Following announcements from earlier this week, NEVS has signed a new partnership with TÜBITAK, the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey. This cooperation includes licensing SAAB 9-3 technology and the provision of expertise in several areas. NEVS wants to get involved in the improvement of economies of scale and wants to hire additional 100 engineers in Trollhättan.
On Tuesday, Fikri Işık, the Turkish Minister of Science, Industry and Technology announced basis that Turkey is aiming to get their "national car" on the domestic market latest by the year 2020. The development is based on the SAAB 9-3 and currently three different powertrains are considered: fully electric, extended electric and conventional. The car will be based on the MY14 SAAB 9-3 architecture and wants to be branded as a new 9-3. Three prototypes have already been tested by TÜBITAK in Istanbul.
This news follows the announcement from earlier in the same week Rolls Royce opening a new Manufacturing Technology Center in Turkey with the help of TÜBITAK, but more importantly it's in line with the Turkish ambitions to establish their own national car brand. About a year ago, Minister Işık has already confirmed in an interview on the desire to create a national brand as a part of Turkey's goal to become one of the 10 most developed countries in the world: "We shall soon take concrete steps. Turkey wants to embrace its own national automobile brand. It wants to be a range-extended electrical vehicle”. And as a side note, Turkey's interests in SAAB actually go back even further when Brightwell Holdings was one of the bidders in the aftermath of SAAB Automobile's bankruptcy in 2011.
What's in it for NEVS?
The goal is quite aggressively. I have a national car industry and / or a national car , I can see many tangible benefits for Turkey in partnership with existing international players in the automotive industry where they can get a proven technology from and a head-start versus "reinventing the wheel" themselves.
For NEVS the benefits may seem less obvious. MY14 SAAB 9-3 is generating concrete income. An undisclosed amount, but logically this has to be in the multi-millions.
So great. But why would NEVS want to deliver the expertise for building and operating another car factory while the one in Trollhättan is idling? I would say for two reasons. The first one is again simple: this project is generating income. Once more, undisclosed amounts and considering the ambition levels and the time frame, this has become the multi-million as well. The second reason I believe is simple, yet very different: building a Turkish national car by definition needs to happen in Turkey, not in a foreign country. Having said that, NEV's President Mattias Bergman declared in an interview that during the start-up phase (parts of) the car will be built in Trollhättan.
So what about new SAABs?
NEVS to develop, produce and market their own line-up of SAAB EVs. A very interesting topic (especially if the number of heated threads on the different Internet forums are any indication ...), but there actually is a direct connection. I do not believe that NEVS has been very effective in this painting. Let me give it a try in my next post. Stay tuned ...
Full transcript from NEVS press conference in Trollhättan, 16 October 2015.
Mikael Östlund: “Welcome to today's press conference. We'll be holding it in English because of our external viewers. I'd like to introduce our president, Mattias Bergman, who will explain the cooperation with Turkey to develop the Turkish national car and after that we'll have time for questions. "
Mattias Bergman: "Our company is very committed to the future of fossil fuels. When you know that out of the total pollution. So as a car maker have a responsibility. And we believe that we can contribute to a change. But we know that one company is too small. One country is too small when taking on this challenge. It means we need to work with other countries, we need to work with other OEMs in the car industry, and have to work with other companies.
This is the reason why we have a number of months. So before I go into the big news of today, give you a short recap. The first is that now we have introduced three Chinese partners. Two of them as owners and shareholders of NEVS and one of them as a shareholder in our two joint ventures in China.
One is the city of Tianjin, giving us access to a market, access to a plant; the market where we're building our second production and second R&D facilities. The second is SRIT, owned by Chinese Government and China Unicom. A partner thus giving access to the government, the regulatory systems and so -as part of China Unicom access to a lot of software engineers needed for the future connected cars. Then in the joint ventures in China, we have Teamsum, one of the largest IT companies in China, with a large pool of software engineers.
This is money and we have two financial partners as of today: The Bank of China and the China Development Bank, giving us a foundation to implement the business plan, on top of the money that our owners have already committed and contributed.
