NOTE: I don’t have any special insight into this sale whatsoever, nor any relationship with the new owners. These are just a bunch of scattered thoughts following a decent night’s sleep after yesterday’s announcement. They’re in no particular order and of no particular significance.
Can’t resist throwing this picture in again…..
My life changed unexpectedly back in 2007, when a bunch of prominent footballers retired from playing Australian Rules Football (the greatest game on earth and my absolute favourite sport). They were all around my age and in one fell swoop, it felt as if the baton had been passed from my generation to the next.
American Saab fans should probably feel the same way today. With the sale of Saab to NEVS, America is no longer the intended primary market for what might be labelled as Saab vehicles (naming rights are still under discussion, apparently). Your protestations and fist shaking will be noted, but the days of designing a Saab vehicle with the tastes of US consumers first and foremost in mind are over.
I’m not sure of that’s a good thing or a bad thing. For now, it’s just a thing. But a notable thing.
I wonder if there’s a Chinese version of Bob Sinclair somewhere in the New World?
Electric vehicles are the way of the future. The big question is “How far into the future?”
Right now, sales of EV’s are miniscule and the infrastructure for charging them simply doesn’t exist on a scale that will support their widespread adoption.
The rate of change in China is an incredible thing, however. Spend 10 minutes or so reading this and you’ll see that they’re doing remarkable things over there.
Is there a word in Mandarin for ‘impossible’?
Those of you wanting to do some background reading on the new main man in charge, Kai Johan Jiang, should head over to The Truth About Cars.
Bertel Schmitt wrote the article with his usual poisoned pen – take no notice of his attempted conclusions – but it will give you some level of insight into some of Jiang’s business activities.
He refers to Jiang as an “alleged Swede” but it was nice to note TimR’s observation at SU that Jiang spoke fluent and basically flawless Swedish at the press conference yesterday. Alleged Swede, indeed. I’m not suggesting that Jiang wears blue and yellow underpants everyday, but the guy’s obviously as immersed in Sweden as any other businessman of foreign extraction and I don’t think there’s a need to question his connection to Sweden with such a sinister energy.
Given Jiang’s business background and relative lack of automotive experience, one still has to apply the sniff test to what’s going on here. And a fair bit of it still raises questions with so-far illogical answers.
Are they going to finish building the ePower Saab 9-3 or are they bringing in technology of their own? If the latter, how do they plan to integrate their new Japanese technology and then field test it in time for a late 2013 release?
Why on earth would they build in Sweden to sell in China? It makes no financial sense and makes me fear a little for the future.
Why would they not mention the possibility of hybrids if they might still be on the agenda? They would need to source an engine and seek cooperation with eAAM once again, but the Phoenix based 9-3 showed a lot of promise as a hybrid vehicle and a link to Saab’s current clientele. It doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to abandon that hybrid version in favour of an all-EV range – not if you want to sell in any sort of volume, at least.
I’ve made my thoughts on EV’s and companies that focus solely on them known here on site.
I share a lot of people’s concerns about the future of Saab.
Despite this, and because it IS Saab that we’re talking about here, I’m going to be an interested observer with an open mind.
Kai Johan Jiang is either a genius or an ambitious fool with access to too much money. He’s made some good moves so far, so here’s hoping it’s the former.