My interview with NEVS about their plans for Saab

I’ve had some questions about NEVS, their strategies and the future of the brand called Saab for some time now. Finally, after a bit of a wait, I had a chance to speak with Mikael Östlund from NEVS earlier this week.

There’s no big groundbreaking news here, but there IS some nuggets of expanded information there. It’s certainly opened my eyes to a few things, which I’ll expand on in another post.

Anyway, here’s what we talked about.

——

When you bought Saab back in June of this year, you stated that you wanted to build two EV’s – one based on the old 9-3 and one based on the Phoenix platform. You wanted to market those primarily in China. That was stated as your business plan. Has that plan changed? Been expanded?

Yes, that’s still the plan. The first electric vehicle will be launched early in 2014 and the second electric vehicle, based on the Phoenix platform will come later on. The company has been developing the technology around the batteries and battery management in Japan and China for quite a while. And since the transaction was finalised in August we’ve been able to continue development in Trollhattan as well.

When we feel the first electric vehicle is proceeding as planned then we’ll be able to take on the development of the second car on the Phoenix platform.

So that business plan hasn’t been expanded to include other things?

That’s it as far as electric vehicles are concerned.

We have, over the last few weeks, started up relations with the former Saab contractors to see how prepared they are, their ability to be a contractor to Saab Cars again. We have also experienced demand for the 9-3 model during contact with sales organisations in China. So we are evaluating the possibility of starting production again next summer for the 9-3. We haven’t decided that yet. We haven’t decided which models, but it’s one of the things we have mentioned in that letter to suppliers, that we are evaluating this. So when we get responses from the contractors we will have a basis for a decision but that’s not decided yet.

This (re-producing the old 9-3) would give us some benefits. We can get some cashflow, of course, but we can also start manufacturing earlier than planned. We can use the facilities we have more than we do today. What we do at the moment involves producing spare parts for Saab Automobile Parts but of course we want to utilise the facility as much as possible. We have around 100 people working at the plant, of which around 75 are employees of National Electric Vehicle Sweden.

Is the petrol/diesel driven Saab 9-3 something you will market globally?

For all of our models and products – how many we will be able to produce, the market will [decide]. But we have received interest for the model (from China) and as we evaluate the possibilities, the Saab contractors are aware of our plans, the possibilities, so they can work on that as well. But during this autumn or early winter we will see if that is a serious possibility.

Can the 9-3 be sold in China without modification to the front of the car? It wouldn’t receive certification in Europe next year as is, because of the pedestrian protection requirements. Would it be able to be sold in China without modification because that would be a significant expense for you if you have to make those modifications?

I don’t know those details exactly, unfortunately. I don’t know if it will be modified or not or how much has been done around that. But we have experienced demand and we are evaluating the possibilities.

How many do you think you would have to sell to make it worthwhile doing?

We don’t have any estimate of that.

OK, because it seems to me that you’re going to need considerable volume. It’s going to be a costly exercise if you have to modify the car, if you want to refresh the interior….

Well, the estimates that we do have, we don’t go public with those figures.

(I was referring to the conventional 9-3 here, but Mikael moves back to the electric vehicles here – SW)

The initial market is China, for the first vehicle (EV1) and the second vehicle on the Phoenix platform (EV2). Both cars will be sold globally but what demand there will be from the rest of the world, we don’t know. The focus will change a bit with the Phoenix car because that will come later, but certainly the focus for the first vehicle will be China.

There are volume customers and as they (the Chinese) are investing heavily in infrastructure that will help all manufacturers, of course.

If your assessment with regards to re-building a conventionally powered Saab 9-3 doesn’t work out, if you decide not to do that, have you considered building a more conventional hybrid type vehicle, something that will be electrified but offer a greater range than people expect from a pure electric vehicle?

That’s not part of our business plan. We don’t close any doors, but it’s not our focus nor part of the business plan. When you start from scratch, or close to it, you have to consider whether it is cost-effective to have two different powertrains in one newly developed car.

