CEVT was once created by Geely to developed a C-segment platform for VOLVO and Geely. This platform is now officially called the Compact Modular Architecture (CMA), and with the Scalable Product Architecture (SPA) it forms the base for the Volvo product line.
I once thought that with one scalable platform would be enough for such a company a Volvo, but it seems that SPA is more expensive than first intended and only the 90 and 60 series will be build on this more upmarket platform, and the 40 series will use the CMA platform from CEVT, nonetheless SPA and CMA will share parts and technologies so the normal user shouldn’t notice the difference, and if this is not the case marketing will take care of that.
This platform is capable of embody an automobile with a conventional ICE powertrain, a hybrid or PHEV and even a BEV, and VOLVO is willing to develop those three different kind of powertrains for its 40 series based on CEVT’s CMA platform.
So, this is the Torslanda (Volvo production facility in Göteborg) side of things, but since the beginning it was known that the smaller VOLVOs would share the platform with Geely cars for the non Chinese market, but it wasn’t known under which brand would geely sell those cars.
VOLVO presented last month the CMA platform and two cars that could be members of the 40 series, but many press-people were also expecting to see not only the CMA-based VOLVOS but to see the CMA-based Geelys and to know how to call them. Geely remained silent about that.
What is also unknown is where those cars will be build? Torslanda is currently building only the SPA S90/V90 and XC90, the Ford based V60 series has moved production to Ghent (Belgium) where the current S60 and XC60 and the 40 series are also build. It is to expect that the SPA based 60 series will also be build in Sweden (as long as it has enough capacity) and then the CMA based 40 series will be build in Ghent. I would say that building those Geely cars in Ghent would make most sense.
We have a Swedish based engineering company with Chinese capital that has developed a scalable platform for cars on the B- C- and maybe D-segment that seems to be good enough for VOLVO but currently has no production facility in Sweden, but why I am saying this? Well I once heard that SAAB AB was only willing to give NEVS the rights to use the SAAB brand only for cars developed and build in Sweden.
Well, it seems that Geely is able to fulfil almost all of those criteria but the one about the production plant, as it seems that the most intelligent thing to do is to build those Geely cars along the CMA-based Volvos at the Ghent factory.
But let us rewind in time. In 2011 SAAB Automobile went bust, at that point Geely would have been able to buy a complete company with passionate engineers a production facility and a brand name to fulfil just the same plans that they seem to be trying to bring to success now, so why did not move in that direction back in 2011/12?
Nobody can tell, one option is Volvo was struggling at that time trying to create the new Volvo and get rid of the old Ford bits, an other option is the decision to introduce a brand below Volvo was taken too late and NEVS had already taken over the assets of SAAB Automobile, but an also valid option is Geely never having been interested in SAAB Automobile, neither in the brand neither in the factory.
My opinion is that I couldn’t care less if that Geely brand is called SAAB or whatever else. Those cars may get an interesting design that could catch my interest, but also any other brand that designs a good looking car. Maybe I should thank NEVS for releasing me from that bind to the SAAB brand. I will follow the developments at Stallbacka and if they develop a car that fits my needs and sell them in Europe I could get a NEVS driver, but maybe any other car will fit my needs best if I have to get rid of my 9-5 any time in the future.