Saab Electric Car (Part 2)

The last witnesses of the Saab e-Power Concept are still with us. Even in places where we would not suspect the vehicles at first glance. A Saab electric car from the test fleet, an e-power sports car still drives in Sweden and is 2012 privately owned.

BAIC SAAB EV in Beijing. © Christian Buttkereit
BAIC SAAB EV in Beijing. © Christian Buttkereit

More Saab e-Power can be found in China. Ironically, in Beijing, in some areas of the Forbidden City, Elektrosaabs can be found. They are not identifiable at first glance because they carry the BAIC logo, but they are real Swedes. How did that happen? A search for clues!

Cloaked Sweden in the forbidden city.

BAIC had not only purchased the old Saab engines, transmissions and Saab 9-5 OG from Saab, but also included 50% of the pre-facelift Saab 9-3 sedan. The rights were thus half each in Trollhättan and in Beijing. The current sedan, however, 2010 belonged to 100% GM, with a license to Saab and the right to sublicense. This inscrutable design meant that both GM and BAIC held rights to parts of the Phoenix platform. A circumstance that later causes some problems for the insolvency administrators and today for NEVS. But that was not clear at the time.

Trollhättan planned “development aid” for BAIC - the further development of the platforms and the establishment of a model range were planned, the expected earnings were already planned in the 2011 business plan.

BAIC and Saab were closely intertwined with each other, and the e-Power concept also caught the interest and attention of the Chinese. At some point in the winter 2010 or spring 2011, the facts are not very clear, first vehicles went from Sweden to China. It's the electric cars that we see both as police and government vehicles of an energy supplier in Beijing.

A wrong decision makes history.

However, the relationship between BAIC and Saab, or rather between Victor Muller and Xu Heyi, cooled quickly. BAIC, at that time partner of GM, planned to take over Saab completely. GM liked that, Muller was not averse. The contracts were already negotiated, Muller would have earned in a short time a few million, the Saab Automobile AB would still exist today.

In the proverbial last minute Muller got out, BAIC was deeply upset, the end of Saab was sealed. Muller had, what he did not suspect, from that moment on no chance in China. He was from then on in the administration as unreliable. BAIC is a state-owned corporation, which is better not to deny a wish if you want to continue doing business in China.

All that followed was a fight against windmills, without any chance. Why he turned down the sale and a decent profit is speculative. The Swedish government gave the green light for the entry of Muller friend Antonov just when the transaction was to be sealed. Former Saab employees see this as a reason. Muller had, so they say, dollar signs in his eyes. Together with his Russian friend, he saw the option for even more profit.

Muller has lost the game, a single mistake can change history permanently. The Saab Automobile AB is a thing of the past, including the e-power concept. Today Saab's cooperation partners are active with other partners, NEVS has to develop many things from the ground up and is having a hard time with them.

The Saab electric cars, under the BAIC label in Beijing, are the last witnesses to a possible success story. Readers who have been to China repeatedly send pictures of these vehicles, today they can be seen on the blog.

Text: tom@saabblog.net

10 thoughts on "Saab Electric Car (Part 2)"

  • Thanks Tom! Your item is turbo-tip

  • It seems that my words have been misinterpreted. I should have used quotation marks because I was referring to opinions published here. By the way, I have a lot of tolerance!

  • If my article made such an impression that there is currently a link between BAIC and NEVS, that was not intended. Times have changed, the orientations too. At that time, BAIC was a partner of GM and is now a Daimler partner. I do not see the probability that BAIC is currently sitting at the table.

  • Electric vehicles are of course developed by NEVS so that a SAAB EV is also available for sale in addition to conventional vehicles - after all, electric vehicles are not only driven in China.

    According to reports at the time, BAIC only had a very small share in the PHOENIX platform (initial stage) - so it would be entirely possible that BAIC is interested in the now advanced PHOENIX development and is thus the second negotiating partner besides Mahindra.

  • I find it inappropriate to describe the Chinese people as unreliable. It has to do with tolerance. If Tom's information is correct, that's good research. Negotiations with China are to be conducted differently, see here:
    http://www.chinaseite.de/china-wirtschaft/china-verhandlungen.html
    This is part of the 1 × 1 of successful negotiation. What drives investors to the decisions is speculation.

  • I was wondering a bit about the unpredictable, dubious and unreliable Chinese ... You have to know all the facts and thanks to Tom that is now the case!

  • Important info you, Tom, delivered! THANK YOU.
    If BIAC is on the EL. Engine, why should a Chinese city also participate in a company like NEVS ???? Especially since NEVS brings old SAAB… ..The fact that some cadres are “not amused” is almost understandable… .The story is growing in tension… .dramatic!

  • That's what a shoe would look like. The 2. Asian manufacturer who wants to develop and use the Phoenix platform is Baic. If they were involved in the beginning, they know what they have and want to finish it. Maybe then comes in return something of the old e-car know how back to Sweden.

  • Thanks for the info - I didn't know about Victor! The dog is buried there ... We still don't know why Kai has now developed the electric vehicle a second time - it will be exciting to find out ...

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