You plan to release your first electric vehicle early in 2014. Do you have a plan yet as to where you will first show the vehicle – will it be a motor show in China, or in Europe?

No, we don’t have an answer for that yet. I’m not sure how that will be done.

What segment of the market will you be aiming these EV models at? Will they be lower cost, higher volume models, or more in the premium segment?

The plan is to produce a premium car, in volume. The first premium electric vehicle produced in volume.

Okay, so that leads me to the questions I have about producing in Sweden to sell in China. The demand in China, that I’ve been able to look up, forecasts 150,000 EV sales there by 2017. That’s the latest research I’ve found from a company called Pike Research and that’s a bit below what the government forecast a few years ago. Given that so many of those are likely to be domestically produced at a much cheaper price, where is the place in the Chinese market for an electrified Saab?

When we reach maximum capacity at the Trollhattan plant, there is the possibility of then building in China.

[Building where our factory is, and building the car we can produce quickest] is really a matter of time-to-market in order to lower costs. It’s very hard to establish manufacturing in China without an established market there. We feel that to do that would be too expensive. The Trollhattan plant is a world-class facility. I think there have been about 50 billion SEK invested there so why not take advantage of that? That’s where the scale, the capacity is, so for us it’s obvious: why not use that facility?

I guess my response, as someone who doesn’t know the intricacies of your plan, is because your labour costs are much higher and you’ll be paying a big import duty when you bring the vehicle into China.

The labour cost is not that much on the whole, taking advantage of the facilities here compared to the costs of starting up in China.

OK, so the cost of establishing in China would offset what would you might be penalised for building in Sweden to start with?

Yes.

To work it backwards, National Electric Vehicle Sweden has bought the assets because of (the quality of) the assets. The whole region is accustomed to building cars. When the plant reaches its maximum there are possibilites to build ‘transplants’ in China. So National Electric Vehicle Sweden is not considering closing the plant to start up elsewhere.

But there may be a transition in the future?

If the market demands are more than we can fulfil in Trollhattan then we could consider this.

You recently opened a battery production facility in China…..

The owner of NEVS, a related company, has started the battery production plant, yes. That factory will be the main supplier of batteries for the Saab cars.

Is that factory producing batteries already?

Yes, they’re currently selling batteries to power electric buses in China.

Will those batteries be shipped to THN for installation in vehicles, or will the vehicles be shipped to the batteries?

That will depend on the market but for cars to be sold in China, the final assembly of batteries could be done in China. When the cars leave Trollhattan they will have batteries so that they can be driven. If the final market is in Europe, for example, we would assemble the (full) battery in Trollhattan. For cars bound for China, there are several solutions that you could use – interim or temporary batteries.

And the production batteries, will they be batteries that can be swapped, as well as being re-charged?

Right now, for our cars, I don’t think swapping batteries will be the solution. We see that for commercial vehicles, or taxi fleets, that swapping the batteries will be OK but for private cars, in the market estimates that I’ve seen, the absolute majority will charge their cars overnight, at home. We see the swapping stations mostly being used by commercial fleets, taxi companies and buses. I don’t know for sure if there will be an alternative for our cars, but I don’t think so.

I’ve shared my own opinion on my website – that all-new product beats rejuvenated product every time. Why would you spend a lot of money on a 9-3 based vehicle that probably has a limited shelf-life and will suffer from limited acceptance in the marketplace, when you could use that money to get your game-changing vehicle – the EV2 – on the market quicker?

That vehicle [EV1] will get us to the market quicker [than the EV2] – it’s all about time to market. Saab has been out of the market for two years and if we wait for the Phoenix vehicle to be realised that will be another three years. That’s a long time for a company to be out of the market. With the 9-3 based vehicle we can go to the market earlier and when we see that our plans are working we can start to develop the car on the Phoenix platform.

So the reasons: there is a demand for the car, we get to the market earlier, we get the cashflow earlier and we can keep the relationship with the market for our quality brand.

The 9-3, when it was being produced before, was already being referred to by the motoring press as being too old. It’s now two years older. Are you worried about this?

