the larger makers will take too much time to move in the
EV direction in the big way needed for China, but that is a totally different issue, and that is debatable.
This really moves this whole endeavor further away from anything really having to do with the Saab that we knew and loved. I don’t see how this could result in a Saab product that we would want to buy (who wants an old, electric 9-3?) being offered in Europe, let alone the US, anytime in the near future. It just doesn’t seem to even be on their radar. This is about developing capabilities to serve the Chinese market. The article even said that NEVS is not subject to the Chinese rule requiring a foreign automaker to have a Chinese partner because it intends to make EV vehicles only for sale in China. That statement merits careful attention from all of us.
I suppose that NEVS could also make internal combustion models for sale elsewhere, but I am not sure I see the lure of that given they will likely have their hands full meeting Chinese demand. Again, I just don’t see this as moving in the right direction for those of us who would want to purchase a new, real Saab at some point. I think the fat lady has sung.
A few things. NEVS is not required to have a local partner not because they intend to make cars only for China, but because they want to make only EVs. The article does not state it clearly. The license for EV producers are different from those for ordinary car makers. If a foreign car maker wants to make cars in China they need to establish a JV with a local car maker. That’s the regulation. The regulation for EV producers are different. They focus on the technology and so on. The goal is to open the market up.
Nevs don’t say big companies can’t produce EVs, but that they don’t need to focus on them. And that’s true.
Avelik: If I read the comment correctly, part of it was that big companies can’t stop producing internal combustion engined cars. Sure they could, if the market requires it or if the market demands it. I’m a big believer in letting the market demand it instead of the government require it (which ends up picking winners and losers—a corrupt way for government to operate). But either way, if suddenly there is a need for GM in China to crank out hundreds of thousands of Volts, at the expense of gas engined cars, GM could manage that. If a need becomes electric delivery trucks and electric taxi cabs, big, established car companies already selling vehicles in China have the clout to get off the mark fast in filling these needs—-and bringing cars and trucks to market—-much more effectively than NEVS can dream of. Companies like General Motors and Toyota spend more money developing one new model than NEVS is worth. They can buy and sell NEVS for fun, over a poker game at a corporate meeting. This is the Major League, not some sandlot nonsense. While NEVS has been dilly-dallying around, going on 4 years now, look at how much has been accomplished in the car world. New models, new engines, Toyota dabbling in fuel cells and bringing something to market, 2015 a record setting sales year—-profits fat and juicy, corporations positioning themselves for the next decade that’s a few years away—Tesla announcing that the $35,000 EV will be unveiled in March with pre-orders to follow, deliveries and sales in 2017. The world has continued to turn while NEVS has seemingly been sitting on their hands. This business is for serious people, not dreamers.
Of course big companies can switch to making electric cars. The thing is that big companies are huge organizations built around producing conventional cars and making a change in this structure requires big efforts, but in the same time everything those companies do is done this way because of their scale. In the end of the day, such statements should be read as “We are very focused on what we do” , nothing more.
The fat lady sung in December 2011. This while NEVS thing was a farce from day one.
yep. See my comment to Avelik above. This is sad. It’s the worst time since Saab was founded—-to be a fan of Saab cars. It’s become hopeless with this owner. And this is honestly the first owner of Saab we can say that about. It’s hopeless. Nowhere else to go. It feels as though Saab was sold out by a few people in Sweden who have now washed their hands of it, while NEVS has run things into the ground for 4 years. They’ve done it in a pathetic way too—-no emotion, nothing. At least Vic Muller gave it his best shot and built some sweet cars. He had real dreams and tried to follow a real plan to make his dreams, and in turn ours, come true. It didn’t work out, but it was nothing like this.
I know that we Saab faithful have tried to be optimistic, but it is really getting hard to stay that way. As some have pointed out, NEVS is really a Chinese company and its only ties to Saab are rights to what is really an old Saab design (the 9-3) and some extremely tenuous (at best) ties to the Saab brand. I still hope that somehow out of this they find a way to build what we would/could call a Saab, but it is a hell of a long way from where things are now, or are headed,to a Saab being sold in Europe or America. By the time the get to that point, they will have to practically start over with the brand.
