The future and the uncertainties in Trollhättan

It's been almost 8 years since black December when the lights went out in Trollhättan. Not much has happened since then. Evergrande's entry brought new hope at the beginning of the year, but at the same time new uncertainties. Where do Trollhättan and NEVS stand within the group that is being formed, and what role can and may one play in the coming years? And, of particular interest, will there still be a vehicle that was developed at Göta Älv? The attempt to search for clues that 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 be designing 15 new models, and the question arises of who still needs developers and designers in Trollhättan. Is anything still moving at Göta Älv?

Phoenix-E is alive!

It is astonishing, because although there is a platform in the group with the architecture of FEV-Benteler, NEVS continues to work on its own solution. The Phoenix-E platform lives on, as technology boss Frank Smit in an article 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 remains unclear. It is also unclear when and whether the first NEVS model could be launched at all. You still don't publish a schedule. But Smit reveals that one will continue to work on that 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

One of the few things that is halfway concrete is the production of the Sion by Sono Motors, which is scheduled to start in the second half of 2020. The project is still barely tangible and its contours are disappearing in the fog. You can neither report a pre-series production nor prepare for homologation. The Munich startup is waiting for another round of financing, which should run in early 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%.

It is certain that this will be done. The only question is how quickly and not whether. Whether a second platform will have its right to exist within the group can be provided with a question mark. The theoretical, because never really used, possibility of developing a modern vehicle with Saab throwback could also be a thing of the past, even if more than 3 billion US dollars flow into the Stallbacka.

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

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

  • @ 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 !!

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

  • @ StF,

    If I have properly followed, understood, memorized and classified the information here, then state licenses and permits are attached to the NEVZ works - ultimately the permission to even try it today as Chinese automotive start-up no. 0815 ...

    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.

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  • @ 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. 🙂

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  • 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 really happen, but probably not what was announced with pithy slogans ...

  • 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.

  • 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?

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  • 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.

    Perhaps Evergrande would like to get involved too? The company headquarters could be designed by an internationally renowned office. A monolith in the shape of a golden garbage can ...

    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.

  • 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.

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  • 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 the most innovative manufacturers on the market at the moment. In addition to conventional combustion and electric cars, they are also diligently promoting fuel cell technology.
    Only alone the focus on electric drives to set such as our great German car industry, (and politics) I think is a huge mistake.

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  • Quote: Nothing is as certain 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'm looking forward to more “insider information”!

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