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.

NEVS receives electric vehicle production license in China

The next step for NEVS to become a car manufacturer is done. NEVS has announced today with a press release that they have got one of those 10 precious production licenses for EVs in China.


The Chinese government has today approved NEVS’ application to start production of electric vehicles in its manufacturing plant in Tianjin.

– I am very grateful for the approval we now have received for the electric vehicle production license. It is an extremely important milestone for NEVS, which is based on 70 years of Saab long history. It means that we can take the next step to realize our vision – to shape mobility for a more sustainable future, says Kai Johan Jiang, chairman of NEVS.

The electric vehicle production license approved by the Chinese National Development Reform Commission (NDRC) is required in order to manufacture electric vehicles in China. NEVS is the first joint venture company with investors from outside China that is granted a New Energy Passenger Vehicle Project investment approval by NDRC.

NEVS’ manufacturing plant in Tianjin is under construction and planned to be up and running at the end of 2017, with the capacity of 200 000 electric passenger vehicles yearly.

The electric car industry is growing rapidly in China. NEVS plan is to develop a product portfolio of electric vehicles and mobility services globally, with China as the first and most demanding market for the coming years. The immediate plan is to deliver 150 000 9-3 Sedan electric vehicles to the partner Panda New Energy, a new energy vehicle leasing company in China.

After some talks with NEVS I’ve been told that we will see the NEVS 9-3 this year, but that production won’t start till the factory in Tianjin is ready, which is expected in the second half of the year.

In the mean time, the trials on the SAAB case have started in Sweden, but I’m sorry I don’t think that I could via ‘googletranslate’ give a correct version of whats happening.

Saab in Autoworld Brussels III

Saab Club Belgium is 30 years in 2017 and this is celebrated with a first event in Autoworld Brussels where  a special exhibition “Saab in the spotlight” is organized by the museum with the support of the Saab Club Belgium.

We had a fine new-year’s reception in the museum on January 15th where more than 150 members of our club were present.

Now visitors of the museum can also see this special collection of Saab cars which are shown in three different places in the museum. From the Saab 92 till the last manufactured 9-5 NG, visitors do get an idea what Saab has realized as an automaker.

 

We tried to give an overview as complete as possible by showing the real cars and we made the overview 100% complete by showing all makes in small version as well.

We will organize other special events as well this year but the start of our anniversary with this exhibition is a great start which, we hope, will be appreciated by the visitors of the museum.

We have at least had a very good and fine start and look forward to a year full of events in Belgium but also across borders.

We especially do think of the Saab festival in Trollhattan and the International Saab meeting in Dinslaken (Germany).

Saab is not manufacturing new cars anymore but we do look after the heritage and enjoy driving these iconic cars for much more years to come.

 

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