In the article, they indicated that the 9-3-based sedans will be
“assembled” in the Tianjin plant. I don’t see where Trollhattan fits in? Maybe they plan to stamp panels and then ship the parts for assembly, but that seems an expensive option. Anyone know?
They are going to build the car bodies in Trollhättan and move them to Tianjin for assembly. I don’t know how expensive this will be.
There is a thing people overlook when thinking about the relation between Saab and Nevs and it is that what connects the two is not only the factory and the platforms, but more importantly the people who work there, who are predominantly people with SAAB background. After all, it’s the people who make the company.
yes avelik they are the close combat people but they worked before for Gm are you afraid for the cup of tea in the afternoon and your predominantly attitude will not be accepted Landrover has three shifts a day.
I’m not convinced that the Saab name is dead. I still believe the Swedish people and the Swedish Government will keep saab alive anyway they can. Somehow they will find a way to use it again whether it be with this company NEVS or with someone else.
Swedish people and Swedish Government does not give a shit – however SAAB fans and the Wallenberg family do. Fans want SAAB – if “good”, but W does not, because they think it is sacred and a threat to their weapons industry if misused. W will prevaile.
It’s too late for the Swedish people and government to keep Saab alive. Sadly, that ship has sailed.
As angelo said that real saab ship has never sailed out of sweden.My saabs came by ship to antwerp port .Genuine saabs built by saab. SURE it was not nice to see opel parts in the car. But the fuck it has a saab badge. I still feel sad that saab have giving away all their diamonds and base structure. Landrover and volvo did not.Tell me if Iam wrong. As ABBA sung the winners take it all and the losers as to fall.The children at that time believed they came from PLUTO. Money still makes the world go round.
“Panda New Energy, which is funded by a Beijing investment fund called Hasun Asset, won’t have to pony up the whole US$12 billion for the cars, according to Jiang and Panda’s Sun Wei. The two executives said Panda New Energy will pay NEVS for the cars from a four-to-five-year stream of revenue it expects from leasing those 250,000 EVs. All Panda New Energy will have to come up with is a deposit as little as 10 percent, Jiang said.”
“Panda said it plans to lease the cars for commercial fleets, such as taxis and courier services.”
PLANS to lease for commercial fleets? Revenue it EXPECTS?
Meaning what? No actual clients and deals yet? Not even with the public sector? Really? Can’t be, there must be a man behing the curtain. If there isn’t, good luck with selling the limited legroom in the back of that old 9-3 to commercial taxis and courier services. There is a reason why big players release an extended wheelbase variant on many of their models upon entering the Chinese market.
I wouldn’t see a particular choice of words of the author as an indication if Panda have deals or not, especially when this choice of words isn’t anything out of the ordinary. I may say “I plan to go on vacation to Italy this summer” having booked a hotel, bought airplane tickets and made other preparations. I could say “I’m going on a vacation” instead of “I plan”, but it doesn’t actually matter. And the revenue is expected because it’s from activities to happen in the coming 5 years, it would be strange to say anything else but ‘expected’.
Planning a holiday and planning a car factory to make 150 000 vehicles… comes down to how well the plans are made. Have Panda secured deals yet? What are the risks involved here? Nevs had a hard time selling a couple of hundred 9-3s in Sweden. If they actually have to sell their EVs on a free market, they have to convince their clients. Awful lot of work ahead for Panda, unless they are connected behind the scenes.
This is business, there’s always risk. We here don’t know if Panda already have secured deals or not, but I don’t think they’ve disided to make a company because leasing cars seemed cool to them. The company behind Panda seems to be a solid one and my guess is that they wouldn’t go into this thing without any guarantee they would have clients.
I should think so. It would sound better if they already were able to claim that so-and-so has signed a deal or a Victoresue MOA to lease the cars. After all, 11 billion US$ are riding on such a party emerging before long.
Have you been in China? Have you travelled in taxis in China? If you have I do not think you would have written this. Legroom is not a problem.
