It’ll be interesting to see if there’s any official response or comment to this report from China Auto Web:
Qingdao Qingbo Investment Co. Ltd., State Power Group Co. Ltd. and its Swedish branch signed an agreement on January 7 to build Saab cars in Qingdao, Shandong, according to the city’s newspaper, Qingdao Daily. State Power Group Co. Ltd., based in Beijing, is a sister company of National Electric Vehicle Sweden AB (NEVS), which bought Saab Automobile AB in June 2012. Both are subsidiaries of National Modern Energy Holdings, founded and controlled by Jiang Dalong (Johan Kai Jiang), a Chinese with Sweden citizenship.
According to the report on Qingdao Daily, the three sides of the agreement pledged 10-billion-yuan investment for the construction of a vehicle factory designed to roll out 400,000 Saab cars a year. In the first phase, half of that planned capacity will be installed with a spending of 4 billion yuan. Both traditional and alternative-fuel vehicles carrying the Saab brand will be produced. Besides the vehicle factory, Saab China’s R&D, sales, and procurement centers will also be built in Qingdao, a harbor city in northern China.
That’s not official, of course, but it contains a hell of a lot of detail for a report with no substance.
I took a reasonable beating for suggesting that building Saabs in Sweden for sale in China wasn’t a feasible idea. I took a reasonable beating for suggesting that electric was too niche.
To those who were happy to hand out that beating – if you’re questioning a business plan that doesn’t make sense, it doesn’t mean you’re a “naysayer”. It means you’re realistic and you want the situation to make sense for your friends and former colleagues who have an interest in the future of the company.
Right now, it’s making slightly more sense than it did before.
400,000 capacity in China and an additional 190,000 capacity in Trollhattan still doesn’t make sense, but then neither would building a smaller factory in China with whatever money they might seek from the authorities there as part of the investment. If you’re going to do it, you may as well do it big.
Wait and see, now, for something official on the issue.
20 minutes after posting this article, I got the following advice via email:
Screw you, Nordstrom.
It’s only my opinion, of course, but never has there been one man who did so much to destroy Saab in the eyes of the Swedish public (whilst making money on the side from it, too, by way of his Muller book).
You give the press a bad name.