Trollhättan. The future of the old Saab factory?

The long summer break in Sweden is coming to an end, so maybe the news-free time in the old Saab factory. After this leavingA month ago, ex-NEVS CEO Bergman announced it had become quiet.

Better days. Saab 9-5 NG in the paint shop 2010. Image: Saab Automobile AB

The ongoing peace and the flow of information flow hints at nothing good. Not for a startup that finally wanted to go public with products after 5 years. Behind the scenes everything else is harmony. If we look back on the difficult phase during the 2013 reconstruction, when there were still hopes for a Saab comeback, we will notice grave differences.

Service providers are switching to the competition

At that time, only 1 (!) Employees left the company. Now the bloodletting is running at full speed. After many time and project contracts were not renewed, permanent employees also leave NEVS. They are high achievers from the middle management, as responsible for the marketing, which turns the Stallbacka the back. Also important employees from the battery development, such as Pavel Calderon, have concluded with the subject Trollhättan. He is now in a leading position at the Swedish electric car startup United tätig.

These are indicators that make one doubt the further development. It has not looked like the future and construction for months. The smell of the creeping decline is spreading. A positive prognosis for the traditional Saab factory is hardly possible.

The auto industry is in the biggest upheaval in its history. The peak of new car sales should soon be exceeded. Shared economy, networking, new propulsion technologies, synthetic fuels and the threat of a burners ban will change the market from the ground up. Some in the industry trembles, because they invest in future scenarios, the uncertainty factor is enormous.

Bad prospects for the old Saab factory

Right in the middle is an obviously insufficiently capitalized, Chinese electric car startup in Trollhättan. Without a new CEO and with a factory now in 7. Year no longer produced. A strong investor or a new owner might be able to change that. The hope of the NEVS founder apparently builds on that. But why would that happen?

The Saab brand name was once the biggest asset. He was lost. The once most modern car factory in Sweden is now outdated. The developers move on, it hardly remains an asset. The future, she appears uncertain again.

29 thoughts too "Trollhättan. The future of the old Saab factory?"

  • Very, a great pity for the Swedish (co-) workers there and also the city and the surrounding area - especially after all the stories of recent years.

    For the situation for Nevs myself I have somehow but no right opinion.
    The "car brand" touches me somehow not so much.

  • Was to be expected. Bergman said months ago that more money is needed. He had once dropped the mask. That's probably why he said goodbye. Health reasons always sound better

  • How good that it works well with Volvo (never thought to write that). They were just lucky and we were unlucky with NEVS. The eternal request for new investors only annoying. Nevertheless: Thanks to Tom & Mark for the perseverance. Even if this part makes you little fun!

    • It is not that easy that you could explain it with luck or bad luck. There are already understandable reasons why Volvo was so much more successful than Saab. At least in Sweden (where I have lived since 2003), Saab has lost market share for many years. Volvo ran relatively well (but of course was in trouble when Ford wanted to sell the brand). Had Volvo not had the successful SUVs XC90 and then XC60, then that would have probably looked different (Saab SUVs, however, did not go well and the second, 9-4X, came anyway too late). But Volvo also had the volume models V40 / V50 and of course the V70. Saab has long had a reputation for offering outdated cars, and most people do not go along with it.

      • Volvo had the XC60 at the right time, who could do a lot for the brand. GM would not have that Saab 9 3 SUV prevented, many things would have changed for Saab.

  • Well, by telling the public there will not be any car for sale, that car will be provided when you need it at a fee. That is telling us, the buyers, that they are not interested in our money. And I'm not interested in there car.

    The car wants to be produced as a standard with no whistle or extra that I want. I can not pay extra for a car that suits me. During the rental period, you will want to know more about what you are looking for.

    If the staff feels the same way I do, they want to leave for a better company. They do not produce cars to be proud of. The will produce good (hopefully) cars. Whats the fun in that?

  • If SAAB AB had a bit more guts, it would take the reins back into its own hands and produce eco-friendly SAAB automobiles - there should be plenty of capital there, and to compete against dishonest companies like VW + Co. would be an excellent one Time.

    Why you do not dare to implement this with regard to the SAAB history, has not been apparent to me for a long time - with the Swedish industrial staff as well as the still existing global SAAB community (and certainly also a large number of new interested parties / consumers) a sequel surely trigger great cheers.

    • Detlef, you may be right. But what if the Saab freaks are all satisfied and maybe 50000 cars are sold? Does SAAB then get something from Audi, BMW or VW? I just can not believe it. Saab is over and will not come anymore, unfortunately. Maintain and cherish our great cars and keep up the Saab flag!
      Greetings from Switzerland

      • I think 50 000 cars are too far-reaching - currently, the 1 000 000 SAAB automobiles should still be on the road worldwide! If only every second owner purchases a new one, we would already be at ten times the amount you have accepted.

        If the offered new vehicles then also on a high quality level, presumably also former drivers of VW + Co. come to it - the business behavior of these companies is already his some time at many buyers no longer good.

        I think the Swedes simply do not have the guts - it's a pity that after the disaster caused by GM it seems so easy to put up with it. Right now, the opportunity for a restart would be more than auspicious.

        • SAAB is today an armaments company with niche products ...

          Products, whether on the road or in the air, are much more complex today. The technical similarity of aviation and road traffic is passé. In fact, there were times cars with aircraft engines and vice versa.

          Also, you can not just use up old paint, as after the Second World War. Why should SAAB or anyone else in Sweden build (re) build a car brand under these conditions?

          • How about a small series with great sports cars carrying the proud SAAB lettering. One could follow the SONETT tradition. A mass producer will not become this. It does not have to be.