It is if you intend to hit the luxury sedan market, which Nevs claimed in the first place. Nevertheless, 9-3 is a small car on the inside, especially when compared to the A4s and 3-series of today, let alone their extended wheelbase versions. As a local brand, and not as a Saab, maybe the idea isn’t to make an impact in the business segment anymore, but provide a cramped cab experience for everyman.
I’ve been in a lot of taxis in China and the leg room in them has been more than what the 9-3 has. I thought about this too as the 9-3 is quite a small car.
Here’s the thing guys, NEVS doesn’t give a shit about Saab fans. They can care less about us. They only care about what the Chinese government says. NEVS is not a private company, it’s a state owned company . So hold on to your Saab’s for as long as you can since you’re not going to see another one in a very long time.
RIght NIcolas be careful they are interested in your present saab. In my living area all milkpowder is sold up by the chinese because of their own milkpowder infection crisis.
My Mom said: “Never trust a person who has different names , depending on what country he is supposedly doing business in”
(and you know what they say about Moms: They are always right!)
It is a common practice for Chinese people doing something (not only business) in the West to choose a local name to make the communication easier, exactly the way foreigners in China often have Chinese names.
Aveilk. And these foreigners speak chinese too beside their chinese names? As a world wide traveller i can tell you this:If you step out of a train in a foreign country without speaking the language on the ground you are in the dark. Like the swedes and germans. I have adopted a bulgarian boy out of the shit and he learned our small dutch language very vast among english coming from cyrillic alphabet. just amazing . Now he is excursion manager on a cruise ship and i have to look to the ports and beaches he visits .
Yes, they do. This concerns people who live in China or whose lives are in some way connected to China. Best wishes to you and your family.
NEVS car without Saab logo would be a huge disappointment for me.
The german Saabblog sounds more optimistic and seems to side with Avelik – there has not been any decision on this matter on that! Tom from saablog follows a much more NEVS-critic stance than SU does but in recent weeks he sounds quite optimistic towards the owners of Saab heritage.
NEVS will sell all these MPV and buses to Chinese authorities under a hopefully different (sdic!) brand name and will try to acquire the Saab name rights for the 2018 passenger car models onwards.
Honestly I do not understand Saab AB’s division in this context. Don’t they want a strong, thriving automotive Saab brand? Do they favour electric minibuses aimed at the Chinese market? Even if NEVS does not own the brand rights they will still occupy the facilities in THN and will directly be associated with Saab in the future. The only way for Saab AB to get out of this dilemma to either kick NEVS out of the Stallbacka (not possible) or somehow support them.
Why does my text always disappaer while typing???????????????????
FW aka GMVMNEVSififif
“Don’t they want a strong, thriving automotive Saab brand?” Answer: Yes, they do. That’s why they cannot let NEVS have use of the name. NEVS will further bury the name and they simply can’t take that risk. Better to not have an automotive brand associated with the name Saab, then to have this group running it—-people who have had 4 years to do something positive and have failed to the point of travesty.
again: as there is no BMW or VW around to aquire the remains of Saab we have to live with NEVS, an underfunded (compared to huge OEM) company backed by the Chinese govt, with poor customer communication skills and trying the best it can to bring Saab back to life. That’s NEVS.
Believe: I would have loved if someone more competent and bigger would have taken over but this ship has sailed. And if NEVS will bury the name anyway there is no real sense in discussing all this whether NEVS will not use the Saab name or it will be abolished soon after.
By the way, since you do not seem to love NEVS too much, what do you think about GM’s role in bringing Saab down to its knees? GM was this huge conglomerate with loads of money and knowhow but the failed. Imo gets much more blame on this dilemma than NEVS does.
sry, forgot my sig 😉
FW aka GMVMNEVSififif
GM was the savior of SAAB; delayed its inevitable demise.
yes Joe In some way the marriage failed . But live goes on with or with
out saab. lets people give a change(john lennon)
I wonder if SAAB would have worked well for Fiat. At least in the US, an Abarth based car with SAAB styling would have sold much better as an entry level SAAB than it has as an expensive Fiat. The new Alfa Giulia range despite being RWD would also probably do better in the US as SAABs (AWD is supposed to be an option). Perhaps this would not be the case in Europe, but in the US SAAB as small as it was was already established and had an image worth building on whereas Fiat and Alfa don’t have the greatest reputation here. I know these cars differ from the SAABs we are used to, but SAAB dealers might have preferred them as the basis for an expanded model range to what they have now.
