Auto industry. The change is accelerating.

A new definition of mobility and alternative forms of propulsion. Digitization and revolution in manufacturing. Everything announced and by no means far away. On the contrary, we are already in the middle of it, and the upheaval is accelerating more and more. Last Friday gave us an example of how fundamental the upheavals will be.

VW ID3 Photo: Friso Gentsch / Volkswagen

Actually a completely normal, unspectacular day. No big headlines, apart from the tweets of the 45th President of the USA. Other events were drowned out in the din that can damage all world trade. It is worthwhile to listen more closely. Because every single one has the potential for a drama.

Let's start with Wolfsburg. Volkswagen is fully committed to the electric car. On the battery electric. Which could become a problem in the medium term, because the competitors in China are diversifying and promoting other concepts. In addition to battery-electric drives, the fuel cell is accepted, which is ignored on the Mittelland Canal. VW started selling the ID 3 last week. Pre-production of 200 vehicles in Zwickau is already underway, and things really get going after the summer break. 10.000 Vehicles were reserved within 24 hours, and Volkswagen's IT infrastructure reached its limits. Interesting because for the first time the Niedersachsen address their customers directly. And the dealer remains out of the reservations for the first time.

More exciting than the success of the ID 3 is a Friday speculation that concerns VW. You could be different from the traditional brand Bentley disconnect, a relic of the piech era. And instead invest in a new brand, for a young, urban audience. Bentley outside? It would be possible. British luxury brands seem to be moving in heavy seas. There is the unexplained Brexit and the fact that one seems to have no real answers to the current issues of the time.

Jaguar Land Rover to the PSA Group?

Because, also on Friday, there was another speculation. Jaguar-Land Rover is far from its former zenith of success. The diesel scandal plays badly with the company with its heavy off-road vehicles, and in China the sales figures have also fallen due to poor quality. Owner Tata is struggling to survive in India, and so the brand is once again on a possible sales list. The PSA group, which first integrated Opel, could also take over JLR, reported the trade press on Friday. Maybe for a more or less symbolic amount, because the uncertainties of the brands are high.

Pre-order phase. 10.000 orders in 24 hours
Pre-order phase. 10.000 orders in 24 hours. Photo: Volkswagen

Bentley, Jaguar, Land Rover. Not enough for a single day. Because, as a Sweden-affine blog, the view always goes to the north. And there a storm is brewing. Not entirely unexpected, because whoever wanted to see the dark clouds could already discover them. Volvo, the flagship investment of the Chinese, is reaching its limits. The sales figures are excellent, but the profit collapsed by 19% in the past fiscal year. A few weeks ago Volvo therefore announced to the 1. May both a hiring stop, as well as a flat-rate reduction the fees of consultancy contracts for 5%.

Volvo pulls the handbrake

Volvo, the job and prosperity engine for Gothenburg is weakening. For the first time in years. Which also has to do with the problems of Volvo's mother Geely, which currently exists in China. In principle, the Geely Group is the only international success story that China has in the automotive world. So far, because even for the spoiled by success group, the sun no longer shines every day. After rapid growth over the years, the sales figures are falling dramatically. Alone in April almost 20% and thus stronger than the overall market.

The Geely Group has to save, and the flat-rate cuts in consultant fees in Gothenburg do not seem to be enough. On Friday, Volvo released the storm and announced the dismissal by some 100 external consultants. Exact figures does not call the company, the assumptions in the Swedish press are speculation.

The party is over

If you just take a closer look, you will discover reports like the one from last Friday in the international press almost every day. The auto industry party is over. International, and the new times will not just come. You are already here and the industry is in a state of tremendous upheaval.

Pre-production VW ID.3 in Zwickau
Pre-production VW ID.3 in Zwickau. Photo: Volkswagen

It is under fire from all sides. From an environmental policy standpoint it is difficult, innovative startups question the status of the established. China is pushing into the mobility business with power and a lot of money, and the vehicles of the next day are nothing more than networked end devices - which just happen to have 4 wheels.

Those who have lean structures, the best software engineers and are capable of rapid adaptation will survive. The industry is becoming more uncomfortable, but also more exciting. It remains to be seen whether the fabulous earnings from the major car manufacturers will finally be a thing of the past. But probably.

