Tag Archives: Saab

NEVS Completes Saab Deal

Saab’s Phoenix Concept

It has been announced that the acquisition of Saab by National Electric Vehicle Sweden AB (NEVS) has been completed. As a part of Saab’s bankruptcy, NEVS now has exclusive rights to the Saab name and Phoenix platform. In the last week, Youngman has claimed that it has the rights to the Phoenix platform due to its deal with Spyker, but the agreement between the two companies was never realized. Nevertheless, it is great that the deal is completed, and the Saab name will live on. Hopefully we will see a new Saab model in the near future. Saab’s Phoenix platform offers a promising future, and NEVS’s plans to create an electric car with the platform should prove interesting.

Here is the full press release regarding the sale:

National Electric Vehicle Sweden AB (NEVS) has finalized its acquisition of the main assets of Saab Automobile AB, Saab Automobile Powertrain AB and Saab Automobile Tools AB, effective August 31, 2012. The prerequisites for implementing the NEVS business plan are now in place. The acquisition includes IP rights for the Saab 9-3, IP rights for the Phoenix platform, tools, the manufacturing plant, and test and laboratory facilities. The acquisition also comprises all outstanding shares in the property company which owned the Saab facilities in Trollhättan, Sweden.

NEVS has signed a licensing agreement with Saab AB regarding the rights to use the Saab brand name for its future vehicles. The vehicle manufacturing company is named National Electric Vehicle Sweden AB, “NEVS”. The vehicles and related products and services will be named SAAB. The present logotype will not be used.

Recruitment to the management team and key positions is in progress. As of today, about 75 people have received employment offers.

NEVS is wholly owned by National Modern Energy Holdings Ltd., whose founder and principal owner is Kai Johan Jiang.

NEVS is an international consortium formed by Swedish and Chinese stakeholders. Based on existing resources and with the addition of Japanese leading edge technology, the company is establishing a new venture in Trollhättan, solely dedicated to development and manufacturing of electric vehicles (EVs). NEVS aims to become a leading manufacturer of electric vehicles.

Kai Johan Jiang, founder and main owner of National Modern Energy Holdings Ltd, the majority shareholder of NEVS:
“China is investing heavily in developing the EV market, which is a key driver for the ongoing technology shift to reduce dependence on fossil fuels. The Chinese can increasingly afford cars; however, the global oil supply would not suffice if they all buy petroleum-fueled vehicles. Chinese customers demand a premium electric vehicle, which we will be able to offer by acquiring Saab Automobile in Trollhättan. Engineering and development of our first electric vehicle has been underway for an extended period in China and Japan, and now, with the manufacturing facilities in our possession, we are able to continue development work on site at Trollhättan.”

Karl-Erling Trogen, Chairman, National Electric Vehicle Sweden AB:
“I am delighted that we can build on Saab Automobile’s skills in vehicle design and production to start a new future-oriented venture in Trollhättan, where world class manufacturing facilities are available. We will match Swedish automobile design and manufacturing experience with Japanese EV technology and a strong presence in China. Electric vehicles powered by clean electricity are the future, and the electric car of the future will be produced in Trollhättan.”

“The efforts to implement our business plan can now be multiplied, focused on the development of a world-class electric vehicle in Trollhättan. In approximately 18 months, we plan to introduce our first electric vehicle based on Saab 9-3 technologies and a new technology electric powertrain.”

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Saab Ownership Transfer Delayed and Spyker Sues GM

The deadline for the transfer of Saab to its new owners, National Electric Vehicle Sweden AB (NEVS), was last week, but the transfer did not take place. SaabsUnited is reporting that NEVS press manager Mikael Östlund has stated that the transfer has been delayed by at least one month. NEVS is confident the transfer will be completed by the end of summer.

Taking over a company that has gone through bankruptcy is complicated, especially a company that sells products worldwide. The transfer will take time. I am hopeful that the Saab name will continue.

Meanwhile, former Saab owner Spyker Cars is suing General Motors (GM) for its part in Saab’s bankruptcy. Autoblog reports that Spyker is suing for $3 billion and claims that GM interfered in Saab’s business practices and forced its bankruptcy. One might wonder how GM could have interfered in a company it owned, but Spyker had purchased Saab from GM. The lawsuit revolves around GM’s mishandling of Spyker’s choice to allow Chinese automaker Zhejiang Youngman Lotus Automobile (Youngman) to invest in Saab. Spyker claims that GM killed the deal, and forced bankruptcy, to avoid competing with Saab in the Chinese market.

