A Slap In The Face – Time To Saab Up

I thought about trying to tone down the title of this post, but I couldn’t think of something to replace it with that would get my feelings out right. In the past few weeks I have been watching as the sale of Saab takes shape. In that time I have witnessed some truly remarkably sad comments from various comments and blogs that have left me somewhat stunned and shocked that we can pass judgement so quickly with nothing to base it on. Like the saying goes, don’t judge a book by it’s cover, hell we don’t even have a cover yet. When it was announced that NEVS was the purchaser of Saab, I saw comments like Saab is dead and predictions like this will never work. What will never work? How is Saab more dead then it was a day ago? Other comments like an electric Saab is no Saab, says who? One can never underestimate the engineers, designers and the absolute know how at Saab.

This all got me to thinking again about what Saab is. To me Saab is a car that is built from the inside out and all about the driver, comfort and safety with a hell of a lot of performance. To build a car like this, you need great engineers and an unbelievable talent pool to achieve the achievements they have over the years. Many of these workers have worked for Saab for too many years to count and have been a part of all the success that Saab has had over the years. I will never forget delivering a NG 9-5 and posting on our dealer Facebook page about it and having someone from the Saab plant comment and say “I hope we did a good job”. To me things like this show the commitment and dedication to the brand that the workers at Saab have and is not something easily duplicated.

These workers that in my mind are a part of what Saab is as much as the car have been building beautiful cars in Trollhättan since 1948 and will continue to build cars there for the foreseeable future. Some workers have found other jobs, true, but there are still plenty of skilled workers to take spots within the Saab factory.

We sit here and judge just based on the little bits of information that we have seen and I ask myself, why or better yet how are we judging anything? Through the last year with trying to sell part of Saab to Youngman, the bankruptcy process and all the “factors” that stood in the way, we craved information and rarely got anything concrete or definitive. Within the first few days of an announcement, we were told of some of the plans of NEVS, we were told of the plans of Saab Parts under the direction of the NDO, we have had confirmation of body panels for the NG 9-5 being produced again and NEVS has even posted a job listing. We have had more real news and good news in the last 5 days then we did through the whole bankruptcy process. How do we pass judgement so quickly when it seems like the ball is already rolling?

Things are starting to fall into place and I’m sure there are still some big news items to be announced shortly. Considering where we’ve been and where we are, I consider it to be like a slap in the face to the people of Saab that put their everything into the cars we love and enjoy to even think for a minute that Saab is dead or that a car built by NEVS will never be a Saab. How can we think that way when we haven’t seen a single thing produced by them and who do we pretend to be in think that we are the be all to end all in what is Saab? I hope I never come across as someone who thinks they know it all or that I can see into the future because I don’t and I can’t.

All I know right now is that we have a buyer in the form of NEVS and they seem to be doing things in a way that I would have hoped them to do. NEVS through the deal, also bought all of the production facilities back and if I remember from the Spyker days, the facility was hugely under utilized and had room for a lot more then just the cars they produced. What does that mean? Maybe nothing, but maybe that is a huge piece of the puzzle. I strongly urge people that even as others may make decisions to leave the Saab world or watch from a distance, don’t be swayed, sit back and watch things unfold. We won’t know until we know what this company will look like going forward and I will continue to be an optimist through it all and thankfully, I am not alone.

Saab Parts would like to cooperate with NEVS

The following is a very rough translation of a recent article in ttela. Keep in mind that I’m not a native Swedish speaker, and the last few paragraphs were a bit lacking in detail.

Saab Parts were not included in the bankruptcy trustees’ sale to the National Electric Vehicle Sweden (Nevs).

– There is a lot of shared ground between our companies. What we have discussed so far is the access to the production tools, says Lennart Ståhl, managing director of Saab Automobile Parts.

There are between 10,000 and 15,000 tools out among Saab’s former suppliers.

Today they are owned by the bankruptcy estate and few of them are part of Nevs’ deal, but not all.

– There are 1800 suppliers in total and 1000 of them are in possession of our tools, says Lennart Ståhl.

Now it so that our means Saab [sic!], which means they are still owned by the estate. These tools are used to manufacture parts for Saab’s cars. The only tools that will not be used are those for the Saab 9-5 wagon which never made it into regular production and as such need no spares.