Pre-production in Trollhättan

From Gothenburg and Volvo further north. To Trollhattan. The city, like no other, anticipated the transformation of the auto industry. The bankruptcy of GM left visible traces until today and ended in the end of Saab. What followed was the creation of smaller, innovative companies with state help. Trollhättan remained in business despite all the bad predictions.

Maybe because the industrial city has a talent for reinventing itself. Steam engines, turbines, diesel locomotives and airplanes. Everything was there once, big and important. And nothing lasted. A lot is happening in this city, and a new era is dawning not only in Zwickau.

As it seems, the slumber of the former Saab plant can come to an end this year. After almost 8 years, one does not include the short-term production for the model year 2014. The pre-production of at least one OEM product will enliven 2019 the factory, from 2020 should then run two product lines from the tapes. And if things go well in this unpredictable change, then at the latest 2021 could already be three brands whose vehicles are produced in the former Saab factory.

28 thoughts on "Auto industry. The change is accelerating."

  • I cannot follow ...

    What else do I like to praise?
    And how do you come up with the absurd idea that it might be worth considering for "readers"
    what “after Hürsch” is “worth preserving and possessing” ...

    “After Hürsch” every produced, drivable or repairable car is too good to throw away.
    “After Hürsch” everyone should drive, cherish and look after what they want ...

    Her comment has a very strange and very bitter note, for which I do not feel that it is causally causative.
    I'm afraid you'll have to look for causes in the mirror.

    But the question of the 9K Aero, I can answer you gladly.
    I just like him and would like one. Is it that bad?

  • ... and why an aero? SAAB has not denied Talladega, nor does it fit in with what you otherwise like to praise. Not that the readers think that, according to Hürsch, only an Aero is worth preserving and owning.


    That's exactly what hit me immediately when I read that the ID-3 was produced CO2-neutral.
    Technically not possible, but maybe still neutral negotiated and certified. Of course there are questions.

    If one company issues CO2, which has saved another, how much CO2 did humanity produce less overall?

    If polluters of CO2 emissions can buy and certify the factually false promise of their own CO2 neutrality on the world market, what influence does that have on the political and public debate?

    What influence does it have on consumer behavior and technical developments and solutions?

    If emissions trading and the one with certificates works in one way or another, as you indicated, yes, then that would clearly be “whitewash” and not “environmental protection”. It would be part of the problem rather than the solution.

  • VW will have calculated how much carbon dioxide is produced by the use of materials and energy for the production of an ID.3 and then buy certificates from a compensation agency for the amount of carbon dioxide produced by the production. So far so good.

    Now you can ask yourself, what has flowed into their calculation everything. Did you break down all your fixed costs on the ID.3, or did you leave that because you would have them without the ID.3? Of the sort, there are certainly more tricks than I can think of.

    To the certificates of the compensation agencies then arise the next questions. In a TV documentary that I have recently seen, the question of the reliability of these certificates has been investigated. It was wondering that the compensation of the same amount of carbon dioxide at different agencies caused significantly different costs. This could, of course, be due to the respective projects for reducing carbon dioxide emissions. When one looked at some of the projects listed on site, it was concluded that they could hardly bring the promised carbon dioxide reduction.

    In any case, VW wants to look ecologically good and therefore I can not imagine that you knowingly make false representations. On the other hand, it is still a company that pursues the purpose of generating the greatest possible profit. Therefore, it is already conceivable that you calculate the amount of carbon dioxide produced within tolerances and gray areas as low as possible and buy the cheapest compensation certificates.

    Whether you consider this to be environmental protection, whitewashing, better than nothing or fake news is up to you for the time being. Until proven otherwise ...

  • Seriously: just by introducing the term “belief” into the debate, you involuntarily have brought a large part of the problem to the point ...

    I want to know it and not believe it. That's the point. And to my knowledge a CO2-neutral transfer of an ID-3 to the customer is not possible. Nevertheless, it is claimed. You can feel that way. I will not do that for the above reasons.

    An honest and complete overall balance sheet for the ID-3 might have been positive and the bottom line could have resulted in considerable CO2 savings. Who knows? I would have applauded ...

    Unfortunately, this balance sheet is not available and Volkswagen, the PR department and the agencies commissioned prefer to dish out the myth of absolute (!) Neutrality. Why and what for? And who should believe that? And then still think it's good, although it's complete nonsense ...

