Rearview mirror: what now?

The look back: Bloggers rearview mirror
The look back: Bloggers rearview mirror

Saab is sold and enthusiasm looks different. NEVS is the new owner of Saab Automobile AB, Saab Tools AB and Saab Powertrain AB. The purchase price, allegedly 1.8 billion crowns, is said to have been paid in cash on Friday. We will find out the exact amount by November at the latest when lawyers file their statement of account before the District Court in Vänersborg. The echo from the press and many fans is not exactly friendly. Too bad?

Let's look at the facts. We have a company called “NEVS”, about which we know little, with Kai Johan Jiang, a founder and CEO who spends most of his time in biomass and battery manufacturing and whose financial background is equally unclear. In addition, Karl-Erling Trogen, a former Volvo man, yes, of all people, Volvo, is involved. His first official act yesterday was a hearty statement to Youngman that NEVS is the true owner of the Phoenix platform.

And we have little facts and almost no answers to open questions. NEVS intends to hire 75 staff in the first step, and has made offers for it. NEVS may not use the griffin, but the name Saab. And at the turn of the year 2013 / 14, the first electric cars will come off the production line.

The use of the Saab name was also one of the few glimmers of hope yesterday. Saab AB, owner and guardian of rights, has restrictive rules when granting licenses. We can assume that the NEVS backgrounds were thoroughly examined and approved. There was a second ray of hope that might be important. But later.

But what about the big factory in the Stallbacka, how does NEVS want to produce there even more cost-effectively with the expected small quantities? What about the Saab Know How? Leading in the field of multi-fuel engines and turbo technology? What about the global sales network that still exists and the after-sales subsidiary in Nyköping, which has a better track record every month?

And what about Saab history and loyal customers? Saab has, and that's the really amazing story, a strong and loyal fan community. Put us new cars to the dealers and they will be bought! Maybe an electric car as a second car, but please a combination for daily use and as a replacement for the old Saab 9-5.

The questions are open and we cannot find any answers at the moment. Our friends in Sweden still believe that something follows and that NEVS is not the complete solution. There is the question of vehicles with conventional drives and people keep talking about the well-known Indian company. If you really want to be the legendary Phoenix at NEVS and not crash landing, then you will have to get a partner on board! A possible collaboration between the Indians and NEVS was announced a few weeks ago, and today it seems more logical and more important than ever.

Otherwise, NEVS could become a Spyker-style adventure and the Phoenix more an Icarus. What is missing to survive long periods of thirst is a strong partner with an industrial background. An automotive startup costs a lot of money. Fisker Automotive has so far invested a total of one billion US dollars, not Swedish Krona, to bring the first product to market. More rounds of funding are ongoing, and there will be plenty of money left until you can be profitable.

At NEVS I do not yet see these muscles. Okay, I'm happy for Trollhättan that there are new jobs. I am pleased that the brand at least in the approach gets a future perspective. I am also pleased that the Saab logo on the work in the Stallbacka will continue to shine. But I want an answer to open questions, and we want to see a concrete business plan. And we do not want to go up and down like Spyker.

NEVS is since the 01. September owner of Saab. The company would be well advised to use the time and flag. Now 18 months working quietly and then show a new product, in the expectation that it will be received with enthusiasm, that would be wrong. Still stands the dealer network and the fan base. But dealer networks and distribution structures can be used for other brands, and the base can turn away. Blogs can decide that the time is too bad to write for unclear relationships and nebulous strategies, everything can turn very fast.

What is left of the Saab Spirit? Are we all youngtimer drivers and fans of a brand with a great past? Will we grow old with our great cars until we get them out of the garage for a veteran meeting? Honestly, I do not know the answer.

We give investors at least one chance, everyone deserves it. We'll watch what happens over the next few days and weeks and our blog team will then decide how to proceed on this platform. In the worst of all cases, it's just a youngtimer blog with a few weekly posts, in the best case we'll write about a start of production in 18 months.