The electric vehicle will be a new car. It will be based on the same platform but it will be a new car when it’s launched.

Do you plan to significantly change the interior/exterior of the car to accentuate the fact that it’s a new car?

Yes. It will be a new car and it will be re-designed, the interior and the exterior as well.

Do you plan to use Jason Castriota’s design for the EV2? It would seem to make sense, if it’s a suitable design for you, rather than spending time and money on a clean sheet design.

His designs were not a part of the assets that NEVS acquired. NEVS don’t close any doors but there is no official position as to whether they will or will not. It’s not a part of the deal, however.

Has a design team been appointed to do the required work for the 9-3 (if re-design is required), the EV1 and the EV2? Will that team work from Saab Design in Sweden, or in Japan/China as with the battery engineering? Are there any names we’re familiar with?

Kjell ac Bergström is, as CTO, responsible for the design. The resources there consist of in-house competence as well as consultants such as LeanNova, and cooperation with design teams in Japan and China.

There’s still a lot of cynicism in the marketplace about Electric Car companies. Fisker is suffering terribly from this, as did Tesla early on. Tesla’s managed to carve out some credibility, however, thanks to good product and a progressive message. You’ve been very quiet in PR and marketing terms and the Saab brand value that you’ve purchased is being eroded a little more with every week/month. When do you think will be time to start getting your message out there, to either remind or let people know that Saab has a new owner and a new product to promote?

We’ll address the market well before the launch. We don’t have any product to sell right now, but we’ll talk to the market well before we have something to sell. We have been very clear with our message, about when we plan to launch our first vehicle. We have been asked a lot about specifications – battery capacity, range, etc – but why should be talk about all that 18 months before the launch? No other manufacturer would do that.

But the basics of our message are out there and clear. We will build electric vehicles, we will focus on China but we will be a global brand. The rest we will talk about when launch is closer.

All of that is fair and I agree that you shouldn’t be talking about specifications this early. But as a Saab fan, and I know the Saab community reasonably well, I know there will be a lot of interest just in the type of technology you’ll be looking to bring in your vehicles.

In general terms, the batteries that are being produced in China have a very high energy density. They’re being built upon Japanese technology and they’re really at the forefront of this area. We have an R&D department that continue to work on those, working with different materials. That also goes for the construction of the car, where we will use different materials to lower the car’s weight.

That is the Japanese cornerstone of this operation. The Swedish cornerstone in all this is the plant, the manufacturing and design skills. The cars will be from Trollhattan. Then we have the Chinese engineering input and the Chinese market.

So a lot of the engineering expertise is going to come from Japan and China?

Yes. The battery factory has been built and busy this year already and that’s the whole idea behind this – that the work shouldn’t start just when the acquisition was finalised two months ago. There has been work ongoing for some time in Japan and China.

Where do you see demand for pure electric vehicle, say by 2020 in the Chinese market? Do you have a figure that you think electric vehicles sales will reach and the demand that you’ll need to meet in terms of sales?

It’s hard to make estimates on your own and I would only be guessing but if you consider, for example, what has been said about China, that in 2020 there will be around 200 million cars and they estimate that around 10 percent of that could be electric vehicles. That would mean around 20 million cars. The Chinese government are supporting the industry’s effort to produce electric vehicles and they estimate that for 2015 the production capacity would be 500,000 (electric) vehicles, and by 2020 around 2 million vehicles amongst an estimated 5 million vehicles with alternative powertrains.

(Note, just for clarity – the 20 million vehicles mentioned above was also mentioned at the press conference when NEVS bought Saab. The 20 million vehicle forecast was for total vehicle stock on the road (not sales) of both hybrid and electric vehicles by 2020. That figure has been revised down by several agencies since. As mentioned above, Pike Research estimate sales for 2017 at around 150,000 electric vehicles in China – SW)

They are also planning more, for battery swapping and charging stations, charging poles. They will have in December around 13,000 charging poles and somewhere around 250 larger battery swapping and charging stations. The goal is for them to build around 2300 charging and swapping stations and 220,000 charging poles by 2015. China is planning to do this because they have to. They see the coming demand, the environmental challenges and they know that the possibility to fulfil that demand just with fossil fuel cars isn’t a reality. (well, not a responsible one – SW)

But having the capacity to make 500,000 electric vehicles when there might be demand for only 150,000 vehicles (in theory) just means that China will have excess capacity, which is a problem already around the world. It’s a demand-side prospect that you need to forecast, isn’t it? Do you have forecast numbers of your own as to what you think demand will be for your vehicles in China?