    Yes, of course, there is also an ID-3 that is not available for an ecological fee. If you know better - sorry, if your belief is different - then VW is of course happy to let VW go through such slogans without being contradicted. You can do it like that. It's all a question of faith and good faith ...

  • Seriously: Do you really believe that Volkswagen creates such diners without being able to prove it. Especially since the diesel scandal is still very much present?

    Of course you have to watch these things with suspicion. It is expected, from an independent third party, and often the result is not to 100% comprehensible. But the road is the right one, and if Volkswagen wants and can operate the factory in Zwickau CO2 neutral, then that's good.

    Note: I am not a fan of Volkswagen and do not drive any.

  • I also do not want to have said anything against CO2 savings - be it in production or in operation.

    On the contrary, I am for it. That is exactly why full-bodied advertising promises should be put to the test. If they pass the fact check, everything is fine. If not, then it's fake news ...

    The ID.3 cannot be produced in a CO2-neutral way because the raw materials for it cannot be obtained or transported in a CO2-neutral manner. I have never heard of a CO2-neutral excavator, truck or cargo ship ...

    And as I said, CO2 balance sheets exist even for wind (better) and solar energy (worse). It does not exist without a reason. From a CO2 neutrality we are still very, very far away.

    You may like to find everything exciting (I do that too) and for my sake like to see positive, but please be realistic and stay critical. Not every (political or promotional) promise will last. If we really want to save CO2 and resources, ultimately only honest (!) And complete total balances count.

    Unfortunately, we are still very, very far away from them. The ID-3 is certainly neither complete nor honest ...

  • Fear is always with us

    Probably because of the consumption and range display ...
    A few minutes of brisk drive are immediately punished with eternal loading times - provided you can even get to the next column. A yellow angel could not do anything anymore, not pour diesel or gasoline into the batteries, not give any jump start ...

    A Talladega Challenge with a Tesla would be fun. If the batteries lasted 100.000 km at all, the average speed should be almost 200 km / h below the fastest SAABs due to the charging times. The Long Run would be a real long-term project, lasting around 5.000 hours and thus a good 208 days ...

    The 9K is still a fantastic car. Or again? He is one of the last to be free of bridge technologies and software updates for navigation systems, connectivity and cell phones that are free of annually obsolete gadgets and inexpensive bulbs, without the extra weight and additional cost of a ballast (xenon) get along.

    As you like to overtake a Tesla and waving happily. Autonomous driving in pure culture.
    And that's sustainable too. Perfect …

    Jan_HH, you made my day. Now all I'm missing is a 9K Aero ...

  • CO2 neutral production will be one of the future topics. NEVS will only use regenerative energies in the production of the SION. I find this part of the future positive and exciting.

  • In fact, first of all from a Danish model S. Went some time in convoy at speed above 170 km / h on the left lane. At some point, the Tesla went right over. Whether out of respect for the 9k or the hot drivetrain, the answer will remain open forever.

    Such a speed can not be withstood for such a long time, but even a 30 years old SAAB is still superior 😉


    Quote: "The ID.3 will be handed over to the customer in a CO2-neutral manner."

    This is impossible to my knowledge. If anything, the electricity for the assembly and the production halls comes exclusively from wind and solar energy. But even that has a CO2 record, albeit a cheap one.

    Since I do not need to start here from the mining and transport of raw materials and other links in the chain to the finished ID.3.

    If VW wanted to fully demonstrate the CO2 neutrality of production, they would definitely have a huge problem. But the people of Wolfsburg like to lean too far out of the window with grandiose promises. Way too far. And that's honestly true and not a lie ...


    Full approval and good conclusion, especially since I see no practical solution in the battery change. Today's EVs are well categorized under bridge technology.

    At some point they are just as obsolete and worthless as the ugly and poison-filled energy-saving lamps became thanks to LED technology within a few years. The comparison has something for itself. The classic burner is like a light bulb. And some people nowadays carry large numbers of brand-new energy-saving lamps for recycling, annoyed that they haven't waited for something better ...

