Live on web-TV: First Nevs 9-3!

saab_skylt_fabriken

Now it’s not long time until the first ordinary Saab from Nevs leaves the production line in Trollhättan. As many of  you may know it’s a 9-3 Aero, and you guys can follow this directly via various Swedish TV broadcasters web-TV services. Naturally, they speak swedish and it’s not texted, but you can still enjoy the pictures!
I will here link to the different broadcasters I know will send direct from the factory. There may be some of the broadcasters who not allow non-Swedish IP-adresses, but I know TV4 will work abroad. Click on the different links, and it will open in a new window. TV4 start their show 12:55 local time (CET / GMT +1:00), SVT start theirs at 13:00.

TV4
SVT

Inside Saab’s Noise and Vibration Harshness Lab

Saab technical department
Saab technical department

On November 21st I was invited to NEVS in Trollhättan and met with:

  • Patrik Torehov (Senior Analysis Engineer)
  • Eskil Lindberg (Technical Specialist)
  • Göran Fredriksson (Manager Public and Customer Relations)
  • Mikael Östlund (Public Relations Officer)

After introducing the 900, Saab decided it was time to take aim for the premium market with the 9000. An important aspect of a premium car is the feeling of comfort inside. To aid in this area a NVH testing lab was constructed in 1984.

“The NVH lab influences all interfaces between chassis/drivetrain and the body, interior insulation, exterior design (wind noise and resonants), tires, interior information sounds and even engine noise characteristics such as idle, engine torque, shift points and more.”

The lab is divided into several rooms. A couple of rooms are semi-anechoic chambers suitable for testing heavier equipment (solid floor), then there is one reverberation room adjacent to an anechoic chamber. These two rooms are separated by a thick wall with a one square meter big hatch that can be opened between them. Once that hatch is open, all sound entering the anechoic chamber can only originate from the reverberation room.

Tests typically focus on individual parts, material or an entire car.

“To generalize, we focus on all dynamics (sound and vibration) above 20 Hz. The human ear doesn’t detect sounds below 20 Hz. On the other hand, it is in the area between 0 and 20 Hz that handling is determined, which is outside the NVH lab’s domain. But a very important component for both acoustic and handling is rubber bushings. It is designed to create a soft transition between stiff metal components. In the car industry the NVH engineers want the softest bushing possible, whereas the engineer responsible for handling desire rather stiff bushings (yielding a sportier handling).”

Eskil and Patrik with the 9-3N (pre-production)
Eskil and Patrik with the 9-3N (pre-production)

Currently the lab is busy preparing for the start of production of the 9-3N to ensure that it complies with current regulations in all the major markets. Compliance testing generally consists of pass-by tests, but some interior tests are also carried out.

The lab is utilized throughout the life-time of any given Saab model. They utilize a shaker to simulate years of wear and tear, and then subject the car to additional listening tests to see if it still performs as expected.

“Another example where the NVH lab yields a direct influence on existing models is tuning of the exhaust system. We put a lot of effort into making sure our cars has the right sound.”

Read moreInside Saab’s Noise and Vibration Harshness Lab

NEVS Has The Money Needed For Production

Yesterday P4 West reported that in the annual report of NEVS first year that as a company they had lost SEK 120 million and they have enough money to produce Saab cars once again.

Mikael Östlund stated that the loss was expected and was all according to the business plan.

In early summer became the Chinese city of Qingdao partner and has paid 649 million dollars for 22 percent of the shares. While it has given promises to Nevs may borrow further over 1.1 billion, according to the annual report.The money is enough to start building Saabs again, writes Nevs.

We have financing that covers the company’s activities in 2013 and that is enough to resume production at the factory in Trollhattan and it derives also from the enhanced funding we received in that Qingdao is now a partner in NEVS, says press officer Mikael Östlund P4 the West.

According NEVS will get more money this year, but the work to include developing cars and start production will also lead to increased costs.

Very interesting times at SAAB/NEVS to say the least. Personally, I would like more information than that production is starting again. It’s great to hear that production workers will be once again making SAABs and SAAB cars will be on a road in the future but for me, I want to know precisely what roads and a layout as to when and what markets will be added.

This is a great thing to be celebrated and I am so happy for the workers that will be called back.

Reading Between The Lines

Lately we have seen a flurry of activity on the NEVS/SAAB job postings which would lead us to think that things behind the scenes are moving a lot faster than any of us know or are being told about. At SAABSUNITED, we are told of a lot of different things that are being done off the record and we remain silent on most of them because they are still not complete and we don’t want to risk releasing something too soon or potentially damage something that was being explored, not to mention that sometimes we are told rumours as well.

