SAAB News: Visit to Trollhättan - and NEVS News

Reader's contribution from Oliver to the Saab event in Trollhättan and to the situation in the Saab city.

Actually we had to cancel Sweden for the rest of the year with a heavy heart from the diary. Only in March was again planned a trip to the far north. But sometimes coincidence plays into the cards. This time in the form of a Saab event that we did not want to miss: Saabsunited invited to the 2. Oktoberfest.

Back home: Saab 900 in front of the factory

Last year we were there too. In sunny weather and temperatures up to 24 degrees the journey in the Viggen Cabrio was a real and unexpectedly beautiful extension of the North German summer. Since we had so many nice memories of the event 2011, we could not resist. Spontaneously ferry and hotel for the extended weekend trip to Trollhättan were booked.

We took the ferry in Kiel on Wednesday evening and docked in Gothenburg on Thursday morning with a blue sky and bright sunshine. This time the old SAAB 900 Sedan (built in 1981) was our travel agent of choice. Shortly beforehand, he did a thorough check-up and was ready for the trip to his old home. He transported us through Sweden extremely comfortably and reliably.

Saab 900 back home

Especially on the Swedish country roads it is really fun to drive this SAAB. You realize: here he is at home!
Ok, an 8V turbo without APC and an aged Borg-Warner 3-speed automatic isn't particularly economical - and it's not necessarily a dynamic car. But it didn't matter. On the contrary. It is a comfortable cruiser and we wanted to be “decelerated”.

We drove the Gothenburg - Trollhättan route with planned detours, along the coast and over the many small and large islands. This feeling was immediately there: Vacation in Sweden! This calm. Look into the endless expanse, over the deep blue water of the archipelago, the colorful forests of the Swedish “Indian Summer”… Wonderful!

Sweden in autumn: wonderful!

At the center of our trip was the Saabsunited Oktoberfest. We looked forward to the friends, to many interesting discussions with nice Saab drivers.

First it went to Saab-City. Although every time I visit Trollhättan - the last one was changed at the end of March this year, when the SAAB Museum reopens - the view of the orphaned factory in Stallbacka is always a bit depressing. In the middle of the huge parking lot, where hundreds of new cars were waiting to be delivered to dealers all over the world in the better years, stood a row of (partly) dismembered cars. Many, but also, who looked "normal". Whether new or already used, one could not recognize.

The Saab factory

Unhappy also the mighty blue-silver pylon, which once proudly bore the logo with the griffin. Today, instead of the round logo, an unworthy silver foil sticks to the column. After all, the name SAAB is still omnipresent.
In this regard, the VOLVO-Aero Corporation was hit worse right next door. The lettering on the factory halls has disappeared, you can only see the SAAB letters when you drive over the high bridge and look at the industrial area. The VOLVO lettering has also been blurred on the surrounding street signs. Unlovingly and provisionally, mostly with black tape that looks like a black ribbon ...

Mourning pile in Trollhättan

With the SAAB in Trollhättan: Of course, the obligatory photos had to be taken again. The sedan in front of the factory gate, the sedan in front of the lettering on top of the factory building, the sedan in front of the SAAB lettering at the entrance to the Stallbacka ...
I think the Swedes have become accustomed to the somewhat crazy photo sessions of the Saab drivers.

At the Saab plant

Just in time for the Saab event on Saturday, Trollhättan left the beautiful weather. It was getting cold, windy and rainy. The uncomfortable weather can not deter a true Saab driver. So a lot of them came in the graphitvägen 4, where ANA (formerly SDCC) had loaded with interesting bargains for parts shopping. Insanity offers - if you would drive a new 9-3 or 9-5, really great stuff at very reasonable prices. But for me - my youngest SAAB is from 2000 - this year was nothing. Unfortunately.

The used parts market that was there last year also did not take place this time. That would have compensated me for the lack of shopping at ANA. But then I saved a lot of money. You always buy parts that you don't actually need at the moment - but it is sooo good when you have them - in case you need them at some point. You never know…

SAAB parts market at ANA

Well, back to the event:

Of course, the event also included the fact that ANA offered hot prices for new and used cars. Interesting cars were parked in the yard, opposite the now empty old building complex at the “ANA roundabout”. Among other things, a brand new 9-5. Just 400 km on the speedometer. It could make you weak ...

At 16 p.m. we went to the museum. A very promising round of talks was waiting here, which I will not go into further because, disappointingly, due to the poor acoustics, hardly anything could be heard. So we left the group - to have a look around the Saab Museum undisturbed and almost alone. Always a dream! It's good that this unique collection has been preserved and that it was not scattered to the four winds by the auction last year!

