The SAAB saga continues 2014

Several weeks have passed since the start of production, with two new Saabs rolling off the assembly line every day. Saab is in the start-up phase, and behind the high factory fences run interesting things. The Saab story, which more and more resembles a legendary Nordic saga, is adding a new chapter. In December, National Electric Vehicle Sweden AB announced the creation of additional 100 jobs. Some are already filled, and the exciting question is which departments were filled with life.

SAAB plant in the morning sun
SAAB plant in the morning sun

Because for a certain phase I had the impression that NEVS-Saab could become a very lean event. One could, especially in Trollhättan, outsource a great deal to external companies and, in extreme cases, only retain the core competence of car production in-house. Because, theoretically, the network of small companies around the Stallbacka and Innovatum in a position to deliver a vehicle from the first to the last screw durchkonstruiert ready for production to the client.

Helpdesk and aftersales department emerge new.

420 employees at NEVS and 100 to 200 external consultants was the current number announced on Friday last week. Not all 100 new positions have been filled yet, recruiting is ongoing. The design department is growing with the new hires, and NEVS is building up its own aftersales department and its own help desk. In addition, former Saab employees came and will come back to the plant, including those who had found a new job at Volvo. If we had suspected that Orio AB, formerly Saab Automobile Parts AB, could also take over the aftersales processing for the new vehicles, that seems to be put into perspective.

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NEVS uses the warehouse in Nyköping, Orio is thus a logistics service provider, but seems to want to run the future aftersales business at least partially on its own. Maybe only for China, where Orio has no network, maybe for all markets. What that will look like in the future, whether drifting apart, what actually belongs together, that is another small business crime thriller. We will find out the solution in the next few months.

Simon Padian back to Trollhättan?

After members of the Saab design team return to Trollhättan, the name of Simon Padian keeps cropping up. The former Saab design boss recently designed the 9-5 NG and with his team the 2014er Saab 9-3. After an interlude with Hareide Design, he has been working in Gothenburg since November with Volvo's mother Geely as director of interior design.

That could have been: Saab 9-3 with hatchback. MY 2014.
That could have been: Saab 9-3 with hatchback. MY 2014.

Even if his name is mentioned again and again, it will probably be more the wish than a possible reality. Because a change back to Saab, after a short time at Geely, seems rather unrealistic. Although I would like Padian to be Saab's head of design - I would have one wish. As more and more employees return to Saab, the electric car and the “upgrade” get really exciting. In April, the first electric series Saab will be at the auto show in Beijing, and in future it will go through final assembly at the Qingdao plant in China. Nothing is known about whether the EV will also be assembled in Trollhättan and whether it will be sold in Sweden or Europe.

The Saab plant shuts down ... (but only for visitors)

What is more exciting for us is the upcoming “upgrade” and the sports suit that will appear at the same time. For a few days now it has been practically impossible for visitors to come to the plant, and corresponding inquiries have been canceled. Saab veterans know what that means. In the past, “unfamiliar eyes” were always undesirable when Saab was close to the model year change or before the introduction of new vehicles. We can therefore assume that the “upgrade models” are already on the factory premises.

Which brings us back to the inevitable engine chapter. Although we can be sure that all decisions have already been made, nothing is public. There's this long-time rumor about the old Saab engines. It's so stubborn that it could be true. Whether the legendary Saab engines will return with the Trionic, we will learn in a few weeks. The only certainty is that there will be new engines in the 9-3. This is underpinned by reports from the warehouse of the supplier industry. The Saab in Trollhättan for GM developed direct injection turbo, known from 9-3 Griffin and 9-5 NG, seems off the table. Apparently also the previous diesel engines. They should come from another European source in the future.

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We will learn the facts in the near future. There is a clear indication of this from Nyköping. At Orio, the final documentation for our vehicles was published at the end of the year. The future Saabs will therefore differ significantly from what is in our garages. From now on, NEVS-Saab is responsible for the new documents for owners and workshops. In the future, they will document what the service partners and Saab drivers need for the new vehicles. Quite an unspectacular task, actually. And yet exciting. Because this department already knows the engines, the equipment options and - very exciting - the languages ​​in which the documentation is written. We have to wait because nobody will tell us a word in advance and keep it tight. As always.