  • For me, in this whole buzzword boom of the auto industry is still not so clear what it should be good for you to zukleistert the cars with an annoying and pointless layer of electronic waste. An automated collision brake on its own is a beautiful thing, even the Lane Keeping Assistant makes sense on the way home from the inn, but that you want to transform the driver to the idiotic worthless, the only-serve debil-infantile luminous touch screens and not even get a steering wheel, I think breathtakingly outrageous. Since they have to grow up only a few new generations who are willing to accept such a miserable-Asian existence.

  • The 180 km / h from Volvo is just a gag and window dressing. It is better not to drive electric cars faster, otherwise the battery will be empty so quickly. (Have you ever been overtaken by a Tesla S? Whenever I see one, they are on the road with a maximum of 120.) So the fleets are designed for a lower speed anyway, everything else makes no sense. And having to be fast just because of the German market is rather pointless for most brands. That'll stop at some point anyway….

    E-cars are too expensive, the batteries would have to be replaced instead of charging, if that makes sense, who lives in the city center, can hardly anywhere its car load, except a private parking is available. And most of them are looking for another car park every evening. Many of them are illegal, they never get power. For 50% of motorists an electric car is out of the question and that will not change that fast.

    None of these are competitive technologies - they should be sat out as consumers and manufacturers, and also as politicians. Much ado about little - big announcements like those from VW are rather counterproductive. Or phasing out the economical small cars because of it. Also nonsense. And incompetent politics is driving this madness, instead of smart planning and staying calm. Also applies to diesel madness.

    What will become of Trollhättan is important to the region, but for the Saab brand it will not work unless Orion benefits. That's why I'm dispassionate here.

    Before the infrastructure for autonomous driving comes, my two diesels will have been in use for another 20 years - or even 30. If this is ever to work, new roads and highways will have to be built with the networking technology. Instead of wanting to turn every car into a mainframe - that too is a mistake.

    So - don't be misled, conserve the Saab, support the Saab workshops and keep driving as long as you can 🙂

  • 180? ? ?

    Interesting. Recently met a friend with a new XC90. His comment: "The last Volvo Diesel ..."
    The man is a frequent driver and that was probably his last Volvo.

    If the 180 would come true without exception (such as Polestar), there would probably be no more Volvos with the Swedish police in the country either. The young Vikings would make long noses with their old souped-up boxes and new motorcycles ...

    And if I look at how many a Volvo driver in D is traveling on the BAB, then 180 in this market pure suicide. But even in countries with speed limits many buyers squint into the data sheet and value high-end speeds. Whatever, but it's just that.

    Maybe Volvo doesn't trust its own strategy? Maybe you also feel badly advised? “The dismissal of a few 100 external consultants” and “the flat-rate cuts in consultant fees” are perhaps also the first signs of a change in strategy, which could then actually only be a “backwards” role?

    I wouldn't be surprised if Volvo soon announces that the time for car sharing, autonomous driving and a number of recent slogans has not yet come, that the future is firmly in view, that they are a progressive and forward-thinking company at the cutting edge of technology Automobile construction is that the future of the automobile and visions will continue to be intensively researched and promoted ...

    But that is why, like no other company, it is possible to develop and deliver modern, environmentally friendly and active burners. Scandinavian, unique design and safety thinking included.

    We will see, but it is quite possible that one or the other manufacturer (especially with decreasing sales figures) comes to the conclusion that he has gambled more market potential than gained with his announcements on the future of the automobile and its brand. Who knows today who is going to revise something tomorrow, or at least put it into perspective?

  • How nice that we can “still” determine our actions and actions ourselves.
    But what possibilities will we have in the future, an old-timer or youngtimer
    Unlimited use in road traffic?
    I'm very critical of electromobility - there's a different way to protect the environment ...
    Are our passion for driving old cars and getting them destroyed as cultural assets broken?
    So now buy a Saab, why not as a diesel?

  • I was most surprised by the paragraph about Volvo. I would not have expected such measures in Gothenburg. In general I am curious how some changes (speed limit 180, no pure burners etc) are accepted by the customers (especially in Germany). Such decisions can quickly backfire.

    And who is racing for the fuel cell? The market for battery-electric vehicles is as good as distributed, for new companies (including NEVS), it is increasingly difficult to penetrate the market. Companies like BYD, Tesla, Nissan, Kia and now also VW are more likely to increase their shares.

