Anyone who passed the old Saab factory in the last few days could see an unusual picture. The delivery area full of vehicles, like last time in 2011. An ideal world ... what has changed in Trollhättan? The good picture is deceptive. At the latest when you approach the area and discover the logo on the vehicles, the good mood fades.
Around 100 to 150 new Volvo XC40s are parked in front of the former Saab factory. No electric cars, nothing from NEVS, and certainly nothing that would be “Made in Trollhättan”. The NEVS subsidiary NIS not only rents former Saab test facilities, but also parking spaces. Its sales are expected to double from around € 2018 million to € 4 in 8. A success story, and the only one that can be reported at the moment.
Beyond that, another bad weather front pulls over the stablebacka. On the 23. March reports the China Daily a new joint venture between DiDi and CHJ Automotive. CHJ, similarly unknown outside of China as NEVS on this side of the Saab Community, will produce electric cars for DiDi starting at 2020. It was clear that this decision had an immediate effect on the D1 project and the future of NEVS would have.
DiDi had decided, which was no real surprise, against the cooperation with NEVS. The utopia of the wedding of a mosquito with an elephant was over. There was no reaction from Trollhättan. It took until the 5. April, until in Sweden someone took notice of it. A message from the NEVS intranet became the Sveriges Radio passed. In it, NEVS announced the end of the D1 development, which started in January, and the future focus on a new project of its own.
In the following days the NEVS press department tried to gloss over the renewed defeat. You stopped the development of your own decision and in understanding coordination with DiDi. And only the schedule and the platform have changed, but not the cooperation with DiDi. An escape from reality at a company that seems to subscribe to failure.
In fact, the consequences cannot be foreseen. DiDi was intended as one of the main customers for the NEVS 9-3 electric car. The start of production in summer 2018 is in the stars, and the question remains of what about the other non-binding, large orders. Medium-term financing is also an open flank. Still.
Sango comes after D1
After the D1 development, Trollhättan focuses on the Sango project. A new platform that, according to press officer Fryklund, stands for what NEVS really is. Sounds exciting, but it is not. The Sango project is an autonomous pod. A study of this showed NEVS 2017 at CES Asia.
Autonomous pods are the transport solutions of the future for the metropolises of this world. Incredibly effective, but also absolutely boring. No emotions, even less individuality than an SUV. And the design as sophisticated as the design of a shoebox. Nevertheless, one would like to score here with Scandinavian design accents.
The Chinese startup from Trollhättan wanted to be a lot in the last 6 years. Saab's successor, Tesla Jäger, Saab Design legacy keeper, an innovative brand and global provider of mobile services. So now the future as a hardware supplier for fleet providers like DiDi.
A business model of which there are already dozens in China. Young companies that rely on the fact that their hardware will appear in the fleets of DiDi or other providers in the not too distant future. Was it worth it to smash the remains of a large Swedish traditional brand?