Of course, it always easy to spend someone else’s money and Fiat probably felt it had too many brands as it was (I understand that Lancia is down to one model).
Without GM, Saab would have died on the vine a long, long time ago. The most reliable Saabs were manufactured during the GM era. GM pumped a lot of money into the brand but mismanaged it. GM did the same thing—-mismanaging divisions—–to Pontiac, Oldsmobile, Saturn, etc. Look how many markets Saab was selling in during the GM era. They were a global car company, unlike now. NEVS is Chinacentric to the point of alienating most people who had hoped to someday buy another new Saab. I’ve come to realize that’s not going to happen. I will enjoy my ’04 9-5 until I experience an accident or repair that is too expensive to make—-a bill that will make it more reasonable to sell the carcass than put money into it. When that happens, I won’t be buying a used Saab or a new one, because new ones won’t be available and owning a Saab is going to become more and more challenging. It’s a orphan brand at this point—with losers trying to resuscitate it. That’s almost the definition of being “over.” We can blame GM or Muller for not succeeding with Saab. We can blame NEVS for embarrassing anyone who has ever driven a Saab, been interested in owning one—-liked the brand—-whatever. NEVS has put a “great wall” up between a brand we once loved—-and the markets we live in. They’re scum.
Why do you come here again? This is SaabsUnited which covers Saab news. This site does not dwell much with articles of the past. The only thing you will find here is mostly NEVS news.
Do you think you are improving the atmosphere of this site by replying to ever comment with a negative quip?
We don’t know if Saab would have died long ago if GM didn’t buy them. I only blame GM after 2004 when they decided they wanted to spend Saab’s budget rebadging GM cars.
I don’t know how you expect NEVS to be able to operate internationally when they have no dealer/service network. The 900 was known for reliability and that was pre GM.
GM was the savior of SAAB; delayed its inevitable demise.
Brands don’t have inevitable demise, they don’t have natural life expectancy. Those brands existing for more than a century don’t exist because they have good genes. They exist until today because they have been managed well enough to get through good and bad. GM gave SAAB much needed stability. Without this stability it is possible that SAAB wouldn’t have survived. Under GM SAAB existed for two decades which resulted in many good things. That’s a fact. The problem is that the job of GM wasn’t to keep Saab alive. It was to make Saab successful. And they failed with that. They failed because they didn’t have a clear strategy. They didn’t know how to make their brands work together, instead of spoiling each other. That’s why they lost them. They should have positioned them clearly and then seeking the right synergies between brands. Instead, we had completely illogical mess. The sad thing is that it really could be different. The SRX/9-4x project showed the right way to seek synergy between different brands, creating two successful products. But instead of having something like that from the beginning we saw it only in the end. This mismanagement resulted in the loss of many brands. GM deserve credit for what they accomplished and criticism for everything they messed up. It doesn’t make sense to describe them as saviors, saving anyone wasn’t what they had to do.
Avelik: In a lot of ways, GM was and might still be a dinosaur in a changing world. I say this because during much of my lifetime—-probably the first 20-25 years of my life (which began in the early 1960s) General Motors dominated—-they had over a 50% market share in the U.S. and were successful in other places too—–with a strategy that is actually the opposite of what you assert they should be doing now. And I agree with you by the way—-but hear me out: During those years, they had five core divisions and GMC Trucks. The five core divisions, Chevrolet, Pontiac, Oldsmobile, Buick and Cadillac, were all quite profitable for most of those years. Cadillac was the most distinguishable division, with some products that were exclusive to them—-particularly the engines. The other four divisions shared platforms to the point of the cars looking almost identical in many cases, save for the front fascia and tailights. From a profile, it was difficult to tell many of these cars apart. Examples, in order of Chevrolet, Pontiac, Oldsmobile, Buick:
Monza, Sunbird, Starfire, Skyhawk.
