Strange things happened in Trollhättan last week. The television was on site, both at the local newspaper and at SVT you could read about a production start. The breakthrough for NEVS? Or what had happened?
In fact, in the old Saab factory, body shells were actually made for a very short time. 112 piece, to be exact. Half of them stay in Sweden, the rest went to China. There, starting in December, the pilot production of the NEVS 9-3 electric cars will start. Swedish employees support local Chinese colleagues.
From summer 2018 it should be ready then. NEVS then launches (finally) the so often announced series production. In the first year 10.000 electric cars will be built, then 50.000 per year. For China, 1.500 will be connected to new jobs. For Trollhättan 70.
An almost historic day. NEVS disenchanted.
The event is, from the point of view of the longtime chronicler, almost historical. Because it shows that NEVS has finally arrived in reality. According to its own assessment, Sweden's largest industrial project has shrunk to the middle class level. After having been provided with ambitious visions for years, the result is extremely sobering.
The current state: In Trollhättan, the workforce has shrunk to below 800. In the summer, 70 will create new jobs to deliver components for the NEVS 9-3 electric car to China. There is no talk of new models and production in the former Saab factory. 2020 or 2021 could be produced again in Trollhättan, they say. But admit that there are no concrete plans for this.
With 50.000 vehicles, the plant in Tianjin is far from exhausted. And not profitable. As a reminder: in Trollhättan the capacity is 170.000 units, in China 200.000 per year. With 50.000 electric cars, NEVS remains a niche player that will play no role in the market. In addition, all body shells must be manufactured in Tianjin. A press work does not exist yet, the financing is not secured. But the production license depends on the local value added.
Disillusionment for Trollhättan.
The prospects for Trollhättan are sobering. Apart from the 70 new workplaces planned for the summer 2018, there will be no new hires in the longer term. NEVS is moving to China and is trying its luck with a platform that largely comes from the year 2002. Development work on new NEVS vehicles, of which one can assume due to continued poor capitalization, there will be maximum on a back burner.
Meanwhile, the "old" auto industry will fight back. The dinosaurs of VW and Co announce billions in investment. From 2020 you will flood the market with many novelties. The Chinese administration wants electric cars in bulk? No problem. She will get her. From GM, VW, Daimler and Co.