Last Wednesday we were given the chance to take a look behind the scenes as part of a small group of so-called "Saab ambassadors." After Tuesday's announcement that National Electric Vehicle Sweden decided not to wear the name "Saab" proudly on their vehicles in the future, their feelings were mixed on their way from Gothenburg to Trollhättan.
One still passes street signs with the imprint "Saab" in the knowledge that on arrival at the factory gate a new lettering hangs on the greeting. The day could not be more beautiful, in this Midsommarwoche. There are 22 degrees already in the morning, the sun is shining from the sky and throws a great light over the stallbacka. The former Saab factory shines back. Under the leadership of NEVS many innovations and repairs have been made on and around the factory that would have been long overdue at GM times.
A small group of “Saab Ambassadors” at NEVS
The parking lot in front of the main gate is quite well filled. A picture that you do not know from the past four years. As a small surprise and relic from the old days, three Saab 9-5 SportCombi of the 2012 pre-series on Maingate will be available for a photo shoot. Two of the vehicles belong to Combitech / Saab AB. Both vehicles have just received approval in Germany to be able to travel legally on Swedish roads later this summer.
We are greeted at the entrance very friendly by Jonas Hernqvist, Mikael Östlund, Hans Martin, and Michèl Annink. Then there is a little Rundumintro of the other participants of the day. They are representatives of the two big Swedish Saab clubs (Saab Turbo Club of Sweden and Svenska Saabklubblen), the Saab Veterans and the Saab Museum. We for Saabblog.net on site. The round is very small, this suggests that the day is very interesting!
Michèl gave us a short agenda of the day, then it was already in the guest restaurant on the factory premises. Anyone who knows this from Saab times, to say that nothing looks more stale than back then. It was very nicely renovated and is very Swedish, simple and functional.
NEVS new start on good foundation
Before dinner, Jonas Hernqvist gave a presentation on how to imagine NEVS in the future, what values you want to convey in the future. Again, you can clearly feel the influence of Saab is still marked. An interesting point that has been raised is the question of why one is no longer called "Saab" but in the future "NEVS". The explanation is very plausible, even if one might not even have overlooked a few reasons themselves so quickly.
On the one hand, Saab AB as a negotiating partner has been very difficult. It has made demands that were not acceptable to NEVS. On the other hand, there are reasons to no longer want to carry the name on the product, which has more to do with more than just money. The Saab AB is a pure armaments company that has not been spared lately by small and big political scandals in some parts of the world. And since some new markets would like to supply the NEVS just know Saab more than an armaments company as the vehicle manufacturers, this was yet another reason for the departure from the traditional brand name "Saab".
A movement in motion
The motto of the new company is "A movement in motion". So a movement in motion. From this it can be seen very well that the new brand will not only be about the mere production of vehicles. The services around the vehicle will also play a major role. On the new website nevs.com there is a nice new image film about the company which seems very well known, if you have come into contact with Saab press films in the last 10 years.
Strong partners secure the future
Again, you realize that it's about implementing and adopting the traditional values that Saab embodied in the new company. At NEVS, efforts are being made to promote an environmentally friendly future for automotive engineering. NEVS is a company that consists of many partnerships. People are very proud that they have found partners in China who can not be stronger.
On the financial side, we work with the Bank of China, which is the fourth largest financial institution in the People's Republic of China. Another strategic partner is the port city of Tianjin, which may be called the port city of Beijing. And then there was a strong partnership with TeamSun, an IT company that will take care of the software for the new “rolling computers”.
The future of automotive engineering is based on the fact that the vehicles we sit in will be rolling computers. Those stuffed with lots of software should make life easier for the customer and network it in a way that we only know from smartphones today.
Tour of the factory halls
After the really tasty lunch (there was typically Swedish fish) we start our tour through the halls. We actually expected that we would be alone in the halls and have to turn on the lights ourselves. But the opposite is the case. Lights are actually on everywhere in the plant and you can meet employees at almost every corner. Spare parts for Saab models are still produced in the press shop for ORIO AB. On the other hand, they are already busy pressing metal sheets for the prototypes of the new vehicles.
The press shop with its 5 huge presses for the different size pressed parts is still as impressive as it used to be. We have been assured that the quality of the finished goods will not change under NEVS. The former Saab factory has once been one of the most efficient press shops in the automotive industry and had one of the lowest reject rates ever. Our tour was a bit faster than planned, so we still had time to see the robots in the actual Bodyshop.
Here you could already guess quite well that not everything stands still. When passing through the bodyshop, bodies were already being worked on at various points on the belt. Partly with known forms and partly with unknown forms ...
After the press shop and bodyshop, we had a surprise in store. Our path leads to where we would normally never have access ...