A rumor. And what one! On Friday it spread in the media at lightning speed. According to the content, NEVS would build cars again in Trollhättan - and that as early as the 2nd quarter of 2018. A story too good to be true. The local newspaper published it exclusively as a paid article.
And international, renowned magazines such as Automotive News also jumped on the bandwagon. Of course, by this point the rumor had long since been dispelled. The trigger, a misleading Bloomberg interview with NEVS founder Kai Johan Jiang, had long since been corrected. There, car parts that NEVS plans to produce in Sweden were turned into complete cars.
The rush of light in which history went around the world showed two things. On the one hand, that even reputable media in an extremely hectic world accept messages unchecked. A demand at the source, reinsurance no longer takes place. On the other hand there is the Saab phenomenon. Actually a nonsense that it still creates the brand in the headlines. A miracle is longed for, and one still feels the hope of the impossible.
NEVS dismantles plants and transports them to China
The reality, however, is as dreary as it is Swedish winter days. Cars can no longer be built in the old Saab factory. NEVS, chronically undercapitalized, dismantles tools and parts in the bodywork and paint shop and takes what is usable to China. In an interview with Saab legend Olle Granlund a year ago, we came to exactly this point. He expected the Chinese to dismantle the Stallbacka. But I objected. After all, who would dismantle old, used tools that have already been used for several 100.000 vehicles in order to use them for a new production in China?
That was once, I thought. Many years ago. When Stone Age Communists bought German factories and shipped to China. The Zündapp production landed in the 80er years also in Tianjin. History does not repeat itself. But do it!
Granlund was right. I'm wrong.
For the old Saab factory, the end has now been reached. Nobody will be able to press the magic red button anymore, nobody will start a production anymore. The situation has been settled and nothing more will happen in this decade. Unless a miracle happens, change hands or whatever. But miracles rarely happen, even around Christmas time.
China wants to dominate the global mobility market. That is the stated goal. At Volvo, the Chinese are reacting cautiously. But they are aggressive. After Volvo, London Taxi, Lotus, shares in Proton, a Scandinavian bank and the new brand Lynk & Co came into the Chinese shopping bag. The appetite for more is far from satisfied. Geely should make advances to Daimler and would like to join as a major shareholder. Daimler defends itself. Yet…
But Chinese trees don't always grow into the sky. NEVS is reminiscent of the brute tour of the 80s and tries it with old tools and partly old technology. The return of the former traditional brand Borgward is not much better. The formerly proud logo sticks to Chinese products, reborn as the undead. The comeback in China stutters, the brand burns a lot of money. Sales stagnate, contrary to the market trend. Borgward owner Foton may have misled and is negotiating with investors. A complete sale is not excluded.
In Germany, except big announcements, so far nothing to see. Sixt was supposed to market the first Borgward BX7 in December, and the site for the assembly plant in Bremen has still not been bought. Also the investments in Stuttgart falter.
The reason should be the authorities in China, which control the money transfer abroad. They monitor the outflow of foreign currency abroad. A fact that we know, but which is surprising at Borgward. In contrast to NEVS, a company with a partially private ownership structure, Foton belongs to BAIC. And BAIC is a Chinese state company.