As I mentioned before, our market research and estimates, we don’t go public with those figures but we consider our goals to be ambitious and realistic. The Chinese government have released their own estimates and figures about demand and infrastructure such as charging poles, etc, but we don’t release our own figures at this time.

Do you have a time by which you plan to be profitable?

We don’t state a year but we have financing in place for implementing the full business plan and getting a positive cashflow. But we don’t say when that will be.

——

Well, that’s it.

I got to ask pretty much all of the questions that were bugging me and I thank Mikael Östlund very much for taking the time to answer them.

I can’t say I’m fully convinced by NEVS’s plans for Saab or the answers that Mikael gave, but I appreciate that he can only tell me what he’s allowed to. There are some areas he just can’t go yet, but hopefully this interview managed to push the knowledge envelope just a bit further.

SW

Swade

Ex-Saab blogger, multiple Saab and Alfa Romeo owner and football tragic.

You may also like...

19 Responses

  1. Peter HICKMOTT says:

    Interesting but I agree with you. Their plans don’t make a lot of economic sense to me, particularly the potential restart of the 9-3 which is very old by contemporary standards. Based on the Spyker experience, I can’t see enough sales volume being achieved to sustain their plan. I could be wrong however ! I guess time will tell

  2. ctm says:

    Thanks for the interview – the first one I have read that actually asks the relevant questions. Not fully convinced by the answers, but I partly understand that they can’t go public with certain things. I still think there has to be a plan in the background on cooperation with another car maker to utilize the plants capacity.

    A MY2011 type 9-3 (SportSedan and SportCombi) would sell in Sweden if the car is fully equipped and the price is not greedy. People know it is a solid and safe car, the parts situation seems to running smoothly from what I hear, and there are over 100 old dealerships still servicing Saab all over the country. I think they would be able to sell at least 500 every months. I’m a little nervous about the redesign for the EV1, though. I hope it wont be a butchers job to make it “cool” and “futuristic” just because it is an electric vehicle.

  3. signs says:

    Thanks a lot for this gem of an information-packed interview Swade. I think you opened up the vistas – and the eyes – for a lot of people with this, including me.

  4. ctm says:

    Swade, I have a question:
    In one of the answers in your interview with NEVS you transcribed the words “Saab Cars” with a capital C in cars (“their ability to be a contractor to Saab Cars again”). Is there a new company founded with that name, or do you/they just mean “Saab cars”?

    • Swade says:

      I wrote Saab Cars because he said ‘saab cars’ and I made my own decisions on the capitalisation. I don’t think there’s anything to be read into that. He was just talking about whether suppliers were ready to supply to the company he works for.

  5. baas900i says:

    “That’s it as far as electric vehicles are concerned.” so other models are in some long term pipeline? find it all a bit blase, public relations are paid to give spin, i’m sick of spin, started with our current federal government…..

    • maanders says:

      I think by that he meant that, as has been said, they are considering to restart production of the current (i.e., 2011) 9-3 with petrol or diesel engines as there may be some demand for that, but they have not decided that yet.

      • Swade says:

        Correct, Maanders.

        I think he knew where I was going with the question (i.e. the re-building of the 9-3) so he separated that from the electric vehicles. The question (So you haven’t expanded the business plan?) gave him the opportunity to tell all sorts of things they might be doing – partnerships with others, whatever – but all he mentioned was the 9-3.