Saab Parts has leased part of the factory from the receivers. Partly the press shop where spare parts are manufactured, and also the northern office where 50 people work today.

– In the foreseeable future we will continue our presence in Trollhättan due to the high level of specialized competency among our employees there. A relocation from our current offices will be determined by what plans Nevs have, says Lennart Ståhl.

The National Debt Office earlier announced that they will acquire Saab Parts which was used as collateral for the EIB loan. As of February this year half of Saab Parts’ board of directors consists of representatives from the National Debt Office.

– They are well versed in our business and know exactly what kind of company they take over, says Lennart Ståhl.

He believes that a handover will take place in the near future.

– There is likely a desire of the bankruptcy trustees to liquidate the companies that remain in the bankruptcy estate. My guess is that a handover will happen within the next few weeks.

When Lennart Ståhl met with representatives from Nevs, they said that they need Saab Parts’ assistance.

– We also need help from them. We hope that they, for example, can produce parts using the press shop. The discussions we have had so far concerns the tools that currently resides with various suppliers and how to put the tools to use, says Lennart Ståhl.

“An electrical Saab is no Saab”

Yesterday, after reading most of the information about NEVS buying Saab Automobile AB and reading some of the comments here at SU, I wrote this post.
I reads similar to what Jeff wrote yesterday, but we wrote them at the same time without knowing that the other one was also writing about it.
Although there is no new information in this post, I wanted just to show you that we here at SaabsUnited are critical versus the presented business plan from NEVS, but we also see a future for Saab in that plan.
If you like to know my thoughts about the business plan from NEVS, enjoy the post

I must admit, that today I had no access to the I-net till I went back home after work, and so I won’t be able to read 200+ comments on the different posts on the new owner of Saab Automobile AB. But on one of the few comment I’ve read somebody stated that an electrical Saab is no Saab.

From what I know, and from what I’ve read today about the plans of NEVS, I must admit that I’m a little bit disappointed. I don’t subscribe the statement an electrical Saab is no Saab, as an electric vehicle can very feel embrace the philosophy behind Saab. Saab managed to move from two stroke engines to four stroke engines, from naturally aspirated engines to turbo engines and it also managed to make a diesel behave like a Saab, so why shouldn’t Saab mange to build an EV that feels like a Saab? (Back in October 2010 I felt at home in a 9-3 e-Power).

But yes, I’m disappointed because it looks like they want to go the Tesla way, all electric. It just happens that my current company is involved in the development of e-cars for a major OEM, and I see the challenges they are facing, so I know that the Tesla way is no easy way. And willing to bring an EV in 18 months time will be a very tough job for anyone involved, but I wish them all the luck and I’m looking forward for Geneva 2014 where such a car could be presented to the public.

I’m also disappointed, because I get the impression that they want to sell only in China. So I’m hoping that something has been lost in translation.

But where is a shadow there must be light.

Read more“An electrical Saab is no Saab”

TTELA: No NDRC approval needed

In an article from reporter Valdemar Lonnroth, TTELA delved into the structure of National Modern Energy Holdings, the 51% majority owner in NEVS. Because they are primarily headquartered in the British Virgin Islands and merely registered in Hong Kong, the NDRC doesn’t have as much of a direct say in the matter. Which makes this whole process much, much easier. The translated article is after the break. Much more on NEVS to come later this week.

Read moreTTELA: No NDRC approval needed

A Word From NEVS

 

As we all know, the Chinese-Japanese consortium seems to be in pole position (the presumed winner) of the bid process for Saab’s bankrupt assets. Bloomberg spoke with their spokesman in Sweden, Mattias Berman.

A group led by a Chinese energy company and a Japanese venture-capital firm has placed a bid for bankrupt Swedish carmaker Saab, a spokesman for the investing team said.

The two main parties in the group are Sun Investment, a Japanese firm that specializes in high-tech environmental projects, and National Modern Energy Holdings Ltd., which has roots in Hong Kong and builds and owns power plants.

“We have placed a bid, and we want to buy Saab and build cars,” Mattias Bergman, a spokesman for the group, said today. “We’re interested in what Saab’s brand stands for, the innovation and competence in the company, and the production facility that’s world class.”

Read moreA Word From NEVS

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