Does Spyker have a case? Absolutely. But it the GM – Spyker – Saab relationship is complicated. As SaabsUnited explains, Saab and GM had entered into a Automotive Technology License Agreement with Saab, and that agreement continued after Spyker purchased Saab from GM. Because of this agreement, Saab had access to GM’s platforms and technology, but Saab had a habit of making changes to GM’s platforms in its cars. The concern for GM with Youngman investing in Saab was that they would have access to GM’s technology. However, Youngman would not have had access to Saab’s 9-3, 9-4X, and 9-5 because of the details of the agreement. Instead, Youngman would have loaned money to Spyker allowing for the development of Saab’s Phoenix Platform and the eventual phasing out of GM’s platforms.

Saab’s problems began in early 2011, and Spyker was trying to figure out a solution that would serve its interest and preserve Saab. Spyker’s agreement with Youngman, known as the Framework Agreement, would have allowed Spyker to accept loans from Youngman, but Yougman would not become an equity partner into the company until GM’s platforms were completely phased out. In short, Yougman would have NEVER seen GM’s technology. Sounds like a fair deal, but GM stopped it. This forced Youngman to back out, and Saab was forced to declare bankruptcy in December 2011.

I believe Spyker has a strong case. The Framework Agreement did not involve GM, and even protected them from Youngman. Why did GM object? Clearly they were threatened by a Chinese company that would have certainly brought the next generation of Saab vehicles into China to compete with GM’s offerings. There are certainly two sides to every store, but this appears to be a simple case of a poor sport attempting to defeat the competition before it even had a chance. I have been very vocal about GM’s mishandling of Saab (as I expressed in this post), and I hope Spyker can prove its case. As with the Saab transfer to NEVS, I will continue to follow this story as it develops.

UPDATE: SaabsUnited is reporting that Youngman is also considering legal action against General Motors over their interference in the deal between them on Spyker.

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Saab Officially Sold to NEVS

In a press conference held today, it was announced that National Electric Vehicle Sweden AB (NEVS) has purchased Saab. NEVS is a Chinese/Japanese company focused on building electric cars. The company announced that its plans for Saab include the creation of a new 9-3 electric vehicle and a next generation 9-3 based on the Phoenix platform. The advantage of the partnership between NEVS and Saab is the combination of Saab’s platforms with Japanese technology.

The primary owner of NEVS, Karl Johan Jiang, has lived in Sweden for 23 years and is putting together a new management team for Saab.

NEVS will own the 9-3 name plate, but not the 9-4 or 9-5. The sale also does not include SAAB Parts AB which builds parts for all previous generation Saab vehicles.

The first market for the new 9-3s will be China, but the cars will continue to be build in Trollhättan, Sweden.

While the announcement is certainly disappointing to some, the good news is that the Saab name will live on and Saabs will continue to be built in Sweden. As the NEVS and Saab partnership continues to develop, I will post updates.

Source: SaabsUnited

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BREAKING: Saab Sold

Reports suggest that Saab has been sold. It appears to have been purchased by National Electric Vehicle Sweden AB. There has yet to be an official announcement, but it appears to be legitimate. I will post full details of the sale when they are announced.

Source: SaabsUnited, Autoblog

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Update on Saab – National Electric Vehicle Sweden?

The Saab bankruptcy saga continues. GM is still unrelenting and Youngman, the Chinese company who had placed a bid on Saab, has pulled out. As of May 7, the bankruptcy administrators are no longer holding weekly press conference, and this seems to suggest the selling of Saab is close at hand. Who will buy it? Will Saab models continue?

Today, it is being reported that a deal may be in the near future. It appears that National Electric Vehicle Sweden is close to buying Saab and that a deal could be announced soon. I am happy that an automotive company might get Saab. But the question still remains, will Saab models continue? Clearly the 9-3, 9-4, and 9-5 cannot because they are all based on GM productes. However, Saab was developing the so-call Phoenix Platform before its bankruptcy. Will this be a platform that National Electric Vehicle Sweden can use to build electric or hybrid cars? Only time will tell.

