Saab lacks the Swedish auto industry, and many suppliers want the manufacturer from Trollhättan back into the active business. The industry has benefited for years from the fact that there were two manufacturers in Sweden. Because many innovations arose from the interplay between Trollhättan and Gothenburg and the healthy rivalry between the two brands.
After Saab has disappeared from the scene for the time being and Volvo must drive a rigid austerity course, it is for many small businesses closely. The prediction by Svenake Berglie (former CEO of the National Subcontracting Association) that the departure of Saab could jeopardize the whole industry in Sweden proves to be correct 10 months after bankruptcy filing.
Volvo called on suppliers to cut costs on Thursday, 20% within the next three years, and Volvo is cutting jobs. In addition to the already announced deletions, 300 to 400 posts will be discontinued at the end of the year depending on the source, so that more than 600 jobs around Gothenburg will be canceled altogether. Because Volvo is struggling with the problems that have brought Saab to its knees. Ford's engineering licenses are about to expire, the new V40 was Ford's last product, and Gothenburg needs to learn to stand on its own. The next 24-36 months will be tough and exciting for Gothenburg. Automobile specialists in Sweden advise to cooperate, but see only the Fiat-Chrysler Group as a potential partner.
The auto suppliers met for their annual meeting in Gothenburg last Thursday, and as you can imagine, the mood was not the best in the current era. Last year, Vladimir Antonov (who remembers the investor from Russia?) Was on the guest list to talk about the future of Saab. Antonov is a footnote in the history of Saab, and neither the Russian nor the Trollhättan brand has been hoping for the past few months. This year, NEVS had been invited to learn more about the plans in the near future. Many companies that lost large sums of money due to the departure of Saab hoped for good news and were disappointed by the absence of NEVS representatives.
The echo from the auto industry was right, and if you see it very clearly, it was devastating. A quick glance back helps to understand the frustration and the contexts. We once had a potential investor named Lotus-Youngman, who moved around the country talking to the suppliers. The Chinese, whatever they thought of them, put the plans on the table and tied the suppliers at a very early stage. With the still fresh remembrance of visitors from China, suppliers are now facing a wall of silence at NEVS.
NEVS has not had a local representative, and even with the umbrella organization of suppliers there should be no contact, believes what was said on Thursday. Everything the investor does is subject to a secrecy that does not go down well and which is strange when you plan to build cars in 18 months. The new CEO of the European supplier association CLEPAS and former PSA brand leader, Jean-Marc Gales, also found clear words that we did not like. It's sad, Gales says, that Saab did not survive. But what Spyker and Youngman are currently working together, he finds right, and he admits the future plans of Victor Muller. Muller and Youngman want to build vehicles based on Saab technology and offer them in the upper price segment.
Whether the statement from Jean-Marc Gales is based on hunch or inside knowledge, or whether it was the return coach for NEVS, everyone can decide for themselves. One thing is certain: the atmosphere is icy!
The predecessor of Jean-Marc Gales at CLEPA, Lars Holmqvist, became even more explicit towards the press. Everything is a secret, so Holmqvist, the purchase price, the business plan, and that is incomprehensible, since many companies have lost millions. These companies have a right to information. The real scandal, however, according to the former CEO, is that with Lotus Youngman an investor would have been willing to buy. Lotus Youngman would also have taken Saab Parts AB for 2.2 billion crowns, although the company was not worth the sum. Now, however, the Reichsverwaltungsverwaltung is taking over the company from Nyköping, because NEVS is not prepared to pay this sum. Tax money as a price for the acceptance of a strange investor.
The disappointment of the supplier companies is big and understandable. The suppliers are not alone. The local newspaper in Trollhättan gave a stage to Holmqvist and Gales and was the only publication in the country that extensively criticized NEVS. An indication of the mood on the ground. Because NEVS has so far only the announced job offers, it should be about the 75, out. More did not happen.
The sale of the work and the use of trademark rights by NEVS raised more questions than it answered, and the process does not seem very transparent. Who cooks a secret soup, which must be surprised about lack of enthusiasm and harsh criticism. NEVS is a construction that we keep under observation. Whether this will be a future for the brand, or whether we only write for youngtimers, that shows us the time.
One thing is clear: even with all negative signs that the suppliers see ... as long as the production facilities in Trollhättan have not been dismantled and money is flowing into maintenance, there is hope for the location. For whatever.