Anniversary rims: ANA parts market

However, it became extremely exciting when Mattias Bergmann, the announced representative of the NEVS, gave a lecture on the future of SAAB at NEVS. Bergmann told a lot of interesting things - and also quite optimistic positively sounding.
Not necessarily positive, in relation to the “Spirit of SAAB” as we have known it so far - and which many of us are so keen to get back. But NEVS, whose parent company National Modern Energy Holding Ltd. is (100% owner of NEVS), has been intensively involved in the generation of renewable energies since 2004. And you are quite ambitious when it comes to the Elektro-SAAB project. The “vision”, as they call it themselves, of NEVS: becoming the world's leading manufacturer of electrically powered vehicles.

Saab Museum

In any case, something is moving in Stallbacka. They have been active for 5 weeks after the contract was signed. Since then, around 100 employees have been hired. The press shop, even if it is obviously “only” rented at the moment, runs to press body parts. Bergmann announced almost pathetically: Production is again in Stallbacka! Which triggered a somewhat euphoric applause from the guests present. You could tell that everyone was feverish for positive reports - no matter how small ...

NEVS plans to launch the Electric Vehicle-18 “EV-9” in 3 months on the basis of the 2012-1 (MY 1). Later there are plans to develop an EV-2 on the Phoenix platform modified for electric vehicles, the rights of which NEVS also acquired, according to Bergmann.
NEVS is building on three cornerstones for the future with the SAAB brand name: Design and Production in Sweden. The innovative technology will come from Japan. China is contributing to its ability to implement a progressive initiative for sustainable transportation solutions.

The aim of the SAAB electric vehicles is initially for 80% of the Asian market, mainly China and Japan. But in a graph, the countries USA, Germany, France, Spain - and to a tiny extent, which Bergmann should not have missed, Sweden - are called.

Future: Saab EV-1

At the top of the business plan of NEVS obviously with a manageable development effort, by using the 9-3 as a basis, to quickly generate revenue or profit, before venturing into other waters - such as hybrid solutions. Although hybrid is currently not an issue for NEVS, so Bergmann.

The NEVS representative had fairly sovereign answers to visitors' questions. If not always those who were satisfied or happy with the SAAB community present.

When asked about the usability of an EV-1 in the rural expanse of Scandinavia - with long distances and few charging options - a Norwegian does not want to hear that NEVS is primarily concentrating on the densely populated Asian market, whose conurbations need to be relieved and offer optimal terrain for EVs due to the shorter distances and better charging options.

And even a British SAAB fan, when asked what NEVS would do to support the many Saab clubs and the large, strong and loyal Saab community, only got an apparently less satisfactory answer: one had to First concentrate on the new core business and the establishment of the “new” brand and its products before you can become active here. NEVS is aware, however, that Saab drivers are characterized by a very strong brand loyalty. Bergmann even presented a survey graphic on which the brand loyalty of Saab drivers ranked higher than other premium brands.

It was noticed that “Mr. Diplomacy ”from NEVS has signaled at the end of almost every one of his comments that NEVS is very important to the SAAB community and that SAAB's good reputation worldwide as a premium brand and the“ Spirit of SAAB ”are very much appreciated. That is also one of the reasons why one wants to use this excellent brand name.
When asked about the future availability of an electric SAAB, for example in Sweden, the answer was positive / neutral: Of course, you also want to serve the European market with EVs, but for the time being only in more homeopathic quantities. In response to the many questions relating to a hybrid solution that sounded obvious to most of those present, he said that the focus of NEVS was primarily on the pure e-segment. But the door would be open to other options.

I got the impression that NEVS wanted to let us know that you want to establish yourself before you can spray a little bit of “Spirit of SAAB”. In any case, I found it impressive that NEVS answered a very small group of people (approx. 130) - who will probably not necessarily belong to their target group in the foreseeable future either.

However, somehow the feeling that NEVS had temporarily passed something of "us", the classic Saab driver, forced me to get lost. But not without announcing that SAAB and also the plant in Trollhättan will continue to exist. Although without the gripper, even without the vehicles, as we knew and love them so far - but certainly with the old and good name SAAB, which will continue to stand for innovation, design and premium in the future.
Perhaps in a few years, when hybrid and electric vehicle technology has developed and also established itself in Europe, there will also be a new SAAB for us again ...

Anyway. We have to wait and see what the future holds. Waiting to see what NEVS can actually do, how it will be in the future around the Trollhättan production facility.

Swedish impressions

For me personally, the statements of the NEVS representative Bergmann have taken some tension out of the matter. The fear - or more the secret hope that the 9-5 or the 9-4x maybe still be built, that there will be the 9-5 but still as a sports suit, has settled at least for me for now.

But on the other hand, the rumor mill continues to cook on a hot flame. And especially at an event where many SAAB insiders are, you can hear particularly interesting:

The name Mahindra & Mahindra is mentioned again and again.

There is even talk of the "de-GMization" of the existing models - supposedly it would not mean so much effort because many parts come from suppliers such as Bosch anyway, the design after the bankruptcy of SAAB back to the Designer should have fallen. In this regard, check the legal situation ...