  6. Christof Rytz says:

    Great interview. Tells to me that NEVS plans are not really clear. But they must get back cars on the streets as soon as possible. So if they will do I will renew my “old” 9-3 with a new-old 9-3

  7. Dave says:

    At leist it’s a plan , at times SAAB did stay with a shape / design for a long period of time e.g. a balljoint from a 68 99 fits a 93 900 and the 96 modle did have a long production run . That makes for the question is a typical SAAB owner a buyer , looking for style changes or advancement in enginering an evolutin of a classic design like Porscha in the 911 series or an XKE evolution car that is being made called an XKF I belive . SAAB has always been a nitch market / car and someday we all will have to say goodbye to petrol . The idea to blend the short trem and the long could be the only way SAAB could be a nitch car again for it’s market , someone just has to decide what that business model is to be . I wish NEVS well , if their correct SAAB could live , if not were no worse off than we stand . The thought of shared parts for a longer term could help in parts being locatable for the manufacture and owners at a lower cost for all parties . Sad tho that were in this place at all , a fine car , a following and expresive of inovation in a blanding of the art of design that lasts , iconic , to thos of us that got on the SAAB train long ago . Just my opinion Dave

  8. alfredtian says:

    NEVS to restart Saab production with pessimistic outlook
    2012-11-02 00:14:31
    Translated by google
    Alfred Tian
    “Ding Ling , Ding Ling whisper ……” A hasty phone rings. Alfred, who lives in the the Swedish Trollhattan (Trollhättan) the City Skogmansgatan street No. 3 hospital Ålfred just after breakfast, is preparing to go for a drive, go to help a friend move house.
    “Hello, is the Mr Ålfred? From the city re-employment and training center called ……”
    Ålfred pleased drove to a friend’s house to help. Also deliberately around three blocks back in the afternoon, on the road after a pause in his original work called Saab Automobile factory. Compared with a few months ago, the original door closed, more than a lot of popularity in a quiet plant, machine-polished sound came from time to time the third workshop, two workshops connected at more than a lot of back and forth carrying things people. Ålfred noticed, and two years ago, his work here is not dressed in deep purple with orange stripes overalls NEVS few letters written these people wearing clothing. This reminds suddenly let Ålfred, where the owner is no longer called Saab, but a called NEVS from so far away to a Chinese company.
    Ålfred I am very pleased. Morning phone call from re-employment and training center, the other end of the phone said today EU globalization fund (Globalization Fund) has approved funding of € 5.4 million to help more than 1,300 unemployed Saab employees to participate in the re job training, early re-employment. Another pleasant news, new masters – the hiring manager of the Swedish national electric car company (NEVS) Saab factory the day before yesterday to the Ålfred made a phone call, and asked him whether he is willing to come to the factory again next year if Saab resume production to work. “It will also have to ask, who do not want to go to work early it did not work the day you do not know how hard it is, not only can not buy Absolut (” Absolut Vodka Sweden spirits brands), even in front of his wife could not lift their heads. ” the Ålfred thinking to himself, his mouth into the phone is answered “Yes, I consider what to say.”
    And Ålfred some other former employees of Saab continues to receive a phone call NEVS recruiting department the purpose are asking re back to factory work possible.
    Currently, NEVS are actively recruiting employees to prepare for re-starting the production of conventional cars in the middle of next year. NEVS people told me they are re-evaluation of more than 500 original Saab car parts suppliers to ensure that suppliers Saab 9-3 for NEVS’s willingness to continue to provide spare parts, and still has a high-quality parts production and ability to deliver on time; want to restart production of Saab 9-3, of course, have to consider whether there is still a market demand. The NEVS people tell me, after an investigation, the current market for Saab 9-3 “there is still a huge demand” This is NEVS to adjust the initial business plan, consider one of the most important reasons for re-starting the production of traditional automotive; At the same time, in view of the result of the original Saab bankruptcy and cause the dealers large losses back network situation, NEVS is organized manpower to re-the original the Saab dealers qualification and willingness identified, assess the cost of rebuilding the dealer network. “As long as meet market demand, the suppliers supply capacity, dealer distribution and after-sales service these three points, we decided to restart production of the Saab 9-3.”
    If all goes well, in June 2013, the first car of NEVS – Saab 9-3 will be officially off the assembly line when the NEVS will officially become Sweden’s new car manufacturers, while parent company of NEVS – China National Modern Energy Holdings subsidiary as well as the God of the company country Power Group (State Power Group), will also be officially entered into the ranks of the Chinese automakers.
    Strategic adjustment and regression
