SWEDEN: NEVS could hire this winter if Saab 9-3 gasoline/diesel model given green light
Saab owner, National Electric Vehicle Sweden, (NEVS) says a recruitment drive to hire new staff could start as early as this winter should it decide to produce conventional gasoline or diesel-powered models.
NEVS has previously insisted on an EV-based business plan, but strong demand from potential future customers now appears to have raised the possibility of a petrol or diesel powertrain for the existing 9-3 model that could come to fruition as early as next summer.
"We are evaluating the possibility to start production of the exist [ing] 9-3 model with the existing powertrain next summer," a NEVS spokesman told just-auto from Sweden. "That would give us some benefits as we could start the recruitment process earlier than planned.
"We have not decided what engine, but it is gasoline or diesel. Saab Automobile bought the engine and gearshift box from General Motors. We will of course buy the engine and gearbox, but we have not decided what manufacturer yet."
Any quickening of NEVS' hiring pace - initially for blue collar workers - would come as a huge boost to Saab's home town of Trollhattan in Western Sweden that saw thousands of direct staff laid off following the automaker's bankruptcy and potentially many more in the supply chain.
Any such move is sure to interest Saab's former blue collar union, IF Metall, which played such a key role in securing the best deal for its redundant members, with NEVS adding it had contact with Swedish unions on "a regular basis."
"I don't have the number of staff [required] but it would mean we could hire people in the winter," the NEVS spokesman said.
"We will of course make more thorough plans if we see it is possible."
NEVS insists its plans still include an electric model to be produced in 2014 at its Trollhattan site and any gasoline 9-3 would be a "forerunner" to such an alternately powered vehicle.
"The EV is our business plan, but if we have the capacity and there is a demand, we would like to fulfil the demand," the NEVS spokesman said.
NEVS recently wrote to around 500 suppliers involved in future 9-3 production and took the opportunity to let them know of its plans for new powertrain possibilities.
"I think as [of] today, we have responses from a little bit more than half of them. I don't have the answers, but we have not heard anything alarming," said the NEVS spokesman. "At the same time we let them know we are evaluating the possibility of gasoline or diesel production next summer."
NEVS added it could also be ready to unveil a new logo for Saab "within a month or so," following truckmaker, Scania's, previous objection to the Griffin symbol being used because of fears around potential Chinese piracy.
Scania scuppered hopes NEVS could use the Griffin by raising concerns about the prevalence of copies in China - the Saab buyer has a Chinese connection - although it stressed there was no link between the two.
This QUBE report from just-auto provides a comprehensive overview of the global heavy trucks market, major manufacturers, top markets, manufacturing trends and market size forecasts. Use this report t...
This QUBE report from just-auto provides a comprehensive overview of the global electrified vehicles sector, major OEM developments, top 14 markets, technology trends and market projections. Use this ...
I wouldn't have thought that, with the current state of play in the European auto industry, there'd be too much niggle in the union ranks. But we've reported on a bit this week....
Opel has moved swiftly at its militant plant of Bochum in Germany, announcing the Zafira Tourer will be manufactured at Russelsheim from 2015....
General Motors has opened a new US$130m 'enterprise data centre' that will serve as the computing backbone for the automaker's vast global operations....
Sales of General Motors' Cadillac brand rose 4% year on year to 354 units in the Middle East last month as dealers booked their best sales for April since 2008....
- Comment - emissions 'failures' hardly a surprise
- ANALYSIS - supercharged Jaguar XF
- THE WEEK THAT WAS - VW agrees a deal with the US
- THE WEEK THAT WAS - Diesel developments
- RESEARCH SNAPSHOT - Moving closer to self-driving
- Ford launches new EcoBlue 'Euro VI' diesel engine
- JLR achieves aluminium recycling milestone
- BEIJING 2016 - world premieres list
- Ford ‘not interested’ in Fiat Chrysler tie-up
- Ford books record Q1 pre-tax profit