The Swedes love harmony. Unpleasant things are avoided until the problem is resolved - one way or another. But what doesn't always work ... Svenska Dagbladet (SvD) has recently been illuminating the future of the auto industry in Sweden. The Volvo perspective is critically questioned. But not without pointing out the slightest improvement in the situation - you are very Swedish. You were always fair to Saab, even in the darkest of times, to dedicate a very comprehensive article to the brand. What was read there a little over a week ago is interesting. But not as we hoped.
It is primarily about the start of production, which was announced to the media for the fall. There was also an article with the headline "NEVS breathes life into (the old) Saab". According to SvD Information, Saab 2.0 will start with a very small production team. The 100 or so employees that have been sought in the last few weeks will start with the Saab 9-3 Cabriolet in the fall, according to SvD. GM products are ruled out as motorization; according to newspaper information, engines from Fiat or BMW or from a Chinese source will be used.
Most of the production should go to China. But it should be possible to purchase vehicles from previous Saab dealers in Sweden. The numbers will remain manageable. The first electric Saab will arrive in spring 2014, also based on the old 9-3. According to SvD, NEVS had bigger problems with the suppliers. Many companies do not want to differentiate between Saab old and Saab new and struggled with the supply contracts. They are still "burned" by the events of the Muller era. According to a newspaper source, Saab 2.0's payment term is only 30 days, which is a very short target for the auto industry.
The medium-term future is viewed with skepticism. In Quindao - the city has a 22% stake in NEVS - a new plant will be created in the form of a joint venture, which will each belong to half of the municipality and NEVS. The process is ongoing and will take three to five years, and the focus will shift from Sweden to China. Because, says SvD, whoever believes that research and development will remain in Trollhättan is wrong. Quingdao will gain influence at the expense of the location in Sweden. Funding - questionable. The business plan - as well.
After all, it will be crucial to achieve a positive cash flow through larger production volumes. When that will be, Mattias Bergman from NEVS could not or did not want to answer the SvD. So Svenska Dagbladet had only one thing left in the following commentary: to wish NEVS good luck.
Commentator Nils-Olof Ollevik noted that NEVS survived for almost a year - without building a single car. He hopes that many more will follow as sales increase. He sees the future of NEVS in China if everything goes well. And it depends on lots and lots of money. NEVS will have to take over 1.2 billion euros in hands for the Saab rebirth. A sum that is probably true, because we have heard similar things from other sources. From a Swedish perspective, the result will be unsatisfactory. If the story ends well, it will be a success for Quingdao. If the thing fails, Trollhättan will be hit the hardest.
Disappointed with the article about the start of production? Certainly, because somehow we imagined it with a little more vigor. Which is not due to the SvD. The magazine is conservative - serious, and what we get to read is the result of research and publicly available facts. No more - no less. It is difficult to say whether all things will be so, but the article shows a situation created by the information policy in Trollhättan. Presenting cautious hints and small truths is not a good thing and can do the opposite. These facts do not inspire future employees or potential new car buyers.
Only months before you want to sell something, press work should not look like that! Where the question is, if you want to sell something. Apparently, one sets with full seriousness on sales as a service fleet at shareholder Quingdao. What a business model!
Another problem came up at SvD: the search for a new, permanent CEO for NEVS. So far it has been (apparently) unsuccessful. Who is surprised? In this case, it can only get better. NEVS has failed to build an image in its home country Sweden in the past few months. You have taken over a large, traditional European brand, but behave as if you had bought a neighbor's chip shop. That can not be ! A campaign based on the motto “We are here and will build great cars again from 2014” or “The Saab story continues - the legend lives” would have helped. NEVS and the brand would have remained visible and everyone in Sweden would have known what the investor stands for.
After a good year at NEVS, the profile is still unclear. In the best case scenario, as a Chinese investor with unclear ambitions, you can get away with it. The owners are now presented with the receipt. Important positions for the start of production are being advertised for the third or fourth time. Meanwhile with the note "urgent", which sounds kind of pleading. How attractive is NEVS as an employer? The vote takes place with the feet, and the current result is a clear Watschn (High German = slap in the face) for NEVS. Because fewer applicants than expected find their way to the main portal in the Stallbacka. One should take the signs seriously in Trollhättan and adjust the course. There is still time!
Image: Richard for saabblog.net