The interview was almost 4 weeks ago, and I almost missed the link, as always with an overflowing mail account. NEVS-Saab Purchasing Manager Per Svantesson spoke to the news portal "Just Auto" during the supplier conference of the Swedish auto industry. Three statements from the interview let us look a little deeper into the self-image of Saab owner NEVS and are good to know, even if you don't want to be a fan of electromobility.
1. "... will be" leading "EV producer by 2020 ..."
The focus is on China, which has long been clear, because the trends are set in Asia. BMW does and is at the forefront with its electric cars. Munich is very reluctant to make forecasts, but 8.000 to 9.000 BMW i3 units have already been ordered. But the benchmark comes from the USA. Tesla is expected to sell more than 23.000 all-electric vehicles this year - and there could be more.
Because Tesla has a problem that torments the industry, but NEVS-Saab doesn't have it. There is a lack of batteries. Higher delivery quantities have been agreed with partner Panasonic, but these are only a drop in the ocean. Tesla is diverting vehicles from North America to Europe so that the biggest bottlenecks can be removed. That is not a solution, as was recognized last week. If the "little Tesla" comes with the designation "X", a vehicle in Saab 9-3 size, then you will set up your own battery production.
NEVS produces its own batteries, so it is one step ahead of BMW and Tesla. With the Saab 9-3 as the basis for a purely electric vehicle, as Svantesson says, you have an inexpensive basis, but also - of course - a compromise.
2. "... competing with Tesla ..."
The benchmark is Tesla, and you see yourself in direct competition with the Americans. Purchasing Manager Per Svantesson has been in the industry for a long time, and I attach much importance to his statements. In other words, I assume he knows what he's saying. It is clear that both the Tesla S and the Saab 9-3 are elegant vehicles that show that electric drive and good design are not necessarily mutually exclusive.
I have not driven a Tesla S yet, which can be changed, but two things have been noticed at the first contact during the Geneva Motor Show. There are the materials and the processing in the interior, which do not fit the vehicle class and price. It has always been better in Trollhättan, but perhaps there were US models in Geneva, and what comes to Europe is of a higher quality. A point for NEVS, maybe, but a second point could be more important.
The Tesla is dominated by a 17 ″ monitor and there are no switches in the interior apart from the usual control levers. Okay, I'm more of an analogue person in this regard, because I'm from the computer industry and I'm happy to be able to move a vehicle with less technology to compensate. But buyers of an electric car who feel like an avant-garde automobile expect more. To score here, NEVS-Saab would have to radically revise the 9-3 interior, and maybe they do, which would explain why it takes a little longer for their debut in Sweden.
3. "We are a company without any debts ..."
Perhaps the most important and most beneficial sentence in the interview by Per Svantesson! NEVS-Saab has been investing large sums of money for months and paying for them out of their own pockets. We had already considered whether the money comes from Chinese banks or from the state. It does not, and NEVS seems to be a very healthy and, above all, independent event.
Maybe the best in decades! There was the owner GM. The Americans switched from quarterly report to quarterly report and still do so today. There was never room for long-term investments in this system, and nobody wanted to allow Saab to set up for a few years. Then Victor Muller followed with Spyker. Right from the start he was a driven man who - although full of ideas and energy - only started with liabilities and who had no chance.
Now there is NEVS. Debt Free! With power plants in China, with our own battery production and with access to the seventh largest power grid in the world. With the will to build strong products, not just battery-powered. Apparently with deep pockets that allow you to go your own way and allow yourself the time necessary to build up the brand. While people in Gothenburg take out credit for credit because the Chinese owner does not want to invest any money, a concept is running in Trollhättan that couldn't be more contradictory.
The investor is deeply relaxed because there are no banks and no pushing shareholders in the background. From this perspective, NEVS is probably the best Saab owner of the last 20 years. Did I really write that? That's the way it is.
Images: Richard (1), saabblog.net (2)