If two people do the same thing, it's not the same. Two companies in southern Sweden whose history began in 2012. The names: NEVS and CEVT. There was already enough to read about the first company - and its precarious development - on the blog. CEVT - China European Vehicle Technology - on the other hand, has not yet been in the spotlight.
The man behind CEVT is well known in the Saab world: Mats Fägerhag. Born in Tidaholm in 1961, studied at Lund University. Various positions at Volvo Trucks and Saab Military Aircraft. From 1992 in various positions at Saab, 2005 he changed to Executive Director Vehicle Systems at GME in Rüsselsheim. 2007 Return to Trollhättan, in addition to working for GM Executive Director Product Development Vehicle at Saab. After the divorce from GM - Saab, Fägerhag stayed at Göta Älv until the end of Saab Automobile AB.
2012 - Kai Johan Jiang is preparing to buy Saab - Fägerhag has changed location. The new employer is Volvo. His task: to find development partnerships for the future. A challenge, but not a fundamentally new idea. Victor Muller planned a joint venture with his partners from China in 2011, NEVS has a similar plan.
Volvo is Chinese, which does not make the search easier, the future seems to have some question marks at this point. Fägerhag finds the partner - in its own group. CEVT is founded as a development service provider for Volvo and Geely. Home base: Gothenburg. With 150 employees, a new, interesting chapter in the life of Mats Fägerhag starts in the Lindholmen district.
In Trollhättan one develops at the same time at the flexible Phoenix platform, comparable one does in Gothenburg. At CEVT, the new basis for a global family of small and compact vehicles of the Volvo and Geely brands is growing. In addition to a dozen future Geely vehicles, the variable CMA platform will also be the basis for the new Volvo 40 family with a small SUV.
2015. Meanwhile, the CMA platform is completed, while the Phoenix in Trollhättan will probably never swing its wings. The Volvo-Geely Group has thus taken a big step towards the future. Crash tests are done, test prototypes were in China on the way. New developments at Volvo and Geely will in future be completed on the CMA platform in less than 24 months. If so, CEVT would have overtaken two Japanese manufacturers whose development speed was benchmark.
In just 3 years, the startup has grown into a large, international service provider. The offices in Lindholmen have long been too small. At six different locations in Gothenburg's city area, 1.162 employees from 15 countries and 117 gas engineers from China work for CEVT. Many have a Saab past, and more and more Qoros developers have recently joined them. There are also another 500 employees in China. The tasks are clearly divided: development and design in Sweden, testing of the prototypes in China. Production preparation and creation of the supply chain in both countries. Mats Fägerhag and his team can deliver Geely and Volvo vehicles ready for production.
A few days ago there was an article in “NyTeknik” about Fagerhag, CEVT and Geely. It was about the proven reliability of the Chinese, and that Geely in the past has always delivered a little more to CEVT than was promised. The future was also an issue. According to Fägerhag, it is a long-term bet that Geely has run on Volvo. He reports that he has not seen as much aggressive dynamism at either GM or Saab as he has at Geely in the past 20 years.
While in Trollhättan the future may be over before it has even begun, budgets are increasing at CEVT. This year, € 270 million will be invested in research and development. At least! An increase in the budget to € 300 million is expected.
Two companies, two start-ups. Three years is not really a long time. Nevertheless, an intermediate result that could not have been more different. Both companies are financed by funds from China, the experience with the investors are completely different.
Volvo and Geely have been job drivers in the Gothenburg area in recent years. The additional third shift in Hisingen has created almost 1.500 new jobs - also for former Saab employees. The Volvo factory is almost at its limit. The clock frequency can still be increased, then the limit is reached, while a plant in Trollhättan has been at a standstill for 12 months ...
Through Mats Fägerhag and his colleagues, much Saab knowledge has flowed to Volvo. Carl Peter Forster is also present at Geely and CEVT. Thanks to him Saab 9 5 NG, Saab 9 4x. With a little luck, a small SUV would have been added. Two personalities with Saab background control a significant part of the future in the Swedish auto industry.
In Sweden, the merger of Saab and Volvo has been repeatedly considered and negotiated in recent decades. What would have happened if Geely had also brought 2012 to Saab? Or would 2015 inquire at Saab AB? Exciting questions, again without answers.