There was a glimmer of hope yesterday evening. Karl-Erling Trogen gave an interview to the Svenska Dagbladet. This had recently published a really damning assessment of the Saab situation by Jonas Fröberg, and the Trogen interview was probably a quick replica. After all, the press work seems to work, which is not unimportant. Karl-Erling let it be understood that NEVS is in negotiations with other lenders, who then acquire shares in NEVS. Who the parties are, he could not and did not want to say. The statement shows, on the one hand, that Trogen is not a dreamer and that it is clear that more partners need to get on the boat. On the other hand, it could be the trail to India and to new Saab with internal combustion engine or bio-power technology.

To throw the gun in the grain - as the saying goes - is still too early. But our patience is running out and we want facts rather than phrases. And please, very soon.

Text: tom@saabblog.net

20 thoughts on "Rearview mirror: what now?"

  • Hello Julie. If you had a conversation with Saab workers, you would know that GM was not alone in blaming it. Of course, GM had a large share but within the company Saab, there were also many problems. The GM also buys companies and brings forward but shows the acquisition of Daewoo. And they make life difficult for Opel today. What you describe as an error is actually an advantage. It shows, however, that the vehicles are very mature (long production cycles used to have all manufacturers). I agree with you that you could make the model policy better (more radical, distinctive design ect.).
    NEVES DO NOT HURT TO PRODUCE FOR THE ASIAN Mart ONLY.
    What is a fuel-guzzler in your eyes? A current Golf 6 with about 100PS needs about 100 liters on 8Km (practice value). An 9-5 aero with 260PS approx. 10 liter (practice value). In proportion: Who is the gas guzzler?

  • The fact that the SAAB vehicles have hardly been changed due to GM policy was precisely the big mistake that the non-experts made in America - what does that mean they weren't bought? This was the reason for the increasingly noticeable reluctance to buy! We know what has been going on over the past few years: GM almost starved SAAB with poor management and did not make the right decision (no 5-door hatchback models, no new design for the 9-5 for too long, no higher quality 9-1 or 9-2, hardly any marketing etc. etc. etc.)!

    The company of Kai Jiang wants to produce according to the current statements not only for the Asian market, but worldwide.

    Your last sentence is an exaggeration - all large and powerful vehicles are fuel guzzlers - including a corresponding SAAB.

  • Hello Joachim! The GM at Saab had said that is nothing new. The cars we mourn are the last 10 years also almost unchanged. They were not bought anyway.
    What exactly happened in the last 2 years, we all do not know. The fact is, unfortunately, Saab has gotten a big Immageschaden. I think we would all be happy if NEVS could do that. Only it is just hard to believe that. A Saab hybrid would be a great thing and also necessary for survival. All manufacturers have to develop something new for the future. Whether or not this makes sense, that an Asian consortium will develop and produce cars for the Asian market in Sweden remains questionable. By the way, that with the gas guzzlers is such a thing. Measured by the power (Saab Aero), the consumption is OK. That creates no German car from the years of construction of the last 12 years.

  • Why the last few years went very little has been explained in detail in the last few weeks and months - as a daughter of GM you had less and less to laugh about (until the bitter end for the time being)!

    Mother GM is now a thing of the past and with the new mother NEVS things will definitely go better after the familiarization phase in my opinion - let's just wait and see.

    I would also like to be able to buy a new vehicle from Trollhättan again (preferably a 9-3 III Hybrid) - I would prefer it to a gas-guzzling youngtimer!

  • Well, Tom, that's a daring thesis. ”Put us new Saabs at the dealers and they'll be bought”.
    Where was the “loyal Saabgemeine” in recent years? Why weren't enough Saabs bought? That's the point of the whole misery. The Saabs that we know and love will no longer exist. No matter what (if anything) comes back on the market for vehicles with Saab lettering. they will no longer have anything to do with our understanding of Saab. We drive young timers or future young timers and I think that's a good thing.