Another uplifting story in the Saab saga is that earlier this month, the website SaabsUnited raised money to purchase the last 9-3 Griffin. They raised the money and have purchased the car! They intend to donate it to the Saab Museum in Trollhättan, Sweden. This is certainly a shot in the arm for Saab enthusiasts. SaabsUnited is a great website and I invite everyone to follow their blog for all the latest information on the Saab saga.

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“GM Wants to Kill Saab”

Last week it was reported that as many as seven companies have expressed interest in purchasing Saab. One of those buyers backed out today and had some fairly harsh words about General Motors. Turkish Brightwell backed citing GM’s attitude as their primary concern. Zamier Ahmed reports “Everything was under control and we where excepting final feedback from GM. They changed their position in the very last minute. I am sorry to say that I have never seen such behavior from a company of that size ever.” While it is possible that GM and Saab’s creditors have simply not accepted Turkish Brightwell’s bid, there are other companies, larger companies such as BMW and Volvo have also placed bids. But there is some evidence that GM is interested in killing Saab.

GM supplies parts for the entire Saab line, but Saab does own its own Phoenix platform that could serve as a next generation 9-3. This is what the majority of the interested parties have proposed. This would cut GM out of the supply chain. This puts GM in an awkward position. They can either allow Saab to continue and sell parts to produce Saab vehicles, or they will be forced to give up all say in Saab and have yet another competitor to deal with. The later seems to to be the real issue. GM is uncomfortable with having to face Saab as a competitor, not so much in the United States, but in Europe.

Saab's Phoenix Concept

GM took over Saab in the late 1980s and their relationship has always been strained. GM was never happy with the modifications Saab made to the platforms they provided to Saab. Nevertheless, GM was in a very similar position in 2008, but they seem to have short memories. There would not be a GM as we know it today if the American government had not bailed them out. While Chrysler was also bailed out, GM has been heavily associated with this bailout in the automotive community, and it has become a stigma in many circles. Their handling of the Saab situation since 2008 has angered yet another crowd within the automotive community. There are a number of people who do not want Saab to fail, myself included. This is an opportunity for GM to step-up to the plate and ensure that Saab does not die. Having Saab as a competitor could be less damaging then their current hardball strategy which would only result in Saab’s death. If that happens, those interested in Saab will almost certainly blame GM for Saab’s death resulting in a hit to GM’s already soiled reputation.

UPDATE: Offical statement from Brightwell:

It is with great regret that we must inform you that we have withdrawn from the race for Saab. GM’s intransigence to cooperate and forge a relationship to revive Saab and additionally create revenue for GM was “not in the interests of its shareholders”. We remain bemused, shocked and above all disappointed that we could not join the Saab family. We hope that Saab finds a home where its new owner will sustain the company’s heritage as we planned to.

It appears that Brightwell was planning to continue to use GM parts. Most likely, GM prefers another option.

Source: SaabsUnited

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Saab Update: 7 Buyers Interested

SaabsUnited reports that during today’s weekly press conference, the bankruptcy administrators reported that 7 serious bidders have lined up to purchase Saab. This is certainly more interest than had been previously reported. Mahindra and Youngman have been widely covered in the news, but this has allowed other companies to quietly place bids.

The press conference suggested that one of the bidders was a European based car company. While that leaves the possibilities wide open. They let slip that the company was based in Munich, Germany. That, of course, only leaves one option…BMW.

The administrators have expressed that the higgest bidder may not necessarily win. In this case, the creditors have to agree and they will only consider a company that could continue Saab using a non-GM platform. This would certainly bode well for BMW.

I really have mixed feelings about BMW taking over Saab. Saab, a Swedish company, has always been viewed as an alternative to the German cars that have taken over the European market. However, this would allow BMW to incorporate their technology into Saab. If the pricing remains as it was for the 2011 models, the future BMW backed Saabs could compete with Lincoln, Lexus, Infiniti, and, most importantly, Buick. GM does not want Saab to survive simply because of the competition. With BMW backing, Saab would only be better equipped to compete with GM and the other mid-level luxury car makers.

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