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  • NEVS to build SAABs in China

    Qingdao coastline

    The Qingdao Qingbo Investment Co. Ltd., the State Power Group Co. Ltd., and its Swedish subsidiary signed an agreement on 7 January to build SAAB cars in Qingdao, Shandong Province, states the Qingdao Daily newspaper. National Electric Vehicle Sweden AB (NEVS), a sister company to State Power Group Co. Ltd., bought SAAB in June 2012. Both companies are owned by National Modern Energy Holdings, a company founded and controlled by Johan Kai Jiang, a Chinese-Swedish enterpreneur.

    According to the Qingdao Daily,the three parties involved pledged to invest 10 billion yuan (1.6 billion dollars) to construct a factory capable of building up to 400,000 automobiles a year, which includes cars powered by both conventional internal-combustion engines and alternative fuel engines. The factory, an R&D center, sales, and procurement centers will be built in Qingdao, a northern Chinese port city.

    The Qingdao Qingbo Investment Co. Ltd. is believed to be a company set up by the Chinese government specifically for the SAAB project. That would make the Chinese central government an investor in any future SAAB cars.

    By shifting production to China instead of Sweden heavy import tariffs are avoided for cars made under the SAAB brand. A time frame for the building of the factory is unclear, but factory construction in China can be done at a breathtaking pace once approval is granted by the central government.

    An official statement by the Swedish subsidiary of NEVS is still pending on this matter. However a source to Saabblog.net states that in the future Qingdao will produce cars for the Asian markets, while Trollhättan will produce them for Europe and the US.

    Too good to be true? If it all comes true and SAAB is revived perhaps their first car ought to be the SAAB Phoenix, which will be appropriately named...

    Sources: http://saabblog.net/2013/01/08/saab-...werk-in-china/ and http://chinaautoweb.com/2013/01/nevs...bs-in-qingdao/
    Comments 10 Comments
    1. nordwulf's Avatar
      nordwulf -
      I think that's what many expected to happen all along. Use the Saab brand and technology to build and sell cars in China.

      P4 West reports they'll be building both electric and gasoline versions of he car. It'll be interesting to see what gas engine they will use. Will they use the 9-3 for this or a new car based on the Phoenix platform?
    1. rpiereck's Avatar
      rpiereck -
      Phoenix platform with a good old Saab H engine would be good. Once the brand gets reestablished and their business thrives (I am being optimistic), then perhaps they can revive that deal they had with BMW for new engines. I am sure BMW's bean counters would love to power the half a million cars NEVS wants to build.
    1. ShaneB4Saab's Avatar
      ShaneB4Saab -
      This is like Charlie Brown and the teachers' talking, "Waa-waa! Waa-waa-waa! Waa-Waa!" What I want to know is... when do we get our Saabs back!?
    1. nordwulf's Avatar
      nordwulf -
      Press release from NEVS:

      Qingdao to become NEVS’ strategic gateway to China for Saab cars

      NEVS has entered a long time partnership with the City of Qingdao in China’s Shandong-province. Qingdao initially invests SEK 2 billion, obtaining a 22 percent ownership share of NEVS through a directed share issue. Further investments will be made in a joint venture company in China. NEVS is headquartered in Trollhättan, Sweden where product development and manufacturing is located.

      Qingdao’s investment in NEVS will be made in successive stages, and provides NEVS with a financially stable investor, as well as a business partner which provides access to a key market. The City of Qingdao has, through its investment company Qingdao Qingbo Investment Co, Ltd, signed a contract with NEVS’ parent company National Modern Energy Holdings Ltd. and with National Electric Vehicle Sweden AB (NEVS).

      ”This agreement provides financial resources that form an important contribution to enable implementation of the NEVS business plan,” said NEVS Chairman Karl-Erling Trogen.

      ”Qingdao is a long term strategic partner in China, which also provides us with a large customer,” said Kai Johan Jiang, CEO and main owner, NEVS.

      ”Vehicles based on new energy sources are the future. Qingdao wants to take an active part in this development,” said Zhang Xingi, Mayor of Qingdao.

