A NEVS 9-3 EV in the wild. A rare picture, somewhere in China, probably in the megacity Tianjin. The 9-3 has changed in recent years, but can still be recognized as a Saab - despite the facelift and new, higher bonnet. Would you replace the NEVS lettering with the four magic letters from Saab, yes then ...
Production in Tianjin is due to start this year, which one can view with some skepticism, because the facts speak against it. The lecture by NEVS founder Kai Johan Jiang during the “Ekotransport” conference is completely contrary to what is happening in Trollhättan, or rather not being done.
440.000 NEVS EV in the year 2020
Under the title “NEVS - Bridge between Trollhättan and Tianjin”, he outlined plans for a very near future. Production of the NEVS 2018-9 EV would start in China in 3. Even on a smaller scale, but by 2019 220.000 electric cars with the NEVS logo will find their way to the customer. In 2020, 440.000 vehicles are to be built in Trollhättan and Tianjin and 3.000 jobs will be created in the former Saab factory.
Det finns en promoting med Trollhättan; där finns ett kunnande om hur man bygger bilar. De är världsbäst i Trollhättan. Det är vår hemstad.
KJJ is betting on the Swedish map. "To the world's best automakers who know how to build vehicles." And describes Trollhättan as a hometown. In addition, NEVS focuses on quality instead of premium. A price of around € 22.000 for a NEVS electric car with a range of 300 kilometers should make the product attractive to large sections of the population. The article about the lecture - too good to be true and in stark contrast to everything that has happened in the last few months - can be found at Dagens Nyheter nachlesen.
Vision or reality? It is to be hoped that the Trollhättan automotive location has a future. And you have to be careful if you want to write off Chinese startups too quickly, despite a long period of infirmity.
Turn in Qoros history
Does anyone remember Qoros? 2011 and 2012 left many engineers Trollhättan and hired at Qoros. Prominent flagship of the Israeli-Chinese startup was former Saab press officer Eric Geers. There was a lot of Saab safety know-how in the development of the Qoros 3, which at the time was the result of the best crash test result of all vehicles tested so far.
A good product and the ambition to conquer the world. Nothing came of it! Production figures remained low and demand subdued. The European start was buried, personal and financial problems arose. The Europeans left Qoros and looked for new employers. In the following years, the production figures continued to decline, despite additional models, and Qoros tested new negative records month after month.
In December 2017 took over the Baoneng Group 51% at Qoros, swapped management and imposed a radical cure on the company. With success ! Qoros delivered in the first quarter 11.371 cars from 288% to the previous year, and already 74% of the total volume of the previous year. A lasting recovery? It would be nice, because in every Qoros Saab is security DNA.
No Saab engine in the Foton Borgward
And then there was the story of Borgward. The brand is 100% Chinese and belongs to the commercial vehicle manufacturer Foton, which in turn belongs to the state-owned BAIC, which owns the rights to the old Saab engines. In the BAIC X65, the sister model to the Borgward BX7, a further developed B205 Turbo works, and there was the assumption that the Borgward would be seen with a Saab engine under the hood.
The German debut at Borgward falters, and actually 2017 should have been there already. Now finally the first 34 vehicles landed in Bremerhaven, only a small vanguard in the big announcements. Foton-Borgward is currently producing more open questions than answers, the Weser courier has aptly summarized the situation.
From Saab's point of view, Foton-Borgward is becoming increasingly uninteresting anyway. The former Saab designer Hareide only gave a small guest appearance at the brand, and there is no Saab engine under the hood. A direct injection developed by Foton is used exclusively on models with the Borgward lettering. The Saab engines remain with BAIC, the X65 with the 2 liter Saab Turbo is only sold through independent importers in Germany.
However, the whole story with the Saab DNA is on the decline at BAIC. The Senova label, successful from the start, is now weakening strongly. The D70, based on the old Saab 9-5, got a facelift, but has no more Saab Turbo under the hood. Almost a decade after acquiring old Saab technology, their career in China seems to be coming to an end.