So we have signed a partnership with one of the largest companies in the world, one of the largest OEMs in the car industry, Dongfeng Motors. A partnership that is giving us synergies when we develop products, platforms and architectures. Giving us synergies to share their resources in purchasing and getting access to sales and distribution. This partnership goes in both directions, both parts of this joint story.
We are going into the next phase. We are debt-free since over a month ago. Next week we'll be publishing our interim report, showing that we are a financially stable company to implement our vision.
So the news of today: in June we signed a partnership with Turkish Government called TÜBITAK. This is a stated-focused organization focused on research for the country of Turkey. This partnership has a focus on building the pride of the Turkish nation. The pride of Turkey to have their own national car. Turkish car in the market. Turkey is in the marketplace. And Turkey, in the position where they are, as a link between Europe and Africa and the Middle East, having a car industry is seen as an important vehicle to develop the nation. They have been evaluating different OEMs and different partners that can implement their vision. We have been in discussions with you for a long time but on the 28th of May, actually the start of June, we reached an agreement. On the picture you can see the President of TÜBITAK and the Turkish Minister of Industry.
This cooperation covers a number of areas. One area is the IP. The Intellectual Property in this context is the architecture of the SAAB 9-3 is built on. But this architecture is not going to look the same, it's not going to the same components. But it is this architecture with TÜBITAK and our engineering team wants to be integrated into the "national car".
Our engineering team here in Trollhättan wants to work closely with the engineering team at TÜBITAK and other Turkish partners. We have already installed a number of cars demonstration and the Turkish minister revealed them yesterday. These are cars with different powertrains and different styles that are now being used in Istanbul.
So we want support them in starting up the production. It is a greenfield investment, where we are building our knowledge of running a car factory. So we are transferring knowledge. We want to train Turkish factory builders. Train their purchasing teams, train their engineers and work hand-in-hand with us.
For NEVS this is an important part of implementing our vision. This means also for us, we want to be able to cooperate on purchasing as one thing. We'll be able to share components and share systems. So we want to be able to share resources for product development as we want to have the same base we're developing from, even though there will be completely different product names and actually different products from a customer's perspective. Yet, many systems and components want the same, giving benefits for us.
The cooperation with TÜBITAK, with over 8,000 engineers and PhD's and their laboratories we can not add a lot of knowledge. So we can use our own resources much better.
So, by that, it's an important part of the new nation, not just the Swedish government, the Chinese government, but now the Turkish government is looking up and sharing the vision for a future. So this is an important step. Thank you.
Finally, I want to introduce Frank Smit to you. He wants to be the person in charge of the project as a Commercial Project Leader.
We can now take questions. Thank you very much."
The video recording of the press conference:
"NEVS has been chosen by TÜBITAK as its partner for developing a Turkish National Car
TÜBITAK, which is the national partner of National Electric Vehicle Sweden AB, Nevs, as the industrial partner for the project.
The cooperation has started in June 2015 between Nevs and TÜBITAK and future industrial synergies in terms of development and manufacturing. Nevs' assets to work and will give Turkey quick access to extensive automotive knowledge and experience.
Nevs shall also provide its know-how in the development and supply of TÜBITAK.
Together with the new shareholders Tianjin and SRIT, the partner teams as well as the cooperation with Dongfeng Motor, the cooperation with TÜBITAK is an important step in building up Nevs as a strong automotive company with industrial, technological and financial partnerships.
"I am very proud to have this strategic cooperation in place. Turkey wants to be a long-term partner and we both want to gain a lot from this cooperation. With Turkey's focus on electric vehicles we see it as an important step towards our vision of shaping mobility for a more sustainable future, "said Mattias Bergman, President of Nevs.
Facts about TÜBITAK
The Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey, TUBITAK, is the leading agency for management, funding and conduct of research in Turkey. TÜBITAK was established in 1963 with a mission to advance science and technology, conduct research and support Turkish researchers.
TÜBITAK is an autonomous institution and is governed by a scientific board whose members are selected from prominent scholars from universities, industry and research institutions. TÜBITAK is responsible for promoting, developing, organizing and coordinating research and development in line with national targets and priorities. Further, TÜBITAK is one of the key institutions involved in the Turkish national car project.