A rumor. And what a thing! On Friday, it spread in no time in the media. NEVS would, according to the content, build cars again in Trollhättan - and that already in the 2. Quarter 2018. A story too good to be true. The local newspaper brought it exclusively as a payment article.
And also international, renowned magazines like the Automotive News jumped on the train. By this time, of course, the rumor had already been cashed in a long time ago. The trigger, a misleading Bloomberg interview with NEVS founder Kai Johan Jiang, was long since corrected. There, car parts that NEVS plans to manufacture in Sweden became 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
But reality is as dull as Swedish winter days are. Cars can no longer be built in the old Saab factory. NEVS, chronically undercapitalized, dismantles tools and parts in the bodyshop and paint shop, and creates what is usable in China. Speaking to Saab legend Olle Granlund a year ago, we came to speak of exactly this point. He expected the Chinese to dismantle the stallback. But I stopped it. Because who would dismantle old, used tools that have already been used for several 100.000 vehicles 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 is now reached. Nobody will be able to press the magic red button anymore, no one will start a production anymore. The situation is clear and nothing will happen in this decade. Unless there is a miracle, the owners change or whatever. But miracles rarely take place even around Christmas time.
China wants to dominate the global mobility market. That is the declared goal. At Volvo, the Chinese react prudently. But they are aggressive. After Volvo came London taxi, Lotus, shares of Proton, a Scandinavian bank and the new brand Lynk & Co in the Chinese shopping bag. The appetite for more is far from satisfied. Geely should make Daimler advances and would like to enter as a major shareholder. Daimler struggles. Still…
But Chinese trees do not always grow into the sky. NEVS recalls the brutal tour of the 80 years and tries it with old tools and partly old technology. Not much better is the return of the former Tradtions brand Borgward ordered. Reborn as an undead, the formerly proud logo sticks to Chinese products. The comeback in China stutters, the brand burns a lot of money. Sales are falling, contrary to the market trend. Borgward owner Foton may have gotten over and is in negotiations 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.
Reason should be the authorities in China, which control the transfer of funds abroad. They oversee the outflow of foreign currency. A circumstance that we know, but surprised at Borgward. Because unlike NEVS, a company with a partially private ownership structure, Foton belongs to BAIC. And BAIC is a Chinese state-owned company.