Trollhättan, Qingdao and between the lines…

In recent weeks it seemed to be pretty quiet in Trollhättan. No real news came from NEVS and media outlets mostly went to reporting rumors and speculations. Not very satisfying for a Saab fan to be honest. Then yesterday, there was finally a real story coming up, that at the end of the day was confirmed through an official press release from NEVS.

An agreement has been inked for a joint venture between NEVS, it’s parent company National Modern Energy Holdings and the City of Qingdao. It’s mostly about investements in production in China and Qingdao taking a share in NEVS. But when taking a closer look there is even more of interest in this press release.

The basic news is of course the joint venture in itself. While the initial press report from China pointed at building facilities for a volume of 200k cars/year that can be ramped up to 400k the official press release gave no details on this. But given the long term plans NEVS gave us a glimpse at this seems not to far off. I believe the feasabilty study mentioned will give the final answer on estimated demand as well as on a realistic timeline.

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Our Road trip to Oktoberfest ’12

This time last week we were nearly back in England, having covered almost 3,750km, 2,330 miles (in total) across six countries, twice, apart from Sweden.

Oktoberfest was a great occasion as it was last year. The difference this time around was that I had company during the travels. Martin, who will tell you he did 7 countries as he lives in Wales and Nicolas and Amaat from Belgium.

We arrived to a stunning sun set in Trollhättan and were lucky to see a tanker about to enter the top part of The Locks. Then it was a quick visit to the Museum to meet the SU crew and a few other welcome faces. While we were there I had to take a look at the NG 9-5 SW and have a dream.

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Convoy to October Fest, 1. Update

Convoy from Northern Germany with updated location ideas and maps.
I hope you can understand everything Red and I have tried to plan.

Puttgarden 10.55,
meet just outside the ferry terminal,
Red and I are booked onto the 11.15,
so we will join the queues at 11.00.
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Rodbyhavn,
meet and re group as we leave the ferry in the laybys,
we will leave no earlier than 12.00
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Press Release: Saab Automobile to Host Independence Day Celebration

• Factory celebration of Saab’s first year as independent company
• Live music, awards, product displays and presentations
• Launch of Saab’s latest product news, including special edition model
• 300 special edition birthday cakes

Trollhättan, Sweden: All 3,800 employees at Saab Automobile will down tools next Wednesday (23 February) to hold a huge birthday party – the first anniversary of Saab’s rebirth as an independent carmaker. They will be joined by dealers, suppliers, VIPs and media

Part of Saab’s state-of-the-art factory in Trollhättan will be converted into an entertainment arena, it will be ‘open house’ at the Saab Car Museum, and many of the town’s bars and restaurants are expected to join in the festivities as Saab Automobile celebrates its first year as an independently-run business.

The celebration will be exactly one year to the day after General Motors sold Saab Automobile to Spyker Cars N.V. of the Netherlands. When the deal was signed, new Saab Automobile Chairman Victor Muller promised his jubilant workforce that this day would be commemorated and next week he and Saab President & CEO Jan Åke Jonsson will keep their word.

The factory entertainment program includes live music sessions, video shows, presentations, awards for top suppliers, a photo competition on the theme of ‘Independence’ and the announcement of Saab’s latest product news, including a unique special edition car. A celebratory birthday cake – of which more than 300 will be produced – will be shared among all those attending.

The event will be broadcast live for screening at Saab dealerships around the world and also recorded for video distribution.

“This is our Independence Day,” said Jonsson. “We will be celebrating becoming masters of our own destiny again, being free to make our own decisions and back our own judgements.

“Saab has come a long way in the last 12 months. We’ve restructured our operations here in Sweden and around the world, we’ve introduced new ways of working, entered new markets and forged new business partnerships. We’ve also triggered the biggest new product offensive in Saab’s history with the launch of the 9-5 Sedan and the 9-4X crossover, the introduction of the 9-5 SportCombi later this year, and the arrival of a new generation 9-3 range next year.

“So we will be looking forward as well as back during our celebrations next week. We are at the beginning of a bright new future for the company.”

Saab Automobile Chairman Victor Muller added: “Saab is being reborn as an independent and entrepreneurial business. We are giving full rein to the free thinking and innovative spirit that has always been part of this company’s DNA. The celebration next week will be part of that process.

“No other carmaker has such a loyal workforce, such a loyal dealer network or such a loyal customer following. With exciting new products now on sale and in the pipeline, we have all the ingredients in place for a successful future.”

During the last 12 months, Saab Automobile’s major achievements include:

• Concentration of all design, development and vehicle production at Trollhättan
• Reorganization of engineering and technical development processes
• Introduction of a new global, Saab-controlled sales and distribution network
• Creation of new business partnerships: e-AAM Driveline Systems, BMW engine supply, 9-3 ePower electric vehicle research program with several partners
• Establishment of SES (Saab Engineering Services) as an entrepreneurial business division marketing Saab expertise
• Launch of all-new Saab 9-5 Sedan and 9-4X, Saab’s first crossover vehicle
• Introduction of 180 hp, turbo diesel 9-3 Sport Sedan with class-leading 119 g/km CO2 emissions

Report: Subaru to build Legacy and Outback in Trollhattan

UPDATE II:

OK…..

The exact nature of the story isn’t clear, but further communication indicates that there will be something going on here, relating to work being done using Saabs facilities, but nothing like cars actually being built on the site.

It seems the exact nature of the engagement will be announced later today.

UPDATE:

The initial reports spoke only of things from the Subaru side. There was no comment from Saab.

The first report mentioned was at Dagens Industri (at this URL), but they seem to have removed the report. Other services such as TTELA, Swedish Radio and SVD ran the report as well.

The initial contact that I’ve been able to make with Saab, via email, indicates that this story is most likely in error. There are further checks taking place, but right now it looks like this was a speculative report based on some comments from a Subaru executive.

If I hear anything more, I’ll let you know.

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This is just hitting the news services in Sweden…..

From TTELA:

Subaru wants to develop in Trollhättan

TROLLHÄTTAN – Japanese car giants Subaru wants to develop two of its car models in Trollhättan. The plans have been confirmed by Subaru Nordic’s CEO Torbjorn Lillrud.
Subaru plans to further develop the model Legacy and Outback for gas.

Torbjorn Lillrud stated the following to Dagens Indusri, DI:

– It is unique to a foreign car company will start manufacturing in Sweden of a model that is partly developed in Sweden.

According to DI Legacy and Outback rebuilt in Saab Automobile’s facility in Trollhättan.

Victor Muller’s very keen to drive down Saab’s break even point and increase profitability. One way to do that is to reduce costs. The other is to bring in outside revenue.

Sure beats building windmills 🙂

I’ll trace other reports and see if there’s anything more to report about this.

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