Thoughts On Rumors And Reality

A lot has been said recently about production restart and some rumors have been floating around about future production but as always, NEVS has remained quiet to some extent. NEVS has always maintained that they will speak when there is something definite to talk about and they will not talk about rumors but real news. NEVS are not the only company out there like this, if we look back to trying to get any info from Mahindra when they were looking into Saab, they would say nothing. Even in Canada, we have Magna who have looked at buying car companies in the past and talk to no one about any plans except to say that they will not talk about rumors. My point being that this is not unusual in any way for a company to behave and especially not in the automotive world where you have seen former employees at North American manufacturers selling top secret information to other manufacturers.

What we do know is that there have been conversations with previous suppliers and that most of those discussions have been positive and it looks like a sooner then expected restart can possibly start in the summer. Is this aggressive to think this can happen that quickly? Personally I would think yes, but then what do we know about what is happening behind the scenes? We only know what we can confirm through press releases or discussions with NEVS themselves. For obvious reasons NEVS will not release future product development information until they have something to show us. Is it important to be secretive like this? Some would think no but you don’t have to look too far for a reason why it is important. Jason Castriota has a Phoenix based 9-3 that has never had photos released to the press yet there have been photos so close to the real thing released that some of his work is available to all for nothing and remember he hasn’t been paid in full for this design as it never made it to production. A designer is like an artist and their work is theirs and they are protective about such things being released or stolen but the manufacturer is even more protective when it comes to technologies and design.

Read moreThoughts On Rumors And Reality

“The base is Trollhättan” – Karl-Erling Trogen on P4 Väst

There will soon be a press release by NEVS on the Chinese joint venture. Meanwhile Karl-Erling Trogen talked to P4 Väst:

    – We have after a long period of negotiations, which started in October, announced an agreement with Qingdao Municipality that they take over a 22-percent share in Nevs, says Karl-Erling Trogen, chairman of Nevs.

    – There are two main purposes, we have a strong financial partner, so that we can fulfill our business plan, and the second is that we get access to the Chinese market.

    According Nevs Qingdao will through its investment company invest two billion SEK in Nevs as a start. Qingdao will after an issue of new shares take a 22 percent stake in Nevs.

    Further investments will be made in a joint venture in China.

    Read more“The base is Trollhättan” – Karl-Erling Trogen on P4 Väst

NEVS to build cars in China

Today ChinaAutoWeb reports that NEVS have signed an agreement to build production facilities for Saab in Qingdao, China. While we are still waiting for an official confirmation I’d still like to bring the article here with a few thoughts that came to my my mind when I saw it.

    Qingdao Qingbo Investment Co. Ltd., State Power Group Co. Ltd. and its Swedish branch signed an agreement on January 7 to build Saab cars in Qingdao, Shandong, according to the city’s newspaper, Qingdao Daily. State Power Group Co. Ltd., based in Beijing, is a sister company of National Electric Vehicle Sweden AB (NEVS), which bought Saab Automobile AB in June 2012. Both are subsidiaries of National Modern Energy Holdings, founded and controlled by Jiang Dalong (Johan Kai Jiang), a Chinese with Sweden citizenship.

Interesting that State Power Group is also part of the joint venture as they are mostly dealing with alternative energies and energy storage. Quite fitting I’d say.

Read moreNEVS to build cars in China

NEVS Hiring Now?

Somehow it has been missed in the media reports that I thumb through everyday but I found myself on the NEVS website today and came across something of interest. Job openings and what looks to be a lot of openings. Looks like they are looking to hire in six areas and some will be larger hires. It does say these are areas being considered for recruitment and I would think it is of the most importance to have your application made to be considered. I hope this is a sign of things to come and that this may be one of the final steps in NEVS plans to possibly restart production sooner then anticipated. Below are the areas being considered and by clicking the link above, you can go directly to the NEVS listings board to submit your application.

Production Installation Prep
We are looking for people, who, in preparation for the start of production, can take responsibility for co-ordination and co-ordination of various processing activities.

Main duties include preparation and process planning of new, or modification of existing equipment, the assembly plant, as well as costing and planning of new equipment.

Read moreNEVS Hiring Now?

Trollhättan Could Get Busy

With the rumor of a very large sale of the first EV’s yesterday that could potentially be a whole year or more of production, believe it or not there is further speculation of increased production coming to the Trollhättan factory.

Today Simon Warburton at Just Auto has written that if given the green light to start producing the gasoline and diesel versions of the current 9-3, NEVS say they could be hiring as quickly as winter.