  • NEVS did not smash SAAB, that was "the Swedes" themselves.
    NEVS only takes care of the remaining crumbs - that's all there is to it.
    But if you only build your future model on visions, you should ask Helmuth Schmidt what he will advise.

  • SAAB - RIP
    rest in peace - don't mess with ...

  • Hello my friends,
    First of all, who would have thought two years ago that the oil price is where it is now. Second, if you properly follow the statistics over the past few years and decades, oil reserves are increasing from year to year. Nonetheless, due to global speculation and rising energy demand, further increases in fuel prices must be expected. Electricity will become an increasingly interesting form of energy due to solar power plants, hydropower, wind power and biomass. The future does not belong 100% to electricity, but to a considerable extent. The subject of batteries is a problem but a solvable one. So just because GM to d…. and with their own arrogance going about things the wrong way, that doesn't mean that e-cars have no future. The car market will be much more differentiated in the future. In Berlin, the share of e-cars and car-sharing models with e-cars is increasing dramatically and that is just the beginning.
    Being an entrepreneur always means having an idea and a vision and taking a risk. NEVS does that and I'm curious, even if I'm not a friend of NEVS, because they smashed my “Saab home”.

  • E-mobility should also be started slowly in European regions - if there will be no more gasoline available in approx. 15-20 years, alternatives in the truest sense of the word would have to be “experienced” extensively or tested over longer periods of time his.

    It would certainly be welcomed if conventional new SAAB models were also available in a timely manner - a broad and technically diverse program would be of great advantage, not least for NEVS, in order to be able to achieve good sales figures worldwide. For this, however, the partner brought into discussion by NEVS (and financially very well positioned) will be indispensable. Let's wait and see - but please don't buy another make right away!

  • the e - car market can still be neglected for the next few years. On the one hand
    are the prices and follow-up costs for the batteries, etc. much too high and please the electricity
    also costs money and will not be cheaper. In China, that can be different, they want in
    Nuclear power plants are investing, but this train has been lost in Germany and solar on the
    Not everyone gets the roof (environmental protection, integrity of the townscape etc etc)
    And if an internal combustion engine SAAB does not come very soon, then the one knows
    No one brand anymore, in the meantime you have taken care of otherwise.

  • Sorry, I can only fully agree with the previous speaker from Kowweläänz.
    The electricity must also come from somewhere. The batteries as well.
    Would be nice if there would soon be an affordable electric car for the city.
    I am thrilled, among others, Citroén and recently after the C-Zero (Micro-electric car identical Mitsubishi Mief or Stink or whatever that thing is called)
    At 35.150, - EURO it starts !!! For a 3,5 meter car! There is the surcharge for technology, drive and battery at least 25.000, - EURO!
    If the 12.000, - EUR would cost, solar protectors on the garage roof and it would be sunk, I would immediately join.
    How expensive should it be then almost 12 years old NEVS 9-3? 60.000, - EUR up?
    And five years later, new batteries need to be purchased for 10.000, - EUR?
    No, sorry, without me.
    The way is currently still a mistake and electric cars due to the purchase, the low residual value (by used, worn Akku's) money-killing machines.

  • Hello Peter,

    Your assumption that E-mobility is still unsaleable in large parts of the world is correct - however, in China an infrastructure is being worked on that will probably bring better conditions for electric vehicles.

    The main argument of NEVS is still the Chinese market - it is said that wealthy Chinese would like to buy high-quality e-cars and the name SAAB made in sweden would be a guarantee for good to very good sales figures.

    With all these considerations, of course, the European and American SAAB enthusiasts were largely disregarded in the future - unless, for safety's sake, SAAB models with conventional technology or possibly as a hybrid are in the pipeline.

    For the region around Trollhättan as well as for the worldwide conservative SAAB customers as well as for NEVS itself, of course, this would certainly not be a disadvantage. As a Swede with Chinese roots, Kai Johan Jiang definitely wants to sell cars from Trollhättan around the world and not just supply the Asian region. So here a broad program is required - I am sure that in the future SAAB automobiles will also be offered that are not exclusively powered by electricity.