Nova, Ventura/Phoenix, Omega, Skylark
Chevelle, Lemans, Cutlass, Century
Impala, Catalina, Eighty-Eight, LeSabre
Caprice, Bonneville, Ninety-Eight, Park Avenue.
There were other clones too, lots of them. And for a period of at least 15 years, GM pumped these clones out and sold millions upon millions, in some cases, cars that at the Chevrolet end, were $500.00 apart from the Buick end. It was remarkable. That worked for a long, long time, but things changed when Honda and Toyota made inroads in the U.S. and when Mercedes, Volvo, BMW and others cut into some Cadillac sales. Instead of repositioning their product offerings as you suggested, they started to do things like buy Saab, Hummer, start a GEO division, Saturn, etc. They got more bloated and disorganized. I have no doubt that with the fat profits they were sitting on as recently as the early to mid-80s, if they had shifted their plan to change with the market—-and the world—-they could still be the top dog. No, not with 50% of the market—-that was bound to end. But they could have still been the biggest and most profitable if they had been run correctly and had followed some of what you just said in your comment.
GM was not without fault for sure. But in the context of SAAB, they did extend their natural market-life beyond projected, and made some interesting, and dare I say, the best cars that ever wore a SAAB nameplate.
Again, I would say that there isn’t such thing as natural market life or projected life span for a brand. It is not like SAAB was doomed to fail and GM delayed this inevitable end. SAAB wasn’t likely to survive on their own without a big parent or partner so the sale to GM was indeed crucial for Saab’s survival. But from that moment on the fate of the brand was in the hands of GM, it was up to them to determine if Saab had a place on the market. When Audi was bought by VW it wasn’t the most liked brand and, as far as I know, they weren’t profitable. But with the time it became one of the biggest premium brands in the world. With good management and strategy a brand can grow and develop. SAAB could become a self sustaining brand but GM didn’t manage to make this happen.
Ok, Avelik. I could agree with that…
We come here, not because we want NEVS news, we want Saab news. NEVS news has from the beginning been disheartening, inaccurate, and misleading…..If NEVS, against all odds, somehow succeeds in China, many of us could care less unless it also leads to the rebirth of SAAB as a global brand worth buying…..If you believe that, you probably believe in fairies….so we come here, beyond all reason, with the hope that somehow something will develop regarding SAAB….what that is I don’t know; perhaps a FIAT or a BMW or a VOLVO buying the rights to the name and producing real SAABS, perhaps APPLE is secretly in a deal with PANDA to produce SAABS……I know, we know that is widely optimistic, but we can not give up this hope.
hughw hope johana give me hope johana. johana=nevs
Matthew sorry for spoiling your atmosphere on saab united.
Panda, it’s a terrific name, don’t you think? Saab had the griffin, and many mascots are fierce ferocious animals, strong, high up on the food chain… but not our dear friends at Panda! They have instead picked a truly fitting spirit animal and company name. Pandas are declining rapidly in population, won’t procreate, require Chinese government intervention for nourishment. They’re slow, docile, fairly helpless, and only have a future in zoos. I’d say the choice of the name was more calculated and genius than anyone has given them credit for.
Jesse: For this company, I think an extinct animal comes to mind: The Dodo bird. It couldn’t fly. This mess won’t fly either.
Jesse: if this is the end for saab cars its is the end. SUNG by jim morrison of the DOORS died very young age. buried at famous grave yard pierre lasaise in PARIS among other famous people. LET it BE.
Monique, He’s been sighted since. Death faked say some. If so, perhaps employed by Volvo using obscure alias. SAAB death appears real. When the Music’s Over (turn out the lights).
900T comment cannot be edited to correct spelling of (intended) “cornering” due to comment marked as spam? No doubt a status applied as resembling the story of Saab itself – no longer a valid entity in a forum even as provided for its existence..
Comments are closed.