“We are evaluating the possibility to start production of the existing 9-3 model with the existing powertrain next summer,” a NEVS spokesman told just-auto from Sweden. “That would give us some benefits as we could start the recruitment process earlier than planned.”

There is nothing really new in the above statement from NEVS but that they could start recruiting as early as winter is a ray of hope to the many workers who have not found employment.

Read moreTrollhättan Could Get Busy

The Clip You Should Watch This Weekend

While most SU readers know that Mattias Bergman spoke to the SaabsUnited Oktoberfest audience last month and that Tim graciously posted the video from his presentation, I’m under the impression most people never bothered to watch it. In some of the comments over the last few days, I’ve heard a lot of people trying to say that somehow SU never really dug deep into asking Mattias about NEVS’s plans. I’m guessing they didn’t watch the entire video.

I understand why you don’t want to watch the whole damn thing, it’s a freaking hour long. But don’t blame Tim for not getting you information, it’s all there. If you want, blame me or the other writers for not editing down the main points of the article into easy to digest pieces for you to understand, but don’t blame Tim. Part of the hullabaloo of the NEVS naysayers the past few days was that NEVS isn’t interested in continuing Saab’s legacy. For me, that legacy is exactly what Jan Ake and Victor said, “progressive Scandinavian design, sporty driving and responsible performance.” They’ve either ignored Mattias’s earlier comments here or at Oktoberfest or somehow to my own understanding twisted what he has in fact said to mean that Saab is no longer interested in those characteristics.

In an effort to get to the most salient exchange from the Q&A period from the presentation to put everyone’s fears at ease, I pulled out the following clip from the video. The question comes from one of our most astute commenters from North Toronto. Just before he asked it, Mattias explained that the primary focus of NEVS initial sales will be to Chinese government bodies, not initially directly to consumers through a dealership network. He even goes as far as stating very clearly: sales have already begun to government agencies in China. I’m sure you’ll be hearing more about that soon, since that was over a month ago. Just as you or I might assume, why would the Chinese want a premium car from NEVS, after all, in the west we’re used to government agencies often wanting the opposite. Not so in China, don’t forget that they’re a semi capitalistic society where the government still retains most of the control. What are these customers looking for? According to Mattias:

“A premium product has to have performance, it has to have high quality, for an EV it has be, have safety and take you the distance that it is promising. But it also has to do with brand…even government consumers in China are newly rich. The brand is extremely important to show what are you driving. Many of the local suppliers making EVs, they don’t have a good product, they don’t have enough safety, and further they don’t have a brand that elevates the drivers or owners of the car [in a way that a Saab does].”

If you want something to do with the rest of your weekend, you have some free time on your hands, and you haven’t already committed an hour of your life to it, I suggest you watch the presentation from Mattias after the break. The whole thing is good, but the Q&A at 29:00 on is where the meaty answers start.

Read moreThe Clip You Should Watch This Weekend

Is Price The Answer?

So many times we have heard over and over again that price is the most important thing to a successful brand and was where Saab went wrong. Do we all believe this though? Was Saabs biggest mistake simply price? For me it is not that simple. Of corse price is important but it’s not that simple and you need more than just a good price.

The average consumer is not like most of the readers here and do not know their intended purchase like a Saab owner does. This makes the need of salespeople to help get the purchaser familiar with the car they intend to purchase which is partly why I so strongly disagree with Teslas sales network. This post is not about Tesla though and I wont focus on why I so strongly disagree with their way of business but to say that I feel a dealer body is needed no matter what kind of car you sell and as a consumer it gives me more confidence in a brand to see dealers who are happy to sell the product.

Back to price. Now it must be said, I am not comparing cars here because there is hardly any similarities at all. When we talk about price or even type of car needed for the market, people often say that Saab needed a small car and a low $20’s price in the american market. Another auto maker with small cars and low prices is Suzuki and just last week American Suzuki Motor Corp announced plans to leave the US market. I know, I know, Suzuki is nothing like Saab. The comparison though is that if Saab had brought out a small and cheap car, would it had sold? Sure it would to some extent but how many would they need to sell to make it worth doing? In the first ten months of this year Suzuki sold 21,000 vehicles, a feet that Saab hadn’t reached since 2007. With the sales Saab had seen in the last years, 10,000 units a year seemed hard to crack but sales were steadily increasing and I believe the 9-4X would have added to that year end total but Suzuki couldn’t make it work with sales of 21,000 cars in the US and one analyst stated rather harsh the comment below.

“Basically, Suzuki does not need the United States, and the United States didn’t need Suzuki,”

Read moreIs Price The Answer?

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