Text: tom@saabblog.net

Pictures: saabblog.net

 

13 thoughts on "The SAAB saga continues 2014"

  • Yes, a new 9000, that would be a dream! But as Detlef writes, with a minimum of electronics as far as that is possible today. If you don't have that on board, you're with the “experts” and the (specialist?) Press as below, even if it's pointless ballast.
    I was in intensive driving safety training with my old 9000 in October. There he was by far the oldest car in the group and had to compete against current models, he has done well. In some exercises, he came through faster than the ESP braked new cars.
    I was really all evening, my age had that day just a little more thirsty than usual and has for once slipped into the double-digit consumption area, otherwise everything was OK!

  • So if everyone had paid attention by design, everyone would have noticed that NEVS had / has an old 9 3V turbo in the showroom ahead of the presentation of the new 900-16. That says already, where NEVS / SAAB at least want to go with the design and away from the style ala GM and Co in the past. As far as the engines are concerned, I'd like an engine from BMW for the diesel (if there's still going to be one), the petrol engine (with and without turbo) either also from BMW or even from Volvo. The latter wanted or had talks been held for a collaboration with SAAB, as we all hopefully still know? Why should not that work between Geely (Volvo's main owner) and Nevs (Saab), since both are Chinese?

  • It will take a few years until a really new vehicle arrives, so there is still the hope that you will remember Scandinavian design.
    Form follows function has unfortunately become a thing of the past, today design has become an end in itself. Senseless folds are pressed into the sheet metal because technology can do it today, in contrast to the unimaginative designer, whose creativity is limited to these “graphic sheet metal decorations”. Huge glass surfaces that are only mock-ups because the black printing only leaves viewing slits, because behind the supposed window surfaces there is sheet metal and plastic. The all-round visibility of modern cars has reached the level of the 30s.
    Whether all-round visibility, or chassis, thanks to electronics, the lousiest construction is deduced. That, the whole gel pool brings a lot of weight together, you can see the ever-increasing weights, despite lightweight construction.
    It would be nice and desirable if Saab would come back here. Simple, functional design that offers the best in every respect, even without electronics, and only uses these modern aids where they bring improvements that cannot be achieved conventionally.

    A small manufacturer has to stand out from the crowd, otherwise he has no chance, a simple Scandinavian design could be a way. The takeover of an American design line like the 9-5 II, I consider the wrong way, for me are the designs of Padian, the ugliest and most unthinkable what I have seen so far. A handful of design quotes from 99, combined with carriage wagon wheels. A little more courage would be desirable for the design.

    A very bad sign would be the old Saab engines, not because I consider the engines bad, but because Baic / Senova is a direct competitor and markets itself as a descendant of Saab. If these engines came, it can be assumed that there are financial ties to Baic, which should not mean a long-term future for the location Trollhättan.
    Fiat as an engine supplier, I would have sympathy, that would also fit, Subaru, probably does not fit into the current layout, unfortunately! Already around 50 years, these engines, or their precursor u. a, failed due to lack of installation space.

    As Tom wrote, the exhibition in Beijing is probably intended for the debut of Elektro-Saab. The spring ends in June. In May and June the production of the new vintage has always been the same. The engine issue will probably be solved with the presentation of the vintage 2015.

    That means we will still need patience, hopefully there will be some good news in between, especially desirable for the nerves in this thriller. For example, I would like this message: Production of the 9-3 for 2014 sold out !!!

  • I am actually very surprised that Saab and NEVS are masonry like this. When I take a look at the computer industry, employees are registered in forums and they “secretly” write information in the forum. Of course, all of this is planned so that you can keep potential customers interested or arouse curiosity.

