We were traveling from the north gate, where Saab Parts AB has its offices, towards Trollhättan. "What's going on there ...?" Mark asked as we came across a camouflaged, small SUV coming from the main portal. Spontaneous acceleration, the good Nikon that luckily accompanied me almost everywhere I was still in my hand, and off we went.
The driver of the SUV was at least as surprised as we were and instead of disappearing further in the direction of the Hunneberg reserve, he turned into the street between the plant and the airfield. A mistake. In the direction of Hunneberg he would have driven away from us, on the (almost) dead-end street between the airport and the test track he was due to be shot down. The prototype didn't stand a chance and before it could turn, pictures of the front and rear were in the box. And Mark's offspring in the back seats must have thought their part about the crazy ones in the front seats.
A decommissioned car plant is a good location for development work. Because no journalist in the world is interested in it and how confident the test drivers feel is the fact that prototypes without any escorts are in the area around Trollhättan. General Motors, the former Saab owner, still seems to appreciate Sweden's competence. Vicura and Saab Powertrain work, not only, for the Americans. Some of this money flows into the coffers of the administrators.
Trollhättan is active mainly in the field of consumption and emission optimization, but also in gearbox development. In the past, expertise has been proven over and over again, such as the world's most powerful environmental diesel, which was the benchmark for the competitor with 119 g / km CO2 in 9-3 Griffin. At that time, this project was developed in silence and against the resistance from Rüsselsheim. At Opel, the project was considered impossible at that time and sent the Swedes home.
The fact that GM still assigns works to Trollhättan shows us how the in-house competence is assessed. Our prototype is a Chevrolet Traxwhich will roll out to dealers in 2013. The Opel Mokka is the derivative with the lightning bolt, Trax, Mokka and the structurally identical Buick Encore are produced in South Korea.
Of course, the largest quantities will be the Trax. That Chevrolet is the GM world brand and Opel only a local label, you can now see in Sweden. In the meantime, every middle-sized town has a Chevrolet dealer and in road traffic, the perceived number of modern Chevrolets surpasses that of the Opels many times over.
Saab competence in the future in a Buick, Chevrolet or Opel. GM has benefited a lot from Swedish engineering in the past and still does. But not only. Volvo also works in Trollhättan, as well as Jaguar and Land Rover.
For the location Trollhättan and the developers on site a good signal. We see it and are happy for the small friendly town in Västragötland. But we also had a crying eye. Because Mark and I would rather have a prototype with the griffin in front of the camera.