When automakers open their doors to customers, it's something special. At NEVS this should be the rule in the future - a transparent and friendly corporate culture, in harmony with sustainable mobility solutions from Sweden. For participants in the pre-tour to IntSaab 2017, the rooms of the Experience Center opened a few days ago, a part of the building that fans should know as the design center of the earlier Saab Automobile AB.
CEO Mattias Bergman and Hans Martin Duringhof, Director Powertrain and Chassis, gave presentations and provided answers to open questions. Mattias Bergman kicked it off - I'll keep the content compact at this point. Not only because Bergman left the far more exciting part to Hans Martin Duringhof, but also because many statements, such as the composition of the shareholder structure, are already known and have already been a topic on the blog.
A NEVS plant on every continent
Nevertheless, there were new insights. In the future sales strategy, which will primarily be based on the Internet. Because, as Bergman said, the merchant's income comes primarily from services, not sales. And because NEVS can imagine rewarding sales partners for services such as the provision of vehicles for test drives in the future.
From Trollhättan, the factory in Tianjin will be supplied with already painted bodies for the new EV, until its own bodyshop and paint shop go into operation in China. The delivery of the 150.000 electric cars to commercial customers takes place from 2017, in addition, the New Long Ma plant in southern China delivers more already ordered electric minivans and MPV `s.
The NEVS product range will cover many segments in the future (Details reveals later Hans-Martin Durighof), and NEVS will later have a plant in North America and therefore on every continent. The group currently has 850 employees at the headquarters in Trollhättan, 90 in Beijing, and 1.200 at New Long Ma. NEVS develops for other manufacturers, and the test facilities in Trollhättan are used by a large number of brands, including Volvo.
NEVS sees itself as a provider of sustainable mobility solutions and integrates the best of the Saab DNA - design, the Saab culture and the durability of the products into its products. A brand, according to Bergman, is more than just letters. The employees behind it and their experience are important. And here you rely on the tradition of the location and combine the tried and tested with the revolutionary new.
A personality with Saab background is Hans-Martin Afthof. When he came back to Trollhättan last summer, I found that more than remarkable. He has a certain good name in the industry and I would not have expected a return. He comes, which I did not know, from a family with a long Saab tradition. His grandfather was one of the first Saab dealers in the Netherlands, his parents continued the business. The yard is, if you may say so, of old Saab nobility.
The topic of his lecture: Phoenix. More than interesting, and in the beginning, thoughhof put some order into the definition of architecture, platform and product. Under an architecture the industry understands a virtual definition, the platform is a physical arrangement of components and also of software, the product a finished vehicle. The more precisely the architecture is defined, the greater the scale effects for the platform and the finished product.
Phoenix 2011 was a concept car from Saab, the Phoenix platform a 80% completed successor to the Saab 9-3, designed for conventional drive and the option of an electric rear axle with hybrid drive. The new architectures and platforms at NEVS have hardly anything to do with this, because NEVS has changed its definitions in recent years.
The 2017 electric car, which is offered in China and also in Sweden, has nothing in common with the 2014 Saab 9-3. Under the metal sheet was radically redesigned in the direction of electric car, the limitations of an originally conventionally designed vehicle have disappeared in favor of a large battery pack. Phoenix 1.1 is fully developed and will not be further modified. Tests for acceptance and approval in China are ongoing, the product is complete.
The prototype of a NEVS electric car, not completely in line with the series, was released for visitors to examine. Another sports suit and a convertible with conventional drive were also on display in the Experience Center. NEVS vehicles with electric drive will offer driving performance at Saab Aero level and even higher, Duringhof showed in a graphic. And the products of the Phoenix 4 or Phoenix E architecture will be even more exciting.
NEVS could bring to Phoenix E many new products in various market segments with various body shapes over the next few years. From the B segment (small car) to the E segment (upper middle class) it would be possible to cover the market with a flood of variants. City cars, coupes, limousines, station wagons, SUVs and MPVs are feasible. Confirmed are 4 new models in the C and D segment, designed for front, rear and four-wheel drive, but clearly and without compromise as pure electric cars.
The range of products is richer than what Saab has ever offered, and all vehicles are networked and communicate with each other. NEVS sees sustainable mobility as a service and relies on progressive solutions right from the start.
We know the shareholder structure of NEVS, the philosophy of sustainability and the ability to create the appropriate solutions with the 10.000 software engineers of the shareholders in the background. A provider of mobility services is emerging here; the industry revolution is in full swing. With the upheaval, customer expectations will also change. Gone are the days when the audience was happy at the big car shows because there was a few more horsepower, some chrome and different rims.
The customer of the future will be more critical, more enlightened and more demanding. The auto industry will sail in a tough wind, just as IT has always been. The pressure to innovate and competition will be brutal, the customer will no longer buy or lease a car. He will shop for a flat rate for mobility. A city car for the week, a convertible for Sunday. Or an SUV for the mountains, the station wagon for the hardware store, the MPV when you take the children to the in-laws. The future is exciting and it will come quickly. Maybe not in Bielefeld, not in Oldenburg. At least not right away. But in Beijing, London, New York, Berlin, Paris. It will change our everyday life and our mobility.
Duringhof was in charge of designing the Saab 9-5 NG and 9-4x. Great cars that I still love and that could have changed the brand's perception. I think it's exciting that he, like so many other Saab engineers, is working on the future. I'm not alone in this. Editors of a large German car newspaper see it similarly and will test the new NEVS electric car in Trollhättan.