Didi is no minor player

Several Swedish news outlets like SvD or Sverige Radio are talking about a letter of intent signed by Didi Chuxing and NEVS yesterday in Beijing with the presence of the Swedish Prime Minister Löfven. It would have been nice if the Swedish PM of those days would also have shown his endorsement some years ago.

There is no official information about the contents of ther letter, but Didi should become a big shareholder of NEVS, where big is smaller than 51%.

Didi has also placed an order over some thousand cars at NEVS.

Didi is no small player, it is currently worth US$ 35 billion after acquiring Uber China. It is also an interesting company to invest into. One of the companies that have invested into Didi is Apple with US$ 1 billion, another investor is the Chinese Alibaba, wich is the Chinese version of eBay.

Is this good? Yes, it is as NEVS noticed that they will need more money to get all those cars on the road. But the Center of gravity moves further to China. Mr Bergman says that this will have no influence on Trollhätan as development center and production facility for NEVS but as always at NEVS nothing is for sure as long as it hasn’t already happened.

18 thoughts on “Didi is no minor player”

  1. The center of gravity indeed continues to move TO CHINA, away from Sweden/Europe and most definitely buries any legitimate connection to Saab. The name is gone—-and any future products will have less and less of the DNA as time marches on. This isn’t really Saab news—-it’s interesting reading, but it’s really about the progress of a company that bought Saab’s assets with a plan to reap some technological information, not nurture and rebuild Saab.

    • The center of gravity moving further to China will have Victor Muller and his fanbois (comprising the majority of SaabsUnited’s members, at least those active here in 2011) jumping for joy in unbridled exhilaration. This enthusiasm will undoubtedly culminate in a huge celebratory event in Trollhattan when Swedish operations are finally closed down (which they will be).

      • Back in 2009-2011 there weren’t many options. Ford realized this early. Volvo faced almost exactly the same choices.

        The hope was that Saab would attract a rich uncle in China and that R&D (and production) would continue in Trollhättan. The _dream_ was 100% Swedish ownership, but there weren’t _any_ viable takers. The choice was flat-out bankruptcy (followed by a possible Nevs-scenario) or the gamble that Victor played out (he sought financing elsewhere as well, not just China). Plague or cholera. Take your pick.

        Feel free to suggest alternate scenarios where (at any point) we could have seen full utilization of the THN plant (preferably of a product that appeals to the avg Saab fan) today…

        TL&DR; Keep your criticism constructive. Thanks in advance.

        • (personally, back when GM were “looking” for a buyer, I rooted for a different outcome. I find it noteworthy that the more visible political figures at the time, queen Maud Olofsson in particular, were early fans of Chinese ownership. Also worth pointing out that GM met with top German officials when discussing Opel’s future, but only some random departmental secretary from Sweden when discussing Saab. Saab’s unfortunate fate was sealed very early on is my belief)

        • Mahindra would have given Saab a better chance of survival than NEVS. I believe the bankruptcy receivers pushed NEVS because of the environmental hocus pocus of battery operated cars—-and perhaps the Chinese connection. I believe they rigged the process to freeze others out. I recall rumors of interest on the part of BMW. I always felt Volkswagen might have benefitted too. Frankly, maybe they should have approached Geely—-who could have then had both Swedish icons under one roof. NEVS was a pathetic choice in my mind—-and to the extent that they were the only game in town—I blame the receivers for that. I didn’t like the process as I understood it back when it was being reported.

    • Yes, you are partly right. But from what I’ve heard they want to create products in Sweden with more Saab DNA. But we have to wait till gen II in 2020. Good news is that from September/October activity will restart at the factory, only at the stamping and welding section of the factory, but it is at last a beginning.

      And regarding SAAB news, I do not fancy weapons much, thats why I don’t write about SAAB. 😉

  2. “…NEVS noticed that they will need more money to get all those cars on the road.” This gives the impression that NEVS underestimated their capital needs. It would seem that this new money must dilute the interest of existing shareholders.

    • Yes, to your second statement, but this happens on every company, if anew shareholders enters the ring the others will have less influence, let’s wait and see what the final percentages are.

      Yes, maybe, but on the same time the calendar at NEVS is constantly changing, mostly due to external influences, and they have to adapt, and use their money for their current needs. You may say, that they did never have a well thought out plan, but with my few contacts to China, I would say that over there things change quite fast, and you have to constantly adapt if you want to survive. It is not a stable political environment.

      • The technowledgy of Saab/Sweden is being bought by NEVS for some designers’ employement in Sweden, then transferred to China……..

        We hope that DNA comes back in the form of EU production, BUT, export from Chins is more likely…….. So, the Saab DNA has been sold elsewhere, end of…..!!

  3. All-in-all it is a great thing that such an influencial company has confidence in Nevs for the Chinese market (and who knows Didi probably have plans to expand globally). It is obvious that by contributing to the “Chinese business model” and buying cars from Nevs they will also contribute to better cash-flow for further development of new models, which means they will also be beneficial for the development in Trollhättan and for producing new other cars for the rest of the world.

  4. Agree that the more investors do step in, the better it is for the future of NEVS.
    And I also can follow Bergman when he states that THT will stay an important development center for NEVS. However I seriously doubt that the site will once again become a manufacturing site for NEVS-cars. The site is so huge that they best look for other car manufacturers who are looking to extend their manufacturing capacity while that might be the best long time solution for that perfect site in THT. A manufacturing site for another brand, manufacturing of spare parts for ORIO and manufacturing cars and parts for NEVS would most probably use the full capacity this site offers.

  5. I find it amusing that “NEVs” is an acronym gaining ground in China news meaning “New Energy Vehicles”.

    Quotes from one article on Reuters:
    “VW also plans to be one of biggest players in so-called ‘new energy vehicles’ (NEV) in China”
    “Volkswagen will deliver its first locally produced NEVs under its Audi brand this year.”
    “Globally, automakers like VW are developing electric vehicles and billing themselves as “mobility” companies that don’t merely sell cars but also offer alternatives to car ownership such as ride-hailing.”

  6. Volvo has managed to keep the Swedish elements in its products despite Chinese ownership, but they retained a brand that needed to keep those elements. NEVS as a brand has nothing to do with Saab really, and that is the problem. I agree with Angelo that this is interesting but not really about Saab. RIP, Saab.

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