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, local journalists were on the run with optimism. And even at the turn of the year there was the slogan that, which is good for NEVS, also good for Trollhättan.
Chinese investors. No future for Trollhättan.
Only a few weeks later, in fact, it seems that what seems to be a good NEVS is unfortunately bad for Trollhättan. It is about the dismantling of the paint shop and the final task of the assembly line in the factory. Gradually, the implications of events seem to be plowing into the public consciousness. That does not like NEVS, and there were half-hearted attempts to counter. A few days ago you could read a halfway optimistic article on the situation in the TTELA. In addition to NEVS communications chief Fredrik Fryklund, who was surprised by the consistently negative media coverage in Sweden, came Fredrik Sidahl, head of the auto parts industry, to speak.
He expressed the hope to be able to fill the factory with new orders. He cited the good infrastructure around the city, the proximity to the port in Wallhamn, and the good facilities of the factory as a trump card.
Probably not reflective that the work of NEVS is already partially dismantled. From the paint shop, only the property has remained. The facility itself is located on the way to Tianjin. Employees who are 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 currently the estimated remaining 6-700 Swedish employees working, maybe less? Some work in China, train colleagues in Tianjin and set up assembly. The former Saab testing and testing laboratories are well booked by other companies and generate revenue. However, they are also no longer up to date. On our last visit in the year 2016 was spoken of planned investments in the following year in the plants. One can assume that they did not take place.
The advance development for the DiDi concepts takes place in the stable baking, also the work on the Phoenix E platform. It goes without saying that due to the lack of capital, and also due to the lack of suitable employees, the projects are developing on a low-budget basis. The persistently bad situation surrounding the development of NEVS not only leads to a continuing emigration of top 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 backing. The patience on the spot seems to be exhausted. After years of announcements that never materialized, investor Kai Johan Jiang seems to have used up his credit. For the Chinese policy that Kai Johan Jiang obviously supports, the situation and the negative media response is not a recommendation. Because what happened in Trollhättan in recent years also damages the reputation of Chinese investors in Europe. This can not be endorsed in Beijing, where one registers sensitively what Western media report. NEVS and Kai Johan Jiang are finally hanging on the drip of Chinese banks. How long are they still watching?
The local newspaper expresses the hope for more clarity in the spring. And that NEVS will succeed in achieving success and economic importance. I do not share that hope.