    June 13, 2012, the the Saab insolvency administrator Anne-Marie Pouteaux and Hans L. Bergqvist, held a press conference in Sweden, announced that after seven months of bidding, and ultimately by the national modern energy holding company in Hong Kong, China and Japan Sun Investment LLC 51:49 shares than set up jointly by the Swedish National Electric Vehicle Company, which is NEVS, overcome the loud voice of China Youngman Automobile Group bought Saab majority of the remaining assets, so that the last two years to participate in bidding for the Huatai Automobile youth car large automobile trade, Geely Automobile, the Russian Antonov, Mahindra & Mahindra, India, the United States Northstreet and so on and so on become clouds also the most melodrama of ups and downs Gouxue history of mergers and acquisitions for the world automotive temporarily draw on the full stop.
    Beginning of mergers and acquisitions, headed by the Swiss cadastral Chinese Jiang Dalong NEVS its management team announced a business plan: to co-ordinate the Swedish manufacturing and design capabilities, the advanced technology of the electric car in Japan, as well as the development of electric cars in China and future transport solutions great opportunity The playing future of the world’s leading electric car company Saab Automobile. As written on them to this end the newly established NEVS company Home, “the Saab the car, Teluohaitan and Sweden innovation and technical excellence on behalf of Saab Automobile, contains numerous future of green transportation solutions! ‘
    Jiang Dalong established NEVS purchase Saab Automobile, Saab Automobile Powertrain and Saab Automobile Tools all the assets of the company, and buy the existing Saab 9-3, intellectual property and the intellectual property of the Phoenix platform, to prepare on this basis on the use of electric vehicle technology in Japan, at the end of 2013 to 2014, launched its first electric car EV1 based on the Saab 9-3. Plans to continue after the introduction of electric vehicle technology in Japan, the development of new electric cars EV2 Phoenix platform. NEVS electric cars will be primarily aimed at the Chinese market, the sale of 80% of the electric car in China.
    September 3, 2012, NEVS in Sweden announced the formal completion of the acquisition of Saab assets, and began to recruit staff. Actively preparing for the 18 months after the first electric car off the assembly line. Announced the Japanese Sun Investment LLC exit NEVS. NEVS officially became a the Modern Energy Holdings, a wholly owned subsidiary, the Guoneng Power Group, a joint venture subsidiary, will become the most profitable in China National Grid (State Grid) grandson company. In addition, NEVS also held with the original Saab brand Saab defense company (Saab AB) agreement, NEVS to obtain the right to use of the name Saab (Saab four letters, not Griffin logo). At this point, through the acquisition, NEVS have the intellectual property rights of all Saab Automobile Company production, testing and experimental facilities, Saab Automobile Powertrain and Saab Automobile Tools, Saab plant, the Saab 9-3 platform of intellectual property and the Phoenix platform the Saab text brand, and the original Saab’s account manager, production director and Saab Powertrain CEO and other executives to hire. Although NEVS claimed to save his playing future of the world’s leading electric car company, but in fact, NEVS have with all the conditions of production of conventional cars.
    October 16, 2012, NEVS announced by NEVS and its parent company, National Modern Energy Holdings to build national battery technology company officially began operations. The company is located in Beijing, will be based on Japanese technology, the production of high-energy lithium iron phosphate car battery power (maximum energy density of 146 Wh / kg), powered future NEVS electric cars. In before NEVS electric car launched, its first supply some pure electric passenger cars in China.
    Just as people do not see the earnings prospects of electric-lane road NEVS how to continue to go far to wait and see, as I previously by Bowen guess, as have all the traditional automotive production conditions NEVS no ray of light in the face electric-lane road, and finally they will inevitably cliche, plans to consider the production of the the traditional Saab 9-3 car before electric cars, as the “transition” car, until the electric car market is mature.
    October 30, 2012, NEVS announced former Saab Automobile parts supplier capacity and dealer network was the ability to conduct research and evaluation, as well as market demand, and planned to resume in June 2013 the traditional Saab 9-3 car production .
    For now, NEVS from the original production of conventional cars, “the long-awaited, still holds partly concealed” becomes shirtless, completed the adjustment of its strategic planning. Not so much a “strategic adjustment”, as it is a “strategic regression. I guess, the development of electric cars may finally won the for NEVS only Saab assets acquisition of a gimmick. Now that the acquisition has been completed, it should expose the real face of the If NEVS lifetime really want to do a pure electric car, the crucial things that there is no need to have to offer Powertrain and Saab brands for traditional car. As to not buy Saab Parts Company (Saab Parts AB) for the development of traditional car also equally important part of this personally think that just because Saab parts company owner, the Swedish Debt Office (NDO) political factors behind too complex to not NDO, when Geely involved in the possible acquisition of Saab assets is also very successful. Even so, NEVS still in the next three years, Saab parts priority acquisition.