I still search through the job postings everyday looking for what I can see and trying to read between the lines which is probably both good and bad because sometimes you may just see what you want to see but on the other hand, why would something be written out in a job description if it wasn’t being explored or if it wasn’t something they were looking to do?

This is the latest job posting that I found on the NEVS job board and I have highlighted something that caught my eye for obvious reasons. I have absolutely no knowledge as to where they are in this regard but the fact they want someone with basic knowledge in electric and hybrid makes me a little more optimistic in regards to hybrid technology. What do you think, can we read between lines or is this just a standard thing to look for?

Read moreReading Between The Lines

NEVS Job Postings

While doing what seems to be the daily ritual of looking through the NEVS/SAAB website, I came across a number of job postings today, 6 in total. Now I don’t know if any former Saab employees who have held these positions in the past read our site to keep updated or not but these seem like fairly important roles to be filled.

All positions look to be important to the restart of production. They were all listed today as well. It would appear that we are edging closer to a production facility that is operational once again. It has been pointed out before that there would be no business sense to hire production staff and such until they were needed because you are then spending money on something with no product being made to sell to offset the expenses. This is the next natural step in getting operational and I would have to think that production staff is not too far behind.

Below is a short list of the positions listed:

Read moreNEVS Job Postings

NEVS shows interest in buying Saab Parts

According to an article from the local news paper ttela, Matthias Bergman has expressed the intention of NEVS to take over Saab Parts, if the price is right.

It is quite clear that there is a clear synergy between us and Parts. If the price is right, we are interested, he said, without specifying in more detail.

Maybe the moaning of some of our readers has been heard in THN. 😉

________

Update from Tim: the sale of Saab Parts was pushed by the NDO during the sale of the bankruptcy estate. However at the time the price of 2,2 billion SEK which was demanded for the parts company was considered way too high for any potential buyer. Now the government has reduced the net-worth of the company by 0,6 billion SEK and in reality it would probably be reduced even further in order to become attractive for NEVS to purchase it.

NEVS Contacts North American Dealers USA and Canada

Recently we read about NEVS contacting select Saab dealers across Europe. What we hadn’t heard and were immediately being asked about was, what about North America?

Well, I can now tell you that as of Friday morning all US and Canadian dealers who have information on file with SPNA have received the same letter. This had been in the works for a while with European dealers first followed by all of North America and was discussed at NADA last week.

I’m sure this won’t ease everyones worries about wether or not NEVS/SAAB has plans for North America but I can tell you that I have seen the letter and believe that this is yet another good sign to things to come.

We are heading in the right direction and things just keep coming into place.

Trollhättan East

One part of the news that seems to have gone by with very little coverage at all is the fact that Saab’s parent company NEVS intends to sell a 22% stake to the city of Qingdao (pronounced ching-‘dow), China. While it still leaves NEVS the majority stakeholder and in control, it certainly puts this city square in the future for Saab. While most of us here are very familiar with Trollhättan, very few of us know much about this part of Shandong Province, where Saabs will float into port on their way into the Chinese mainland. The tastes and preferences of this city’s government leaders and inhabitants will surely play a role in shaping new Saabs for years to come.

If you find yourself with some extra time this weekend, I’ve embedded a three part episode of a CCTV show called Travelogue about Qingdao for you to watch. If you’re familiar with Rick Steves’ Europe, you’ll probably feel at home watching this series. It’s pretty amazing. Interestingly, European influence in Qingdao is extremely strong, and there’s even an old German section with a Catholic church which you can see in part 3. Before you prejudge the place, watch this video. I think I’m starting to understand why someone from here might emigrate to Sweden, become a citizen, and celebrate Western culture (actually I’m still confused why he didn’t move to Berlin instead). The fact that the narrator is a Chinese citizen with an English accent proves this point without saying.

Oh yeah, I forgot to mention– that German occupation heritage rubbed off quite a bit– their historical name is Tsingtao. Ring a bell? They drink a lot of beer. Suffice it to say, I like these people already (especially since they have an English blog there that likes to quote SaabsUnited, cover basketball, and cover NEVS, like this article you might have read elsewhere about why Kai Johan Jiang chose Qingdao in the first place)did an interview with China Throw one back and enjoy the approximately hour long video. Pay close attention to when he takes the ferry to Huangdao, which besides being the future home of a Saab plant, apparently has some of the best beaches in Mainland China.

Read moreTrollhättan East

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