    • Saab AB has shareholders who would certainly not be thrilled with such an idea should management ever come up with such an idea. In business, I do not believe in "guts", but rather in the context of whether certain investments can be profitable. Saab AB, I believe, has enough to do in existing business areas and is reasonably successful. And in the new electric car industry, there are already enough players, such as NEVS, Tesla, Chinese startups or even Deutsche Post (delivery vans), plus most of the established automakers. So I see no rational reason for Saab to invest in auto business.

      • With the listed "players" you should probably be able to compete as a SAAB AB with deep pockets - provided you have guts. Especially at NEVS not only the guts are missing but also the deep pockets.

        The only manufacturer with significant experience in e-cars is TESLA. The market is currently still quite clear and especially in business life, it is just about this much-said guts - Elon Musk had this gut.

        Sweden seems to have finally resigned itself to no longer register its own carmaker. Even Volvo is known to have been a Chinese company for a few years. The general trend towards China, however, should not only make the Swedes very thoughtful - for some experts, a Volvo is already no real Volvo.

        • Denmark, Norway and Finland also do not have their own automotive industry. I think that this is the obvious yardstick for Swedish politics. Why should one measure oneself with such populous countries as the USA, Germany, France, China and Korea and develop a morbid ambition?

          The examples that it is without the auto industry are more numerous than the other way round.

          • Well-made eco-friendly SAAB automobiles would be a real treat after the ugly "business models" of VW + Co. I keep in mind that these vehicles also find buyers. The brand SAAB would only have to be marketed more intelligently than among the GM managers - they have really driven the cart into the dirt. What does this have to do with morbid ambition when turning the light back on?

            Surely it is also possible without car industry or SAAB automobiles - we can buy a great car from America or Germany. Can you find good - but you do not have to.

  • No good news from Trollhättan ..., but igendwie I have guessed such a development / settlement ...
    I want to hope that at least Ing.-Nowhow persists in Troll-City and lives on, outside of NEVS.
    The topic of mobile future has never been so exciting but also open / risky ...!
    Thanks for the current info!
    : )

  • "The future, it seems uncertain again."

    I agree with the last sentence, but I must ask in return: "Was she ever that?"

    If I think of the past six years, then much remains in the diffuse, first the sales process, which is rightly covered, then NEVS, which appeared nebulous from the beginning and squandered chance by chance to build trust. A little announcement here, then a letter of intent there. But otherwise there was only a lot of fog and a few vague comments.

    Maybe you should be sure, close the factory and tear down the buildings. Should someone be interested in building cars again in Trollhättan, he will certainly not do so in an outdated factory, possibly clearing away an investment obstacle (disassembly of the old facilities by a new owner) out of the way.

    • Dear PhiBo

      She has never been since writing the blog. Unfortunately. By the way: Uniti is in Sweden a brand new car factory on the green field. Key point: Industry 4.0. The nostalgic times of the old Saab factory are coming to an end. If no wonder happens.

      • Well then there is hope again for the use of the brand name Saab if I interpret that correctly? And maybe Uniti will develop yet another certainly lucrative business model to help the veteran Saab employees pave the way to retirement: Refurbishing old Saabs with carburetion motors (hach dream) ...

  • Something completely new must be here. NEVS has not been able to make a difference in 6 years. And that little bit of electro hype was just gonna crack. Environmentally friendly internal combustion engines can only be the future. Alternative fuels instead of drives. Just a pity about this work and the sympathetic brand SAAB.

    • I believe that NEVS has achieved a lot in recent years. You have to look at that in connection with the size of the company. Hopefully, NEVS will survive and we can soon see how their electric cars and related services are being adopted in the Chinese market. After all, it's not surprising that the plant in Trollhättan is not important as a production facility for NEVS. After all, production (if I remember correctly) takes place in China. Maybe NEVS initially had the idea to continue using the Saab brand, but now that seems to be off the table. The platform, the beginnings of the 9-3 electrical project and Trollhättan remain as a site with much engineering expertise as what was important when buying the Saab-Cars remains.

  • Agree Detlef Rudolf to 100% !!!

  • I've never been an advocate of battery electric mobility, and I'm not. I also believe, like Heiko, in a future with alternative fuels or electricity generation on the ground for e-mobility such as e-mobility. Eg fuel cell.
    However, what I can not understand at all is why NEVS does not care about the current situation. Almost all politicians in Europe, especially our German Greens, preach prophetically the immediate switch to electromobility after the diesel affair. Political sentiment could not be better for an electric car manufacturer at the moment. The wurschteln now for 6 years around and nothing came out of it. It would be the right time to go on the offensive here with new innovative products. Can you actually make even stupider. How it works makes the rogue company VW. Bring out new e-Golf and on the occasion, because you have to pay anyway when buying this a Generous Abfrackprämie.

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  • Who actually owns the rights to the old vehicle designs like the Saab Sonnet, 96, 95 or 900 I? If you would update the bodies to contemporary dimensions and safety standards and materials and then even with a new drive technology, such as Bosch http://www.faz.net/aktuell/wirtschaft/elektroauto-bosch-stellt-neues-antriebssystem-vor-15163550.html would combine, then you would have vehicles that stand out positively from the smoother standard commodity and for which there would be a market in my opinion.

  • Hi Detlev,
    Saab has been producing eco-friendly cars for a few years: those who do not buy a new (electric) car but continue to care for and use their old Saab. The CO2 footprint is the lowest. We should always have the overall balance in mind and there is a wieter used car nunmal much better off than a new one! No matter if this new car has gasoline, gas or electric power ... In other words, and perhaps a little comforting for everyone else, we should now award Saab a prize for the world's most environmentally friendly car company

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