  • Hi all,
    maybe a few (... with glee ...) have taken note of it, - GM has stopped the volt. Just why?! Nobody wants him. And not because it is / was a GM model, but because nothing can be earned with it, with the electric car. Maybe GM will be the first to show its colors before everyone else, including our politically correct auto industry. Electric drives in cars are a myth. You develop what is being subsidized. They all worked on alternative drives, the good guys and the bad guys. With the fuel cell there were problems with hydrogen storage, with the batteries with weight and range. We know that it works somehow beyond price and performance. Every company has a vehicle in its shop window that is unsuitable for everyday use, drives, looks good, is priceless and is no good. That's how it is. The alternative energies will probably soon become so expensive that the good old gasoline will become an alternative again, - or we will fill up with synthetic fuel (... from the usual corporations ...). NEVS is a dead end, if you don't manage to build conventional cars with a partner (.. preferably as SAAB, no matter which logo ...), that's it. At the moment they're kidding us. It will be a Saab with a conventional internal combustion engine, no matter what burns, or it won't be one at all. This is how it will go, no matter with which partner.
    Greetings from Koblenz.

    Peter

  • Unfortunately, there are fewer and fewer fish in the water.

    My opinion that Saab is no longer based on facts.

    Who should drive the new so-called Saab's? Certainly not the previous Saab fans.

    Regards

    Ulrich (1x 9-5 1 Bio-Power) 1X 9oo 1 Convertible, 1x 9-3 Convertible. I will not sell, but will inherit.

  • Without inside knowledge, you can really only type, but there could be something about this tip. In any case, a lot of money is still needed if you really want to build cars in significant numbers again, you get the impression M&M doesn't have that.
    At some point in the general public the reputation of the brand Saab will be gone and then only worth something for connoisseurs. If so, then you have to invest soon.

  • I believe the future belongs to electricity and if you have enough money and no baggage of legacy issues like Saab, then the concept can work extremely quickly, to the astonishment of the established ones. I also regret that our old Saab will no longer exist. I will miss the turbo. The Swedish spirit too. What is a rice cooker against the Saab tradition - a shame. The Swedes screwed it up themselves. If the Swedes prefer VW, Skoda or similar don't be surprised if Volvo and Saab go to the dogs. Out of loyalty last year, despite the many GM parts, I bought a 9.5 II AERO, which I love because of its external individuality. Will have been the last then. - right?

  • THE decision has been made - we Saab fans will not get rid of NEVS .... What will become of this “windy” business construction, the future will tell. However, I will mentally say goodbye to SAAB new cars and drive the current one to the scrap press. Sounds hard, but as you know, it can take a long time!
    Trolly greetings from the mountain goat

  • Why should it be nothing with new SAAB vehicles? It actually speaks for itself that the first new SAAB under NEVS end 2013 from the tape runs.

    Of course, it would be great if a hybrid SAAB or something similar like the Fisker (with an additional combustion engine as a so-called auxiliary engine to extend the range) were to run off the production line at the same time - a partner will certainly contribute the corresponding vehicles in Trollhättan.

    I think it's stupid to always think negatively - in my opinion, SAAB will live like the famous fish in the water!

  • I think we should look after our Saab treasures, because nothing will be more with Saab "New"

  • I have a feeling that the future NEVS partner will also come from China - namely Youngman-Lotus. After everything you have noticed, this group is much more involved than M + M. As is well known, Youngman-Lotus has also recruited engineers in Sweden to develop vehicles. This would certainly not have taken place if no further activities were planned - it would also make no sense for both parties (NEVS + Youngmann) to work on the Phoenix future in parallel and thus against each other.

    As mentioned, my guess is Youngman-Lotus rather than Mahindra - it could of course be completely wrong.

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