    I mean, who would have thought that VW 4 years after the diesel scandal in not even 24 Std. 10.000 pre-orders for an e-car can generate?!.

    The next big thing in the automotive industry is no longer the battery car. It will be the technology that will connect! I would have liked to know which way SAAB would have gone. This time has been the most innovative in automotive history for a long time. And the Swedes have always been innovative and different.

  • We talk past each other ...

    As I said, I drew the same conclusions and conclusions.
    Nevertheless, I am interested in “this topic” - provided you mean the article.

    And it still seems to move you too. Otherwise you would not first comment and secondly allow yourself to be carried away to an echoed AW without even having understood and classified it correctly. Again and as I said, I have drawn the same conclusions and consequences and do not see any potential for conflict between you and me ...

    If you still find one, then it must be more because “this topic” is not only not (!) “Not at all interesting” for you, but on the contrary moves and excites you so much that you are no longer even brothers can recognize in the mind ...

    Does that prove credible and final your disinterest?

  • Extremely interesting insights, many things would not have expected or thought so

  • Hello!
    No, I will not do that. And I can no longer hear these statements about the future of our children. These arguments I hear since 45 years ago. Everything just lipstick. What does this have to do with finance? Nothing at all. Only with reason. If the policy is right here, it has only deceived us in the past. We should all buy diesel cars, and Euro 4 was environmentally friendly. A few years later this should be devil stuff? We are all well advised to drive our Saabs as long as possible. This is saving of resources and not the consumption of high-stress batteries.

  • I decided that for myself too. But I still find the topic interesting ...

    I don't go to school anymore, I'm neither a soldier, a farmer, a member of the board of an energy company, a geriatric nurse, a foreigner, a welfare recipient or whatever, and I can still be interested in all sorts of socially relevant topics. Especially for the environment, which affects us and our children all ...

    Are you just looking at your own finances and looking for the party whose electoral promises fit in the best way with your personal life circumstances?

    I do not think so. Otherwise, you would not have commented at all. Perhaps you also find the topic more interesting than your statement suggests?

  • Hello!
    Yes, the change is wanted. It's a political issue. Another scrapping bonus. Customers should keep the hamster wheel economy running. I heard from a credible source in the auto industry that this was supposed to be even an interim solution. The next “scrapping bonus” should already be in the drawers of the industry. I don't find this topic interesting at all. I will drive young and old timers in the future. If there is nothing in it, nothing can break. And I don't have to make updates or pay for them.
    All Saab drivers a nice time

  • The party of the car industry is over. Future is uncertain. But surely we can and will continue to drive our Saabs. These cars are so well produced that most of them will continue to drive for years. Who knows that in 2030 there are old-timer only Porsche, Mercedes and Saab :).

  • I read in a recent report that VW alone would need 130.000 tons of cobalt a year to produce the targeted amount of e-cars, but 123.000 tons are only mined / mined worldwide. To mention the other very rare raw materials. How should a complete electrification of the masses work? The change is intentional, but by whom?

  • The prospect of difficult times and out of the car will be mobility you can book. By subscription or something, Volvo does that. Is this going through? With a great deal of political pressure, the lobby behind it, perhaps. Maybe not, and the mature customer just does not pull along and drives the old burners on.

  • The storm in the auto industry is turning into a cyclone ..., incredibly exciting and moving times.
    Each of these “Tom's rear-view mirror” items are worth their donation €! Thanks for this current (!) Coverage!
    Fast is almost impossible.
    Who remains of the car dinosaurs at the end / survived is apparently z. At the moment completely open.
    There are no easy decisions to be made ... and success and failure are obviously closely related.
    When something new arises, there is always uncertainty at first. Not everyone likes this. But it will come. To shut it off just makes things more complicated.
    So: like more info from this extremely exciting business!
    I stay curious !!!

  • Well written. Every sentence a hit, part of a crime novel ...

    In 100 years, historians will work it up and classify it all. And I would like to read that today. For now, the SAAB blog is the best you can get. Thanks for this good article, which I digest first and whose information I first have to classify.

  • Once again an exciting article on Monday, and free of charge without a payment barrier! Especially the situation in Sweden is extremely exciting and something that you do not even notice in Germany.

    Let's see what really happens this year in Trollhausen, the last paragraph sounds really interesting.


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