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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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.

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Truth In Rumors

For anyone who follows me away from SU, yesterday I did a post about my thoughts on things surrounding Saab. I didn’t post here because Tim’s post was very active at the point I had written this and did not want to take anything away from it.

Running a blog like Saabs United is a huge undertaking and one that isn’t taken lightly. We as writers are constantly judged by what we write. Is this fair? I guess so because it’s what we signed up for and I think we all have big enough shoulders to take the heat when it comes. With that in mind though, we are constantly struggling with what to and what not to say. Anyone that thinks this is easy should really try it for themselves. Working for free trying to secure contacts that will trust you and give you information that is not available to the public is very time consuming and then what to do with what you’ve been given without losing your contact because you have revealed too much is quite a balancing act itself.

Below is what I wrote yesterday about everything going on right now.

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SweGov involved in discussions with Asian consortium?

Simon Warburton published an article on just-auto.com saying that SweGov shall be heavily involved in the discussions with the BAIC/Panasonic consortium. He quotes a reliable source – judge this for yourself but he is generally pretty well informed and I’d put more trust in this than I did if it was di.se.

The article states some genral facts we know and claims that BAIC/Panasonic are the third party alongside Mahindra & Mahindra and Youngman. Now to the most interesting part of the article:

“It [consortium] is a really bad thing for Saab and will be a threat for Youngman and Mahindra,” the source told just-auto from Sweden. “They are planning to build electric cars in Trollhattan using the 9-3 as a first car and producing batteries.

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ttela calling…

A while ago ttela.se rang up BMW and VW asking if they were interested in Saab. They got more or less standard answers that said “no comment on rumors”. But they did not give up and this time they called BMW and Magna.

– We have not changed position on the matter, said Markus Sagemann, press officer at BMW’s headquarters in Munich.

But he adds that there may be an interest shown in specific things in Saab’s bankruptcy estate.

– We had an engine contract with Saab, that unfortunately could not be completed. But any interest in the brand Saab or a major part of the estate has not been relevant.

And as far as Magna repeats’s press officer Tracy Fuerst what they previously said to TTELA. First, that the company does not comment on speculation, but refers to the company’s CEO, Don Walker, who has made it clear that they do not want to acquire some brands. This is the answer to the question whether they are interested in Saab, or in any way the assets of the estate.

– We do not compete with our customers, car brands.

As I stated before if BMW is in there they will most likely not be in the driver’s seat so I do not read to much out of this. As for Magna this is the standard statement they made ever since they missed their goal to acquire Opel. But since over the years Magna have been pretty eager to buy one or another car brand I would not take this as the one and only truth. I’d never underestimate the dedication of Mr. Stronach and honestly, looking at the experience and ressources Magna has I’d like to see them in this.

When it comes to the parties we know about I can say that Mahindra & Mahindra are still in this process and pretty dedicated. To me they are a top bidder who has the ability to get Saab back on track and to stand the tough first years. Yes, they are very quiet. But as they are from India take this as a sign that they are at work.

Mahindra in the “News”

A story has surfaced today about Mahindra and the possibility of them maybe changing their mind about placing a bid. I will stress that we do not know in any way if this is credible at all as the story comes from another un-named source to Di. I have never been a fan of this kind of reporting because we have no idea who is talking to Di, if they are credible at all or if they are just someone looking to stir things up and too often we have seen stories like this to not be fact at all.

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News spiced with rumors snippets

I have been looking through the news that pop up in the Swedish press today and decided that it would be best to put a few of the more interesting ones together in a snippets post for a quick overview.

di.se managed to talk to Zamier Ahmed of Brightwell Holdings. He landed in Stockholm yesterday and will further go to Gothenburg and Trollhättan to meet the receivers as well as his team, which works on site to make due dilligence and work out the bid. This may still take a bit, as he states the the bid will not be made during his stay but it is “not too far away”. Here’s an interesting bit of the interview.

Why do you want to acquire Saab, is not it a huge uphill battle?
“I think it could be a very successful business if it’s led and financed right,” said Ahmed Zamier and get back to what he considers to be a fantastic product and a brand with “a tremendous legacy.”

Brightwell Holdings’ financial muscle has been questioned in the media. But critics dismiss Zamier Ahmed.

“We have been very successful in the acquisitions we have made,” he says, not wanting to name who the investors behind the company are.

“We also have support from the government, that we have in all projects. It is mostly about moral support. ”

How much would you invest in Saab?
“We’re talking about several hundred million Euro.”

Brightwell Holdings discussions with GM, which owns the rights to the critical technology licenses, continuing as Zamier Ahmed.

What do you think about the end, how will the situation be in three months?
“Until then, I think the best man will have won. Whoever does the best for Saab will win Saab. The company must remain intact. If it is fragmented there is no Saab left.”

This last sentence is pretty important if you want to judge their attitude towards Saab. They want the complete package. And don’t get too much on the fact that he is not disclosing his investors. Noone would do that, at least not in this state of the process.

Ttela took a look on the supplier situation. So far only Youngman have been in talks with suppliers regarding a possible restart of production which is no surprise as they already placed their bid and now have some spare time in Sweden. Ttela spoke to Fredrik Sidahl of FKG:

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