The future and the uncertainties in Trollhättan

It's been almost 8 years - since the black of December, when the lights went out in Trollhättan. Not much has happened since then. The entry of Evergrande brought new hope at the beginning of the year, but at the same time new uncertainties. Where do Trollhättan and NEVS stand within the forming group, and what role can and should one play in the coming years? And, especially of interest, will there still be a vehicle developed at Göta Älv? The attempt to search for clues, which is not easy - and which today more than ever is characterized by uncertainties.

Main entrance earlier Saab factory in Trollhättan
Main entrance earlier Saab factory in Trollhättan

Only once as a reminder. In September 2019, Evergrande acquired the fully-developed chassis architecture 3.0 from FEV-Benteler, One month later, a far-reaching cooperation was announced Pininfarina, The Italians will design 15 new models, and the question arises as to who else needs developers and designers in Trollhättan. Is there anything going on at the Göta Älv?

Phoenix-E is alive!

It's amazing because even though FEV-Benteler's architecture has a platform in the group, NEVS continues to work on its own solution. The Phoenix-E platform lives on, as does technology chief Frank Smit in a post NyTeknik tells. In contrast to the Phoenix 1 platform, on which the NEVS 9-3 electric car is based, it is highly flexible and designed from the outset for electric mobility.

NEVS has been working on this for a long time. On my last visit to the development center, which was already 3 years ago, we were granted surprisingly very open insights. The platform enables the construction of almost all vehicle classes on a modular system. Although the possibilities would be almost unlimited, NEVS would like to limit itself to two different wheelbases.

The development status of the platform is not clear. It is also unclear when and if ever the first model of NEVS could roll at the start. A schedule is still not published. But Smit reveals that you continue on the Sango project works.

The project, an autonomous pod, is a priority and is based on an advanced derivative of the Phoenix-E platform. The work has been running since the spring of 2018, the result could be of interest to operators of autonomous fleets. However, almost all manufacturers now work with more or less emphasis on similar autonomous solutions.

The Sion of Sono Motors

Among the few things that are reasonably concrete is the production of the Sion by Sono Motors, which is scheduled to launch in the second half of 2020. The project is barely tangible yet, and its contours disappear in the fog. Neither can you report a pre-production or prepare for homologation. The Munich startup is waiting for another round of financing, which should start at the beginning of 2020.

But something is happening in the factory. According to our information, which does not come through the official channels but can be considered reliable, we prepare the contract manufacturing. Mind you only for the Sion and not for other vehicles that could come from NEVS or third parties.

More jobs for Trollhattan?

Officially, the production of the NEVS 9-3 electric car will pick up speed in China in January 2020. Trollhättan should also be involved in the added value. Components from the Saab plant for production in Tianjin, a three-digit number of additional employees at Göta Älv. You can hear nothing about it for a long time and that could have reasons.

Will the NEVS 9-3 EV never hit the market? There are facts that speak for it.
Will the NEVS 9-3 EV never hit the market? There are facts that speak for it.

The uncertainties

It could be that the first NEVS product will never be launched. A speculative tweet from China indicates that the facts speak for their seriousness. The NEVS electric car is outdated. Base and design are two decades old. What Saab fans would love, that would meet with the SUV-affine audience on rejection. The time alone has made the plans for the electric car Saab based to waste, but it could still lead to more significant changes.

Not as sure as the uncertainty! Phoenix-E, the Sango project, the contract manufacturing of the Sion. It is the question of whether these projects will last. Evergrande plans to influence Trollhättan erhöhen and the percentage of shares gradually to expand beyond 80%.

That you will do that is considered safe. The only question is how fast and not whether. Within the group, a second platform will have its right to exist, may be provided with a question mark. The theoretical, never really used possibility to develop a modern vehicle with Saab reminiscence could also be a thing of the past, even if more than 3 billions of dollars flow into the stablebacka.

Everything should be put to the test, including the brand name “NEVS”. Maybe the names on the buildings will change again and Trollhättan will become the first location for “Hengchi” in Europe?

11 thoughts too "The future and the uncertainties in Trollhättan"

  • Quote: Nothing is as safe as uncertainty! (something “changed” 😉)
    How true! If tens of thousands of 9-3 E are not pre-ordered in China, the deal should be as well.
    So, all the pre-orders are history. The reality is evidently 2 (?) Almost finished manufacturing plants in the Far East.
    “The rest” is the future. With many intentions. With and, unfortunately, possibly without Trollhättan.
    It remains exciting anyway, or that's why.
    I look forward to further “inside information”!

