We have a summer hole, or do not we have a summer hole? The Swedish press has reconquered the Saab theme and as announced, the economic news of the last days comes in a summary. That the Saab affair is not over yet and that absolutely nothing is in the famous dry towels is getting clearer and clearer. Everything is open, but it will not be good. The story will not end until the administrators close the books. But still it is not so far. The thriller continues.
Who owns the PhoeniX platform?
There are currently two or three parties in dispute over the rights to the PhoeniX platform. NEVS claims the rights for itself and also Lotus Youngman. In return for a payment of 650 million crowns, Victor Muller transferred in September the rights of the platform, which has not yet been completed, to the Chinese. But not completely, so countered Muller, because Youngman did not pay the full amount. But for Youngman attorney Nylèn the matter is clear. Youngman is the owner of the platform.
A Saab insider thinks he can remember that the agreements were about “non-exclusive rights”. Which could be true. Because Muller also wanted to sell the rights to Turkish investors. This means that both NEVS and Youngman could be in possession of the unfinished platform. And maybe a third party soon. Mahindra is still or is already in discussion and the platform is also the topic for the Indians in general.
Youngman is looking for employees
Youngman himself has not yet buried his ambitions and is looking for both Volvo in Gothenburg and Trollhättan for development engineers to bring the PhoeniX platform to series maturity. The told Youngman lawyer Johan Nylèn yesterday the Gothenburg post. The vehicle is to be finished in Sweden and then produced somewhere in the world, maybe in China, maybe not. Moreover, according to Nylèn, the contracts with NEVS are only provisional. You never know what will happen in the next few weeks.
Notes on NEVS
NEVS has now become known to have a law firm familiar with the Saab Act as its legal advisor. Lars-Henrik Andersson from the law firm Lindahl, who acted for a short time as the successor to the hapless administrator Lofalk, works for NEVS. Among other things, the law firm specializes in the use of naming rights. So far it seemed clear that Saab AB did not want to allow the use of the “Saab” brand. Meanwhile, a new variant is circulating in Sweden. As a licensee, NEVS would pay the rights holders a decent million amount over a period of 10 years.
Kai Johan Jiang himself does not seem to be able to believe that he was awarded the Saab estate. In an interview with the Caixin media group in Beijing, he said that “13 multinational corporations” had offered for Saab. Even his, as he says, low bid, has surprised him. In 10 years he could make Saab a profitable electric car manufacturer, he says.
It is not good for vehicle construction in Sweden. Saab has disappeared from the scene, the work has been quiet for more than a year. In neighboring Göteborg, nothing works out which would be good. Swedish friends see drama pull 2.0 up.
Gloomy prospects for Volvo
The other Swedish car brand feels the breath of the pursuers on the neck - on the home market. In June the Swedish market fell 7%, but Volvo lost almost twice as much as its competitor at 12%. Contrary to the trend, Volkswagen grew by 31% and sold 4.393 new cars. With 4.625 vehicles, Gothenburg was able to maintain a very narrow lead.
A look back: 10 years ago, VW sold 23.752 cars a year in Sweden. Volvo, however, 68.779. Today Volvo has a market share of 18,7% and the Wolfsburg-based company is close at 15,34%. Volkswagen understood and played a clever niche policy in Sweden. Ethanol and LPG models that we do not get in Germany - because Wolfsburg believes that we have to burn fossil fuels - are attractively priced and promoted as an environmental car. With an all-wheel drive offensive you meet domestic needs and Volvo has little to counter that. The Swedes' driving force, the V70, is already 5 years old.
At Volvo the world still seems fine, but only at first sight. But the engineering licenses with Ford are phased out and the EIB loan is due by the end of the year. The need for capital is enormous and investment in China could prove to be a flop for political reasons. In the boardroom is ice age between Sweden and Chinese. Volvo is facing a problem that is becoming acute. The Volvo press department has now, at odds, announced that the belts in Gent and Torslanda will be stopped. They want to produce 8000 cars less than planned.
Chaos in the remnants of Saab, bad prospects for Volvo. Not a good future for a region dependent on vehicle construction. Let's hope for better times.