I dare to doubt that such an effort for a vehicle such as the 9-5 is still worthwhile. Because eliminating all GM parts takes time. And if you count on the timekeeping of the automotive industry, the new is already getting old in the meantime, even if Saab drivers there are painless. But the classic Saabfahrer alone is not enough as a potential buyer to survive. That's what the past has shown.

All of these rumors are not necessarily good. After all, they are fueling hope again and igniting the most insane discussions. But on the other hand, such discussions are also attractive. We can let our imagination run wild. And what would we be without our SAAB imagination ...

As already written above, we will have to wait (again). As Tom always says so beautifully: The story of SAAB is far from over. And I think that the SAAB story is still good for absolutely EVERY surprise ...

Pictures and text: Oliver for saabblog.net

8 thoughts on "SAAB News: Visit to Trollhättan - and NEVS News"

  • THANK YOU for the informative article and THANK YOU for the fantastic autumn impressions from the motherland of the SAAB! The week can go on like this ...
    And there are still a lot of chic rims in Troll City! ... I need some for the winter! I think I'll think harder again….
    SAABy week

  • What Bratzel + Co. is saying doesn't necessarily have to be right - they weren't always right in the past either!

    In addition, it has not yet been clarified whether SAAB will also manufacture hybrid vehicles in the future - just wait for the future without a negative perspective.

  • “... According to CAM forecasts, however, the share of conventionally powered cars will drop to a market share of 2025 percent by 75, while hybrid drives will increase their share to around 20 percent in the same period. According to the experts, pure electric cars will remain a niche: their market share is expected to be around 2025 percent by 5. …" (Source: http://auto.t-online.de/moderne-motoren-vw-bmw-und-mercedes-laut-studie-am-innovativsten/id_60398324/index) ... and NEVS wants to earn money with it? In the meantime I am more and more convinced that the country of Sweden had probably hoped to at least secure the survival of VOLVO by winding up SAAB. The surviving tech. Offices and startups can offer their innovations on the open market and thus generate jobs and the SAAB label can once again be used for automotive innovations. Maybe it will be worth it later! -> sounds like frustration somehow? Maybe I had to do with “especially nice customers” today.
    I am happy that I chose the 9-3II SC this summer. Absolutely no comparison to the “wind car” from the largest German mass manufacturer. The driving comfort is so high for us that every trip is actually much too short. Even if I see at least 1 SAAB almost every day in Dresden and the surrounding area, it is still not a mass-produced car. And especially in our stronghold for car sash, I will hopefully benefit from its high level of conspicuity.
    So, I'm going to change now, from office chair to SAAB seat, and will enjoy the ride between my remaining appointments.

  • SAAB Automobile is the biggest bankruptcy case in the last 20 years in Sweden. The lawyers have to give an account of what they are doing. So I assume that everything has its Tichitgkeit. Even though I am not so happy with this development.

  • The most important thing is that it continues. It's just a cut and has nothing to do with our SAAB as we know it. Things change. But that does not spoil the fun of my SAAB

  • After a long time a very informative and comprehensive report here on the blog - thank you for that.

    I assume that priority will initially be given to the construction of pure electric vehicles - not least because of the state subsidies promised for this segment.

    However, in order to reach broader groups of buyers outside of Asia, so-called conventional technology - at least hybrid technology - will certainly play a role again at SAAB in the next few years.

    I'm already very excited about the new design of the upcoming vehicles. Is Jason Castriota playing here again or do you fall back on well-known designers - for example Einar Hareide (who designed the 9-5 I)?

    Greetings from Hamburg

  • More than thanks to the “Saabblog”. Simply a super article,
    to grasp the correctly read 5 times
    too little appears.
    .
    Must deepen myself, but later, job has priority now.
    .
    But one question very much torments me, namely, someone can enlighten
    In what way or because of its benefits, NEVS has the
    Surcharge for Saab received. Or have others waved off. can
    but do not be that a group, even if they are specialist lawyers,
    decide on such an important and strategic thing to
    the Saab with internal combustion engine and turbo, continue to build or
    Not. They also have sewing machines called Saab
    can punch. Who gave the last amen here? Is that everything
    right so what did young man and mahindra do all the time
    They wanted to build cars with petrol or hybrid again.

    I miss a proper strategic and commercial education,
    who can help.

    And the sentence that we, the fans of which Saab alone does not live
    can not care much about the NEVS.

    Could the further production of the 9-4, 9-5, etc. have been able to throw off enough?
    to pass. Or had everything been dead-dead for a while?

    Thank you friends and greetings from Frankfurt.

  • Thank you for the detailed report. For the pictures of autumn Sweden, I would like to turn off the computer immediately and out into nature. And not to forget, the sedan looks great and well maintained!

    The comments about and from NEVS confirm my opinion that they just wanted to buy a name for some product (and have little to do with the “rest”).

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