No future for Trollhättan?

Turning point in Trollhättan. For the first time since the arrival of NEVS in the old Saab factory, the TTELA negative about the future of the site. For years the local journalists were on the road with anticipatory optimism. And at the turn of the year there was still the slogan that what is good for NEVS is also good for Trollhättan.

NEVS plant summer 2016

Chinese investors. No future for Trollhättan.

Only a few weeks later it seems in truth that what seems good for NEVS is unfortunately bad for Trollhättan. It's about the dismantling of the paint shop and the final abandonment of the assembly line in the factory. Gradually, the scope of the events seems to mill into the public consciousness. NEVS doesn't like that, and there have been half-hearted attempts to counteract this. A few days ago you could read a halfway optimistic article about the situation in TTELA. In addition to NEVS head of communications, Fredrik Fryklund, who was amazed by the consistently negative media coverage in Sweden, Fredrik Sidahl, head of the automotive supplier industry, also had a say.

He expressed the hope of being able to fill the factory with new orders. He named the good infrastructure around the city, the proximity to the port in Wallhamn, and the good equipment of the factory as trump cards.

Probably not a reflection of the fact that the NEVS factory has already been partially dismantled. All that remains of the paint shop is the property. The plant itself is on the way to Tianjin. Employees who are supposed to land assembly orders with “NEVS Industrial Services” left the company last year.

The situation carries a grotesque drama. The once state-of-the-art automobile plant in Sweden is being dismantled by Chinese investors. An ugly situation, as we only knew it from the 70 and 80 years, when Chinese people dismantled old steelworks into parts and shipped them to China.

Chinese investors. Future for Hisingen.

A few kilometers further southwest, on Hisingen, stands another car factory. It was 2010 in a worse condition than the Saab factory, but there Chinese are investing instead of dismantling. And while Geely owner Li Shufu successfully forms a global corporation, Trollhättan has no future. The expectation of the Saab veterans that sooner or later the Volvo logo would be found at work, has not been fulfilled.

And it seems unlikely ever to happen. Geely does not settle for old, looted factories. Geely thinks long term and builds anew. In China, a Polestar works at its finest, Ghent is constantly modernized. In December, Li Shufu's Geely Holding purchased from Volvo Trucks and last Friday became its largest shareholder at Daimler. An end to the Geely success story is not in sight. At the old Saab location it looks bleak.

In Trollhättan, they are now in doubt about the schedule of NEVS, which seems to be postponing itself for the umpteenth time. 10.000 electric cars this year seem hardly feasible, as the completion of the Tianjin plant continues to be delayed. The future of the Swedish location is the first time that TTELA publishes in public Question, Absolutely right when you see the facts. The old Saab factory is now no longer producible, the NEVS 9-3 project is controlled only from China. Trollhättan has nothing to do with it.

What remains? What are the estimated 6-700 Swedish employees currently working on, perhaps fewer? Some work in China, train colleagues in Tianjin and set up assembly. The former Saab test and inspection laboratories are well booked by other companies and generate sales. However, they are no longer up to date either. During our last visit in 2016, there was talk of planned investments in the systems for the following year. One can assume that they did not take place.

The advance development for the DiDi concepts is still taking place in the Stallbacka, including work on the Phoenix E platform. It goes without saying that the projects are developing on the back burner due to the lack of capital and the lack of suitable employees. The persistently bad situation around the development of NEVS not only leads to the ongoing emigration of high performers, but also to a bad mood up to the highest management level.

How long does Beijing support Kai Johan Jiang?

NEVS is now losing its last, local support. The patience on site seems to have been used up. After years of announcements that never came true, investor Kai Johan Jiang appears to have used up his credit. For Chinese politics, which Kai Johan Jiang obviously supports, the situation and the negative media response are not recommendations. Because what happened in Trollhättan in recent years is also damaging the reputation of Chinese investors in Europe. One cannot approve of that in Beijing, where one sensibly registers what Western media report. NEVS and Kai Johan Jiang are ultimately on the drip from Chinese banks. How much longer will they watch?

The local newspaper hopes for more clarity in the spring. And on the fact that NEVS will still manage to achieve success and economic importance. I do not share this hope.

18 thoughts on "No future for Trollhättan?"

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    Thank you for the update. ME can only congratulate Volvo on its Chinese investor, who would have thought that a few years ago, here too the doubts were great. But the Chinese were smart enough to realize that a Volvo made in China would fail on the European market or that it would have to be offered in other segments via price, but we have been spared that so far. I have often wondered which brand could be considered when it comes to a new car - the new Volvo V60 has turned out to be fantastic for me. Great design, lots of space inside. Unfortunately, a (small) plant at Volvo also fell victim to the portfolio streamlining, Uddevalla (jv with Pininfarina). I hope that Volvo will bring out a sleek C70 convertible with a fabric top again in the future. Because there are simply too few of the 9-3III MY10-12 on the market ... ;-( Who actually owns the Saabfabrik property? The banks or a real estate company? Once the property has been vacant for a few years, it begins to deteriorate. It's a shame Right next to it, you are currently worried about your future. I once read that GKN (formerly Volvo Aero) is considering relocating production to the UK ... Then a whole quarter would be empty ... PS: If you came from Looking over the main gate to the GKN, i.e. across the large parking lot, there are a few smaller "barracks" - which department was actually housed there during Saab times?

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    I am good at the lack of interest in NEVS. Now someone else has the chance to revive SAAB

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    That's it!

