The last Saab is sold, and in Sweden an era came to an end. One could get the impression that NEVS celebrated this event in social media. There is no reason to do so, it is rather an event that should trigger grief and anger. A very personal look back. With a dose of anger in the stomach.
A number. A number says a lot, and it can document the failure of recent years in Trollhättan. So let's play with numbers.
One million Saabs were on 2012 worldwide. The year that NEVS got hold of the keys to Saab Real Estate in Stallbacka, acquired some intellectual rights, and wanted to be a carmaker ever since. So 1 million. One million people driving Saab and finding the brand good. Maybe there are more. If you include partners and family, maybe friends too. Then there are 3, 4, 5 million. But let's be fair, one million is enough for us today.
What is a customer worth? There are different statistics, depending on the industry. It is clear that it is better to keep an existing customer than to acquire a new one. In the case of Saab, the customers were very expensive. Together with Alfa Romeo, the brand from Göta Älv had the highest cost per vehicle sold. Depending on the year, Saab invested between 2.500 € and 5.000 € in advertising and marketing per car, a peak. If we conservatively start from the lowest value, multiply it by the one million customers, then we get:
Two and a half billion euros as a dowry 2012. And maybe more. 3 billions, 4 billions, which one would have to take in hand to sell a million cars. As a newcomer, as an unknown brand. For marketing, advertising, presentations. One billion potential that 2012 lay as a gift in front of Kai Johan Jiang and his team. And you just threw it away. At that time, when there was still an international network of dealers, functioning after-sales and a functional cycle consisting of relatively new vehicles and used cars. Not to mention a modern factory that would have spit out new cars at the touch of a button, a functioning supply chain. Also, a lot of it was free, because it was simply present and hardly worth it in terms of value.
What happened to 2012 was the opposite. And it's unbelievable, it was hard to accept. Instead of the chance to see the story came with the electric car. Of course, as we know today, NEVS did not acquire any rights to Saab's e-car technology. Although that was obvious. Maybe the insolvency administrators did not want to sell them to Chinese, or they might have been with GM. But the fact is that you left customers and dealers from the beginning on the left, built castles in the air and has just made 1.000 electric cars in China to this day. With speculation you gambled the trademark rights, and if GM has buried Saab, then NEVS even beat the nails in the coffin.
And now? It celebrates the sale of the very last Saab on all channels, celebrates itself for its failure. The action Saab gravedigger is successful, one has the impression that it is an act of liberation for NEVS. Off Saab, away from the traditional name.
It can be. Breaks hurt, and the industrial history of Trollhättan and Saab is full of it. The Saab saga is past, now final. Evergrande has other claims than a small, failed brand that hardly anyone knows to revive. The future plays in a different league.
Still, and that's why, it's good to be angry. Reflecting on the ignorance with which the NEVS founders 2012 went beyond the valuable substance of the brand. Perhaps, and here's a place for conspiracy theorists among the readers, Kai Johan Jiang and Co were just stalwarts for a story that is about to begin. A China saga, who knows.
Anger is helpful, and she needs a valve. You write an article about it, let it out. Or go into the woods, shouting loudly, that too should help. But then it is finally good. Breaks hurt, as I said. But just breaks make life exciting. People who break their CV are usually the more entertaining contemporaries than those who glide through life without problems.
In Sweden, a chapter has finally come to a close. Maybe that's a good thing, because times are changing fundamentally. Maybe, if Saab had survived, it would not be the brand the fans love. Let go of the past. The future can be exciting, the desire for something new is good.