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.
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.
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.