    As for the 2014 9-3 - i.e. the study - I like the design very much, which is probably due to the fact that in my opinion the 9-5 II - especially as a sports combo - the most beautiful car (after a 64-66 Ford Mustang) is what was ever built. It would be interesting, however, whether NEVS was allowed to take over the design. Because as far as I know, GM parts are not allowed to be used. However, a design study is not a component, which is why I don't know who owns the rights to it. But shouldn't the update be based on the Phoenix study - or rather the successor? If that were the case, that would mean that NEVS owns / could own the rights to the study and possible derivations.

    As for the engine question - nothing new in the north. But as long as the engines are economical. Why the Trionic should be missing is a mystery to me. In principle this is just the engine control unit and doesn't ALL control units monitor or regulate the ignition, fuel injection and turbocharger control at the same time? I am also not aware of the advantages of an ion current for detecting ringing / knocking and synchronization. But in principle there is nothing to prevent NEVS from developing or adapting corresponding control units and then calling them TRIONIC.

  • EXACTLY, an 9000er NG II 🙂

    Next model then please an 9-1er! Sell ​​bulk AND class!

  • So the Christkind has just done his duty, and now has a break again, but facelift, station wagon and new engines should be yes in the spring. I would rather seek contact with the Easter bunny.

  • In order to be able to score fully with consumers in the future (regardless of whether it is a pure combustion engine, hybrid or electric version), the new generation of vehicles would definitely have to be typically SAAB in terms of design - actually, the Pedian lines were already too American and therefore had a slightly effect bulky and misshapen.

    As a typical SAAB should now finally see again a homogeneous 5-door hatchback sedan well below five meters in length with normal rear side windows of the world. This should be feasible on the PHOENIX platform for a good designer!

    In my opinion, the engine question is secondary. Here I trust NEVS completely. The right engine manufacturer will be selected - my favorites would be top engines from the Fiat group.

  • So I think that all sounds good. As a small manufacturer with no real genetic makeup (they were either sold or were confiscated by GM) Saab / Nevs has to concentrate on something. I think the idea of ​​building independent cars, but buying engines and transmissions from other manufacturers, for example, is an excellent idea. The EVERYTHING DECISIVE will be by whom! Here you have to hope that there is still enough Saab Spirit that Saab / Nevs is aiming for more “individual solutions” and does not get into the flooded waters of a large manufacturer where you would always get the B-goods anyway.

    If it is allowed, here is my wish to Santa: Subaru!

    Yeah, it went wrong, but only because the 9-2 not in Europe but in the US offered. Otherwise bring Subaru cutting-edge technology that can be packaged great and individually enough to make the Saab aficionados this world happy. In addition, there would be a clear range of (excellent) engines and TURBOs for petrol engines.

    Um, so if someone knows the Christ Child ...

  • Since my text is perhaps misleading. The future Saabs will therefore be significantly different from what is in our garages is purely technical 🙂

  • Despite all the brand loyalty, I have the feeling that we are at the end of the “Scandinavian thought” at SAAB.
    No Trionic anymore, spectacular designs, no useful and practical details anymore or what should the extra-wide C-pillar be? Form follows function has apparently done.
    At the top of the text it is very clear “The future Saabs will therefore differ significantly from what is in our garages”.
    Well in the end it remains to be seen, but you don't have to celebrate and approve of everything that is new, see the 9-5 II, “a well-sucked Buick” was once written, the steering wheel was already Opel!
    Personally, apart from the HuD, I personally could not find anything Scandinavian / Saab typical about the car.

    That's why I hope for all of us loyal here the best, thumbs up!

  • If you are brave enough and hig end classy then please with the 9-3 design by Eduard Gray
    The location would be dramatic enough for exceptionally good design.

  • Exciting, exciting. Padian back would probably be a dream. The SAAB saga is better than any thriller

  • Oh dear, what a tension at the beginning of the week! The view to Trollhättan remains so (as always) interesting! And about S. Padian in the design department. I would be happy !!!
    Good week and careful: From now on it will be smooth in the morning !!!

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