      Trollhättan is the NEVS headquarters, with product development and vehicle assembly. China is a key market with great potential demand for Saab vehicles. Qingdao is set to become the hub for NEVS’ efforts in the Chinese market, which means that exports will be shipped through the Port of Qingdao, strategically located on the Chinese East Coast. As production at the Trollhättan plant will reach capacity, a complementary manufacturing facility will gradually be established in Qingdao.

      The municipality of Qingdao has a population of nine million, while close to 100 million people live in the Shandong province. The City och Qingdao is a large buyer of passenger cars, including both conventionally fuelled and electric vehicles. The NEVS investment is an important step to secure the region’s access to electric vehicles, and to build an industrial structure where the vehicle industry, including EVs, is key for the future.

      As part of the agreement, a feasibility study is now conducted to guide the future partnership.

      On August 31, 2012, NEVS acquired the main assets of the Saab Automobile bankruptcy estates, and currently studies the opportunity to commence production of the present Saab 9-3 model in the second half of 2013. The first electric vehicle model is planned for launch in early 2014. In October 2012, a sister company of NEVS in China opened a plant in Beijing producing high-performance batteries for automotive applications.
    1. rpiereck's Avatar
      rpiereck -
      Good dig, the NEVS and Qingdao Qingbo Investment Co. websites were unavailable when I wrote the above.
    1. nordwulf's Avatar
      nordwulf -
      Call me a pessimist but this looks like a repeat of Rover. I really hope the Saab brand will not be used for badge-engineered cars that have nothing to do with the original.

      I have never even been to Asia but does the Saab brand really mean that much there? It didn't mean that much anymore in the US and Europe in the last 10 years so I don't see why the Chinese would go all crazy over it. Definitely not as a premium car

      The first new Rover-branded car to be launched after the formation of MG Rover was the estate version of the Rover 75, which went on sale later in 2000. In 2003, MG Rover launched the CityRover, a badge-engineered Tata Indica that served as an entry-level model. Despite high initial expectations, sales were poor, and it received mainly negative critics. Several concept cars intended to point the way towards a replacement for the Rover 25 and 45 were shown in the early 2000s, but no production model emerged.

      MG Rover production ceased on 15 April 2005, when it was declared insolvent. On 22 July 2005, the physical assets of the collapsed firm were sold to the Nanjing Automobile Group for £53m. They indicated that their preliminary plans involved relocating the Powertrain engine plant to China while splitting car production into Rover lines in China and resumed MG lines in the West Midlands (though not necessarily at Longbridge), where a UK R&D and technical facility would also be developed.
      Rover (marque) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

      This name sounds familiar. Phoenix Venture Holdings - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    1. rpiereck's Avatar
      rpiereck -
      I partially agree, but SAAB has a pretty good following in Taiwan (Saab Club Taiwan), and Japan (SAAB OWNER'S CLUB OF JAPAN), and Korea (www.facebook.com/Saabclubkorea). I can't say the same for China, but I guess for them it will be just another "premium" brand. The question is how "Saaby" (to use a word coined by someone else on SW) will the new SAABs be?
    1. Burnsside42's Avatar
      Burnsside42 -
      As much enthusiast support of the brand in these area - this still does not equal financial support in large numbers. What happens likely will be w/e makes them the most money for the least amount invested. Simple business 101.... Until I see reason to think otherwise - the brand formerly known as Saab IS gone. I wish NEVS and the Chinese the best of luck with SAAB and hope that it might become a valid product again, and available in the states once they achieve that, IF they even care to.
    1. nine's Avatar
      nine -
      I lost the logic of this...There is a Saab 9-3 being built already in China that looks exactly the same (BAIC) and will be propelled with an electric motor as well. It looks as Saab has been used again.
      For NEVS the engine possibly used might be a BMW 1.6 (born as a Peugeot engine) used in the Mini and the 1.9 liter Diesel made by Fiat.
      The quality of a BAIC Saab might be jeoparized but Saab engineers helped implement production back in 2009 when GM was booting Saab. So the only advantage might be a better quality 9-3? by NEVS (but also made in China)?
    1. nordwulf's Avatar
      nordwulf -
      Why would they use (expensive) BMW engines for a Chinese Saab? I am sure they can find cheaper solutions and source an engine locally in China.

      And what about the BAIC rights to the Phoenix platform and the recent joint-venture with Spyker?
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