Only four days remaining until the new year 2016 arrives ... At least, if you live in a part of the world that uses the Gregorian calendar ... In China, the start of their new year will be on “our” 8th of February. Same concept, yet different rules and definitions.
Last week, several media reported that Panda New Energy Co. Ltd., the company behind the mega-order for 150,000 SAAB 9-3 based EV's could be "fake". Panda's new CEO Sun Wei spoke in an interview with Swedish Radio on Friday, NEVS President Mattias Bergman. Who is Panda New Energy and why did they choose NEVS?
Biggest deal-ever: NEVS back on track
Significant international media coverage followed by the € 10B deal that was announced basis only 10 days ago (and the highlights of the new business plan, just a few days earlier). Swedish annual defense budget, this announcement is one of the largest industrial deals -ever. Keeping in the EV market (Tesla) has just produced around 92,500 + cars since they were founded in 2003, the 150,000 + 100,000 EV's ordered by Panda New Energy puts NEV's in a completely different position, especially when considering that the business plan is based on many more customers, cars and countries.
So, quite impressive news that was very broad. A huge cheer of joy on the Christmas breakfast on stallbacka among the NEVS workers on the morning of the announcement. Sweden's Minister of Economic Affairs Mikael Damberg went on record to express his support, and so did the Chinese-Swedish Trade Council, leading automotive manufacturing experts, and many, many more.
Wrong address = fake?
The first following the announcement, the first skeptical articles started to appear in the media. Maybe "Sceptical" is not the most appropriate term to use here. "Suspicious", "negative", "denying" or even "accusing" possibly fit better. Some authors started their own conspiracy theory by suggesting that the founder of NEVS, Karl-Johan Jiang, so behind Panda New Energy, something that later became denied to Saabblog.net by NEVS PR director Mikael Östlund. Panda was pointing to an address in Beijing. Panda was pointing to an address in Beijing. Both Mattias Bergman and Panda's Sun Wei reconfirmed now that the company is real and is in fact backed by parent company Huaxin (a large Chinese investment firm founded in 2001, with significant stakes in several publicly listed companies and partnerships with companies like Morgan Stanley, Nokia and Alcatel-Lucent).
The journalists in the automotive industry and in Swedish / Chinese business would be expected to do. I was quite fascinated however how quickly we were drawn: "the fact that the company was registered only very recently, combined with an incorrect address and very little info on the Internet, just Had to mean that it was all a scam ”- according to some media. A rather hasty -and incorrect- conclusion as it now appears: the company does exist, is legitimate and has a strong financial foundation. I can sympathize with the skeptics to some extent, as things initially weren't presented as clearly and coherently as they now start to become. And yes, we do proof of actual delivery on promises is so very welcome, but what i would ask to stay open-minded and think differently. What is considered to be normal in Europe or in the US may be very different in China, but still be good business.
Happy New Year!
Interview Swedish Radio with Panda New Energy (translation of the original article published 26 Dec 2015)
Panda New Energy is aiming to have first pilot electric vehicles (EVs) from NEVS at Trollhättan on the road in China in 2016. Panda New Energy is in an exclusive interview with Ekot today.
Sun Wei is the CEO of Panda New Energy. SAAB's successor NEVS is one of its suppliers of electric cars. -There is a time window, a few things we can wait for, but with other things we can not say Sun Wei, CEO Panda New Energy.
The EV's wants to deliver cars and chauffeur services to the new IT-based tax and transportation market.
The company's CEO is Huaxin. Huaxin is now confirmed to be back in the market for 150,000 EV's that was announced on 17 December.
The EV-market is expected to benefit through favorable terms and subsidies by the central Chinese government. Panda is planning to establish itself in the cities in China where the local authorities are already providing favorable terms.
The reason why NEVS was selected according to Panda's CEO is that they are relying on SAAB's reputation as a safe car, compared to other car companies in China. He describes the collaboration with NEVS as intimate and is aiming to keep costs down.
-It's really important that with these partnership rights, cost control can be obtained, says Sun Wei.
He is showing a receipt of the down payment, equivalent to the amount of SEK 100M, that has already been paid to NEVS ahead of the first EV deliveries.
-One or two billion is really no issue for Panda and Huaxin, says Sun Wei, while the rest of the capital is coming from partners and investment funds.
The carpet on the floor of the Huaxin's office is soft and green plants are well kept. The fact that Panda signed the noteworthy SEK 100B with a shared address in a Beijing suburb is explained by Panda's CEO that there was little time to get it ,
-We have discussed this with the people who do not want this, said Panda New Energy's CEO Sun Wei.