    Re-starting production challenges
    Although NEVS ready to officially begin production of conventional cars, the identity of an automotive industry to compete. But as the car recruits “NEVS of the challenge is definitely much more difficult to imagine than its magnificent turn likely stuck in a quagmire, unable to extricate themselves.
    First, the market
    In through acquisitions, NEVS only got cash Saab 9-3 platform, intellectual property, and did not get the 9-5 and 94-X models. Cash Saab 9-3 was developed in 2005, seven years to the present. Saab 9-3 major changes since the market for the first time in 1998, in addition to the production of the 2003 ext developed by Opel Epsilon platform, basically has always belonged to the “medication”. Although this NEVS buy 2005 Saab 9-3 than 2009 BAIC to buy Saab 9-3 and older in the 1980s, Universal GM2400 and GM2900 platform-based the Epsilon platform on the 2003 models new, but so far there are at least seven “old age”. Although the automotive market, like Santana or Jetta this in 30 years, Somerset is not bad “example, but look around the world, almost’ve run out of the same car. Moreover, the Saab 9-3 and Santana or Jetta, cost-effective and competitive is certainly not a level. In today’s competitive automotive market, “the doddering”‘s 9-3 In addition there are still a few die-hard fans in the market, like Wang, like can usher in a second spring is unlikely. Because this niche models in the most glorious era of its history, but also eighteen thousand vehicles.
    Future products, although NEVS are also claimed to have got the the Phoenix platform of intellectual property, but make Phoenix the “loose ends” of the platform engineering playing a truly out of the bus production platform, not two or three years time and huge capital investment is absolutely impossible. Moreover, claimed to grasp or understand the Phoenix platform, including youth, Spyker and Swedish LeanNova, Combitech several companies have been future the Phoenix platform models of the dispute must be lively. The SAIC Roewe series models single in the Chinese market, the the Beijing brand new car is not derived from EpsilonI Beiqi Saab development based on, from the Epsilon II Shanghai GM’s Buick line of cars, by the general influence and learn from the Epsilon II platform 9-3 models the, Opel Series models, youth / Spyker whole or half models based on the Saab Phoenix platform of the future youth series models, and so on, definitely let NEVS cash as well as its future Phoenix platform models have a “can not find the feeling of the North”. NEVS the car in order to win in the competition, easier said than done.
    Secondly, suppliers
    Saab bankruptcy hundreds of parts suppliers suffered heavy losses. The closure of the closure of careers, dealt a devastating blow to the entire supply chain system. Before NEVS started production of Saab Automobile parts, parts after-sales service for existing owners. But the bosses of the former suppliers in order to make a comeback, daily prayer OEMs like Saab this is to stop encounter. Therefore, when NEVS again approached them to discuss again the possibility to supply components for the Saab 9-3, the vast majority of people have a lingering fear, dare not rashly promised. Moreover, once they learned that the Saab 9-3 just NEVS the pure electric cars in the future before the arrival of a “transitional model”, I believe that no one would dare to adventure “stepping stone” to act as the transitional stage.
    Again, dealers aspects
    And similar parts suppliers, the bankruptcy of Saab dealers have also suffered heavy losses. Closed down and a few of the new fields. The entire sales channel has also been a devastating blow. To re-establish sales channels for NEVS transition car Saab 9-3, it is estimated that several dealers dare to eat the crab. After all, the one being bitten, twice shy. Eat a cutting wit, dealers hesitate sure, plus only this aging 9-3, simply can not afford to support the facade Saab 9-3 speed to market, which is also different degrees of delay .
    Finally, restart Saab 9-3 production failure, new energy path will also let NEVS more difficult. From the recent A123 batteries corporate bankruptcy and other events, the pure electric as the representative of the world’s new energy vehicle development suffered a downturn. Countries, including China, are struggling to cope with the impact of the economic downturn color, no time to be more able to give more attention to the development of new energy and financial support. Basic still stay in the city on the demonstration project, basic backwater in real private consumption market, the automotive industry are beginning to calm reflection and strategic adjustment at low tide. But from a technical point of view, the maximum energy density of the battery is only 146 Wh / kg, than other battery companies did not seem to have what excels Although NEVS two weeks ago announced that its Beijing battery factory production. Pure electric road in NEVS from the outset, confirmed “a bright future, but the road twists and turns,” the truth.
    The idea of ​​personal immaturity, if NEVS will concentrate in the transition between the models of conventional cars and pure electric vehicles – hybrid electric car, the prospects seem now more clear some. After all, from a global point of view, the hybrid dynamic has become increasingly mature, Mr. Jiang from NEVS need also to rethink about it calmly.

