Will we see e-cars from Trollhättan earlier than expected?

Yesterday one interesting article appeared on the regional site P4 Vest of the Swedish radio corporation.

It is known that Tesla is searching for a production facility in Europe to achieve their production targets of 500.000 cars in 2018.

Different countries seem to be in the list, Spain because of the Sun, the Netherlands, because Tesla has already an assembly facility there or Germany, because Tesla has lately agreed to buy a German manufacturing specialist.

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Theory: Saab and Volvo may become siblings

saab-volvoThere have been a lot of news articles and stories following the announcement that NEVS will use its own brand instead of Saab for their future electric cars (starting with NEVS 9-3 in 2017).

The motor journalist Jan-Erik Berggren, from Expressen (one of the two larger evening papers in Sweden), has an interesting theory on the future of the Saab brand. He actually claims that Saab and Volvo may become siblings.

The reason for this is that CEVT (China-Euro Vehicle Technology), a company owned by Geely and Volvo, are working on a new C-segment car platform that is supposed to launch with a new brand name. CEVT consists of more than 1 900 people, with locations in China, Gothenburg and Trollhättan.

The CEO of CEVT is Mats Fägerhag, former VP Product Development at Saab in Trollhättan (where he worked for 20 years). And remember, Geely were one of the companies bidding for Saab back in the GM days.

So the theory from Jan-Erik Berggren is that CEVT may reach an trademark agreement with Saab AB. This would mean that Saab is re-introduced as a new compact car, within the same family as Volvo.

What’s your thoughts on this? Would you rather buy a NEVS car from Stallbacka (the former Saab main plant in Trollhättan) or a Saab car from Torslanda (the Volvo main plant in Gothenburg)?

More on the Turkish Delight!

 

Skärmavbild 2015-10-22 kl. 07.53.09

Photo credit AA

It used to be that SU was exclusively informed by the management by both SAAB Automobile, SWAN, and to some extent NEVS. Now we read about the possible future in Road & Track magazine and the turkish newspaper Hürriyet Daily News.

– Mr. Fikri Isik Turkish Minister of Science industry and Technology says that new car shall consist of at least 85% parts produced in Turkey. Their goal is to have extended range environmental friendly vehicles.

“All of its intellectual property rights will be Turkey’s. That’s what we mean by national,” “We bought the Saab 9-3’s intellectual property rights, but not its name,”  Işık stated

– The car will have the Cadillac BLS front design and come in sedan/saloon only and without the SAAB name.The deal was settled way back in May and NEVS has shown 3 prototype cars

According to Hürriet News there has been some hiccups on the deliveries of the prototypes. NEVS failed to deliver the Phoenix Prototypes on time and the electric car did not function properly. On may 29th TUBITAK demanded improvements on the prototypes. The only functioning prototype was the gasoline powered car. The turkish paper also mention a SUV prototype that was not delivered at all.

From the picture it looks like the prototypes has a radiator that indicates that the car might have a  petrol or diesel engine. Is that what the turks means with extended range? Another interesting question is the safety of the car. We all know that the 9-3 does not fulfill the latest safety standards for car manufactured in europe. The hood/bonnet sits to close to the engine parts and is a hazard for pedestrians. Do they have other safety regulations in Turkey? We know that NEVS built at least one prototype with a higher hood with exploding / lifting mechanism.

Great to see that at least some engineers in Trollhättan has the chance to collaborate with the turkish counterpart and we will see what name the car will be given by the turks.

Earlier this week the Brazilian President Dilma Rouseff visited Sweden as part of her nations purchase of SAAB Gripen Fighters. A big debate has been sparked on whether this sale is so good for Sweden since it consists of a lot of “giving away” of knowledge and IP (intellectual property). I hope that this is not the case with the NEVS business with the turks. But in most agreements between equal technological developed nations both parties will benefit each other with knowledge not necessarily just in monetary terms. Dealing with a counterpart with a lower technological advancement, there is always a risk that one gives away technology that was taken many years of hard labour and investment away almost for free,

Skärmavbild 2015-10-22 kl. 08.32.49

Photo Credit AA “Personally I have a hard time understanding why the even bother to put camo on a car that is not new in any way looks pretty “stupid” better having the car plain and neutral nobody would recognize it. Where do You best hide a tree? In the forest of course!

9-3N Navigation System (First official Information?) (UPDATE!!)

What about some good rumours to start the week?

We at SaabsUnited have already made two posts about the “In-car entertainment system” of the face lifted 9-3. The first was about the rumours that pointed to the Parrot Asteroid as being the chosen system, and the second was about the interior pictures of the Chinese version of www.saabcars.com showing a big display instead of the “old” GM Radio.

Today, after checking www.saabcars.com in the three languages available, I felt like having good news and not so good news (for most of you) to tell you.

I will begin with the not so good news. As expected China is the second country where NEVS is asking people for their interest on the car, very much what they did in Sweden a couple of months ago, but this time they are not trying to sell the car online. There is still hope that after the presentation of the facelift (Beijing Autoshow April 20th maybe) we will slowly learn about other countries where that car will be offered, but we have to wait till then.

The good news, or interesting news, is derived from the former.

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9-3N Navigation System (First Pictures?)

Tim in December advanced a rumour of what in-car multimedia system NEVS is planing to install in the 9-3N, albeit with the introduction of the facelift.

Nothing is confirmed yet, but if you dig into www.saabcars.com you will find that different pictures of the car are shown to different markets.

For example the interior of the car. While you will see no pictures of the interior if you read the site in english, you will see the known interior of the 9-3 if you read the site in Swedish.

saab_aero_9-3_09

This more due to the fact, that they are selling the car in Sweden, so they have to show the product with more detail in Sweden.

But what happens if you read the side in Chinese ( the third language available in the menu)?

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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.

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