Saab Heritage Museum in United States

You may have read this elsewhere, but Tom Donney Motors is creating a museum dedicated to Saab cars in South Dakota, USA.  His web site (http://www.tomdonneymotors.com/personal-stock/) says these are from his personal collection, which is quite impressive.  It includes the oldest Saab in USA as well as NG 9-5.  Personally, I do not mind not seeing 9-7x there, but it should include 9-4x.

It opens in two year.  Definitely something to consider if you are going to see Mt. Rushmore.

Replacement Air Bags are Finally Available

After about 18 months of waiting, I was finally able to get replacements for the defective Takata air bags in my 2008 9-3 convertible and my wife’s 2010 9-3x sportcombi in the past week.  GM handled the air bag replacement in my wife’s car, even though it is a SWAN model.  Apparently, safety recalls remained with GM even after the sale to SWAN.

If you have been waiting, it’s probably time to find the nearest authorized SAAB service center and see if you can schedule an appointment.  They needed about one week’s notice to get the parts in.

SAABS have always been fun and safe, and its nice to know that the safety is back!

Editor’s note: During the management transition period no posts were approved. We apologize for the delay. PaulF’s post dates back to May.

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.

This time is for real, at least regarding their media activities [Update]

It looks like we will at last see the presentation of a new car by NEVS. Yes it will be at CES Asia on June 7 in Shanghai.

First Chinese Car news outlets have begun to write small posts about it, but they seem to have missed a couple of things.

Regarding the looks of the car they point at a rather old picture of the 9-3 at the time they had to stop using the SAAB emblems. That was a rather ugly front grille and made the car rather ugly.

Photo by Reuters

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We are NEVS, and other things going on at NEVS.

There has been more going on at NEVS than usual in the last months. At the end of February they announced their framework agreement with CATL regarding Battery supply, which seems to be a big deal as CTL has managed to increase their production capacities just to be second behind Tesla/Panasonic and leaving behind LG-Chem or Samsug SDI. I talked too NEVS, and that meant that the battery package had to be slightly reengineered, but all in all it was a good thing for NEVS. As a side note, CATL is since January owner of 22% of the shares of Valmet Automotive in Uusikaupunki. Yes, the Automotive world is quite small.

Last week NEVS announced its cooperation with ICONIQ, another e-Car brand from China. It looks like having an e-Car production license in China is not that bad. NEVS will produce the ICONIQ Seven, a Luxury Battery-Electric-MPV, that has been developed in Austria by Magna, designed in Italy by Studiotorino and has financial backing from the Arab Emirates by W Motors (the makers of the Lykan,the first Arab Supercar). The ICONIQ seven will be produced in the Tianjin factory starting from 2019 side by side with the NEVS 9-3. So it looks like at least one production facility from NEVS won’t stay idle.

On a side note, NEVS seems to now be willing to develop further cars on the Phoenix 1.0 platform (9-3) till 2020 when the first phoenix 3.0 will be launched. We’ll see!

But I wanted to talk about something different.

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Saab’s management team cleared of all charges

Sveriges Radio reports that all three defendants were found not guilty.

Their extensive coverage of the case can be found here.

Some of the things discussed:

  • Geers signed a contract using the signature of Saab Parts’ CEO. The CEO later said he had no recollection of giving his permission, but recanted when Geers produced an e-mail asking for said permission
  • Saab received payment in advance for a dealership deal struck in Ukraine. The prosecutor asked if Antonov orchestrated this payout. (never mind that Riksgälden at the time had approved Antonov)
  • Did the management team mislead suppliers, creditors and the public by not admitting how bad the situation was?
  • The prosecutor spent considerable time on dwelling on the previous court case, rehashing the same arguments that won him no favors the last round. Surely an odd thing to do, but some people cannot help themselves I suppose.

I have been tempted to provide a full translation of Victor Jensen’s superb reporting, but I have unfortunately not have had the time. In addition, the prosecutor comes off looking like a complete ass, so I feared the SR reporting may have been biased. E.g. at one point Muller is quoted as saying (addressing the prosecutor) “if you are coming after me, you better be prepared!” (said in disgust several days into the prosecutor’s expensive fishing trip). The prosecutor then wanted to know if Victor was threatening him…

I have in the past hinted that the prosecutor is not playing with a full deck of cards. I stand by my original assessment. At the time I thought the prosecutor wanted a win in a high profile case so he would get promoted into a political career of sorts. I now believe that a win is not really required for that to happen. Good things happen to incompetent men.

On a more positive note, Victor Muller remarked, on the last day of the trial, that former employees had gathered in the Saab museum for an evening meal with both Jan-Åke and Victor invited. He was grateful for the show of support and hinted that it is unusual for former employees to do such things on the trail of a bankruptcy.

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