  9. alfredtian says:

    about charging stations infrastructure, it looks NEVER like a easy road. currently a lot of charging stations were planned with the real purpose of getting the land approved ( to develop real estate and building house for sales). with the tigher control over land use, the approval of the land use will take much longer.

  10. Jeff says:

    Great interview as always Swade. You covered everything that he seemed to cover at Oktoberfest but having him reiterate it in a different way really fleshes out some details of NEVS’s plans, especially their reluctance to go hybrid and their steadfast commitment to the Chinese market, at least in Mikael’s talking points. Given Pike and other analysts like Boston Consulting shifting the greatest future demand for EVs to North America from China, I wonder if NEVS is actually revising their own plans behind the scenes while Mikael has to basically stick to old talking points. The game is changing under NEVS’s feet, and they need to adapt quickly to new technology, changing demand, competitors and politics. Man is this confusing.

  11. Angelo says:

    It might be asking too much, too soon—-but I wish someone from NEVS would at least make an educated guess of when they might offer a Saab product in North America/U.S. again. “Later” or “worldwide” is just way to general. I’m not asking them to commit to anything—-just give us a tiny window into what they are thinking—–2015 Saabs in the U.S.? 2016? Never? This, for me, has been the most frustrating aspect of liking Saabs and at the same time, trying to support NEVS. “Aloof” is a description that comes to mind, referring to their behavior. I would love to see the 9-3—-yes, THAT 9-3, come back to the U.S. for sale. They would move a respectable amount of this tired old design if they priced it right and learned how to promote the car.

  12. Allan B says:

    This is a good interview, as I would expect from Swade. I think Mikael Östlund replies with candour, or as much honesty as I would reasonably expect from someone in his position. But I think the response to this should be one of healthy skepticism, not dour cynicism. As Jeff suggests, NEVS are taking the stage at a time when the stage itself is constantly shifting and changing shape. It would be silly to expect them not to be making changes and alterations to their plans behind the scenes given the rapidly changing and evolving market conditions. That they intend to eventually open a factory in China should be no big news to anybody. On a more subjective note, I am relieved that their answer to the Castriota question was a veiled “no thanks”.