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    I think it's right and important that is reported on the blog about it. Where else can you get this information!
    If the decision-makers had not been so stubborn at the time and BMW had come to the fore, things would have been different today in Trollhättan. Why was NEVS named as the No-Name? Strange!!!
    Nevertheless - who has serious interest in the factory will invest in a new painting line. Let NEVS finally pull the plug to clear the way for a new investor. There has been enough bad news in the last few years. A crucial question will be whether there are any serious prospects for the old factory?

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    All of this had nothing to do with SAAB. The only thing that was still SAAB was the body of the old 9-3 from 2002 and the ominous Phoenix platform, which has now been developed for X years. The world keeps turning. Other automobile manufacturers are now light years ahead of NEVS. Not even necessarily with alternative drives, but also with the topic of networking, autonomous driving or even complete mobility concepts such as Car2Go. NEVS can't even begin to offer anything. They don't even have a sexy study that triggers a “want to have” effect.

    Do not get me wrong, but SAAB will always be SAAB for me. But SAAB has been dead since 2012. And it will stay that way. I've had 6 SAABs myself over the years. For me SAAB has always been an individual brand that has distinguished itself by technical refinements and by a cool, not the general taste corresponding design.
    NEVS alone is not a worthy successor. And who believes that the factory in Trollhättan again sometime tumble cars, is wrong.

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      Absolutely correctly formulated. NEVS is in theory a pure hardware supplier working on more or less old platforms. You can not offer innovative networking from your own home, not even in the beginning. The train of time has rolled over NEVS, in principle one does nothing but 6 years ago.

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      Hello Nico
      This is exactly how I argued years ago and was dubbed a pessimist. But anyone who is familiar with automobile construction knew that the whole Nevs procedure in Sweden was a no-brainer. A “dead brand” has never been successfully revived in automotive history. If takeover candidates are not continued immediately with a good concept (see Volvo), nothing will come of it. Nevs waited too long and had nothing new to offer. Instead, what little one had was degraded. A shame, a shame again and again.

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    Why are they still called NEVS anyway if nothing more will come from Sweden? Better would be NEVC. Since only hate and anger comes up when you see how such a traditional company driven against the wall and plundered. I wish them the final departure, that finally peace is.

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      I could not have expressed it better like Heiko

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    NEVS has brought in a lot of energy and capital - whether it is ultimately enough to drive to the store cannot currently be answered.

    The prime example of Volvo under the Geely flag is a comparison with completely different starting positions - these are now well known and have been described several times. With NEVS, the setup is much more difficult and requires much longer periods of time.

    I keep my fingers crossed for NEVS.

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      stop dreaming and live in a different world. Nevs it's a cancer that destroyed everything

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      "I keep my fingers crossed for NEVS."

      For what exactly? Dismantling and shipping? I do not understand the comment. Did you read the article?

      I do not care if China has a car brand more or less. Not quite in this special case (NEVS). I prefer that no Chinese brand invokes SAAB.
      Otherwise, after the assembly line and the paint shop also the reputation and the SAAB story would be shipped to China.

      Good that the SAAB AB has held a protective hand over the name.

      In a few years, SAAB drivers would otherwise be approached in parking lots by younger car enthusiasts as follows:
      “Interesting, your car. What year of construction is that? AHA! I didn't even know that the Chinese were already building such beautiful cars back then. "

      A real horror scenario! I never want to have this conversation.

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        Read the article carefully - but did not come to your conclusion.

        Do you really believe that a so-called startup (much more NEVS after the amputation by GM at SAAB and other adversities is currently not possible) could start with electromobility elsewhere than in China?

        Take a look at the infrastructure in Europe - apart from a few exceptions (Norway, for example) there is hardly anything to be seen. Of course you would manage everything here in Germany - I am firmly convinced of it.

        When you talk to young people about a parking space later on, there are bound to be more intelligent people than the youngsters you suspect from the valley of the unsuspecting - so don't worry!

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          Why the sarcasm?

          Did I claim I could get an e-mobile startup outside of China? I admit that I couldn't do it in China, I didn't even want to ...

          But is that relevant, the point?

          If NEVS was successful (does not look like this), that would be a startup of your choice. Would that have anything to do with SAAB? That is the point. That's what it's about here. It's a SAAB blog! ! !

          Subject (SAAB) heritage:
          One should also be able to distinguish between “knowledge” and “intelligence”. I have never heard of an intelligence test in which knowledge about SAAB automobiles would have played a role.
          Do you still make the “valley of the unsuspecting” based on whether a youngster will know in the future what a 1993 SAAB was?

          Here's a prediction: By your standards, all teenagers will be completely stupid in the future. Thank God, but only by your standards!

          Otherwise, fathers and grandfathers among the young will probably have to justify why they not only watched the technology and money transfer to China without doing anything, but also cheered it ...

          But keep cheering ...

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            I just found out that NEVS is trying to get something done in China (because it's more suitable for the project).

            Why should they stop after using energy and capital so far? SAAB automobiles were amputated by GM in such a way that another investor would not show much interest in the SAAB factory buildings (with or without a paint shop) - but the cause of this condition is not NEVS. I am in no way cheering - but I can somehow understand NEVS 'way of acting.

            SAAB automobiles had no future either under SAAB AB or later under GM. I'll just wait and see what might still work out with the “leftovers” under NEVS - other great investors will probably still not appear on the scene. You should come to terms with that now.

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    Is probably spoiled. Name ruined, now even off to China with the work. Can only do something better.

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    It's not bad news after all - when NEVS is out of the factory (the paint shop is going where?), Then you can unwind the factory premises - a buyer will be found ...

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    I do not share the hope either.
    NEVS is finally supposed to shut down the shop, maybe then something can be done with the sorry remainder of the work.
    But I'm happy for Volvo that probably because much goes in the right direction.

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