  • Incredible that NEVS can not stay afloat with anything for so long.
    Most automakers and suppliers are probably years and years ahead of NEVS with their technology, and have much more money for development and research.
    NEVS will fail due to the departure of the SAAB brand and the narrow-mindedness of relying solely on electric vehicles.
    In my opinion, Hyundai and Toyota are currently the most innovative manufacturers on the market, in addition to conventional gasoline and electric cars where also diligently fuel cell technology is driven.
    Only alone the focus on electric drives to set such as our great German car industry, (and politics) I think is a huge mistake.

  • The thing is madness in several ways. Since 2012 (?) Money is burned without one has managed to develop a significant source of income.

    In addition, one ignores the SAAB past. There are still a few 100.000 cars on the streets, there are still dealers and a working after-sales concept. Instead, you chase after dreams that 2025 or 30 might become reality. Crazy.

  • Fascinating

    The 9-3 EV may be back in the bucket and Evergrande still wants to buy NEVS stock?

    Today I also had a good business idea: the paid old gold ton for private households.

    Maybe Evergrande wants to get in there as well? The company headquarters could design an internationally renowned office. A monolith in the form of a golden garbage bin ...

    But seriously, Evergrande's interest in NEVS can only be found in Chinese factories, right?

    If Evergrande, as a real estate developer, manages to ever enter automobile, it will have little or nothing to do with Saab.

  • According to the latest information, there is no credibility or the confidence that the NEVZ, with or without Evergrande, will be able to achieve. The production of Sion cars is really not a success. It is good that you have taken away the naming rights NEVZ, really good.
    How is it for you Tom to write about something that has to be cashed in months later?

    • That's what you call salt in the wound? Seriously, of course, it's frustrating on the one hand. On the other hand, I have been watching things for a long time with distance and see the events and announcements in the role of the chronicler.
      The question that arises time and time again is whether to continue writing about it. In the last few weeks, more and more question marks are coming up, but the decision is (still) open.

  • Even if Evergrande were only interested in the works, they would also have to be interested in their condition, the whole system will not get better only by standing around.
    And a statement like, the first model is to be presented in 3 years, probably means just that: Presentation in 3 years, but production start only in 4 years. Even to protect their investments, they should have an interest in the fact that production starts.
    The full-bodied announcement of Evergrande was, after all, they want to sell 10 million cars within 5 years. If it was to start in 4 years, they would still have 6 years to spare, which would be more than a year for 800.000 cars per year.
    In my opinion, this will not work, even if starting next year, the production of the 9-3 EV starts. If only in 3 to 4 years, a product comes, not even.
    The workforce has to be built up and experienced, how should this work if nothing is produced?

    And the product should be too old for the Chinese market? Something should still be going on with local products, and Chinese industry should be able to deliver enough digital entertainment systems that customers like so much there. Possibly the car could be too small, because in China, there are even from vehicles of the lower middle and compact class long versions, which are probably better suited for use as a taxi or for Fahrdienstleister.
    Also in India allegedly the e-mobility is driven forward and also for this market the 9-3 should be too old? At least as a taxi should be something, but again a long version would probably be better.

    Here is my advice for Evergrande: The production must, admittedly probably start in smaller numbers, and they will probably not be able to weld again 8-10 cm in body to sell better.

    Let's see what will happen, but probably not what was announced with pithy sayings ...

  • @ Tom,

    I liked reading the article. That there is nothing that would please me, has nothing to do with the relevance and makes it no less exciting.

    Thank you so much for the recent developments in this economic thriller, we all probably feel a little salt in the wound.

    Somehow, it is also a bit of salt in the soup, if you can read and may, that not everyone can easily build good cars anywhere in the world. The trolls and their unfortunately only historical achievements are so much better there. 🙂

  • @ StF,

    if I have properly traced, understood, memorized and classified the information here, then state licenses and approvals are also attached to the works of NEVZ - ultimately the permission to try it as a Chinese automotive start-up no. 0815 today ...

    The value of NEVZ for Evergrande may be less in the works and tools than in one foot in the door?

    But be that as it may, we can still speculate so hard and the biggest speculator of them all remains Evergrande.

  • Benteler and FEV Group wants to make EV chassis for them.

  • @ Tom
    For God's sake, that was not my intention to scatter salt into a wound. But really a serious question without any malice.
    To stay in the ball in Trollhättan is just right and understandable. Only I can imagine that one as a blogger, sometimes fed up.
    What you do and perform here is indescribably good !!


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