Two numbers to get you started. 2.338 and 180.000. The first number represents the electric cars sold in China in 2011, the second is the estimated result for 2015. China is the largest EV market in the world - by political will. It begins with the preferred allocation of approval licenses for EVs and continues with clear guidelines for official vehicle fleets.
Since January 1st they have to prove a share of at least 30% “New Energy Vehicles” in their fleet. Freight forwarders also feel the arm of the law. You will preferably receive orders within the 6th Beijing ring road if the transport fleet is green certified.
The world's largest producer of EV's came out of the People's Republic last year. BYD (Build Your Dreams) reported 2015 fully battery-powered vehicles as sold in November 50.797 - and beats Tesla. The challenge for BYD is not to find customers. The company can barely meet the exploding demand. BYD is sitting on a mountain of orders, capacities are at their limit.
In order to understand what is happening in China with regard to NEVS, we should try to see the story neutrally or with Chinese eyes. Success or failure is linked to the person of Kai Johan Jiang, who is called Jiang Dalong in China. His partnership with Quingdao brought NEVS into the orbit of groups of people suspected of corruption. What followed was the withdrawal of love from party and state for Jiang Dalong, withdrawal of money for NEVS, reconstruction in Sweden.
It became quiet around Jiang Dalong for a shame period; almost a year later you could read these sentences in state-controlled media: “Jiang Dalong has seen his mistakes and has returned remorsefully to the lap of the party and the people. We assume that he will fulfill his future duties to our satisfaction.”Not quite as young readers in the eastern part of our country know this sentence prose. Jiang Dalong received socialist-style absolution last spring.
Since then, things are uphill with NEVS.
A new headquarters in Beijing, which will offer 5.000 square meters of floor space. The Tianjin plant is 50% complete. What emerges is a group for “New Energy Vehicles”. Complete with administration, design, development, press office and manufacturing in China. No production vehicle has yet been seen in a showroom or at an exhibition, the first orders are already coming.
The leasing company Panda New Energy, financed by Hasun Asset, wants to purchase 250.000 vehicles over the next 5 years. 50.000 minibuses, 50.000 MPVs and 150.000 vehicles each based on the Saab 9-3 platform. One has another 20.000 vehicles Company ordered, which is assigned to the sphere of influence of the People's Liberation Army. This is not uncommon, we should see it with an open mind. Success is "made" in the Chinese system where it is desired. Orders can be hidden subsidy and start-up funding if the company seems useful. And NEVS, there is little doubt, seems to be one of the useful companies.
NEVS and Jiang Dalong copy in parts the successful concept of BYD. The largest electric car manufacturer in the world offers everything from small EV to the bus, where you can install a battery. The concept also found investor legend Warren Buffet good. 2008 raised $ 230 million at BYD, not Tesla. The value of the stock has since more than quintupled.
Political will to the EV exists, Jiang Dalong basks in the goodwill of the administration, NEVS China is on the way to the success story. An ascent that could go very fast. China wants to become world leader in EV's. Domestically, mobility relies heavily on local products.
NEVS and what it has to do with Saab
What does this have to do with Saab? Nothing at first sight, apart from the fact that Trollhättan is being designed for China. In the last few days there have been rumors that NEVS has to dismantle the Saab logos at the factory. This already existed a year ago, when all Saab signposts in the city were supposed to disappear before the festival. Nothing happened then. And now, fact or fama? We will see. The fact that NEVS will generate its own brand for China is also not new and not unusual.
My relationship with NEVS is illusionless and emotionless. However, it would be too easy to file NEVS as a China-only matter. The matter is more demanding. Sweden is an integral part of the agenda, even if one can only speculate how things will go in the medium term. The feeling tells me that NEVS will not give up the Saab brand without a fight - not without trying everything that is financially and politically possible. NEVS has tailwind, the situation is no longer as it was a few months ago. Saab could rise as a European premium brand in the NEVS group, like Volvo at Geely.
Two numbers to get out. They show how politics and legislation also work in Europe. 3.710 and 23. These are the December numbers of the most popular “New Energy Vehicles” from two European countries in which Saab has been successful. 3.710 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV were brought to customers in the Netherlands in December. A country with restrictive environmental guidelines.
23 Nissan Leaf was approved for comparison in Italy in December. Only 390 Leaf from market leader Nissan found over 12 months distributed the interest of the customers in a country, where no political will to the EV seems to exist. How is Europe developing further? And what if there were Xnumx Saab EV's from Trollhättan?