Nevs now employs more than 700 staff at its Trollhattan plant

Nevs now employs more than 700 staff at its Trollhattan plant

National Electric Vehicle Sweden (Nevs) says it now employs more than 700 people at its Trollhättan plant in Western Sweden as 9-3 production starts to ramp up.

The former incarnation of Saab Automobile had 3,400 staff on its books, but its subsequent bankruptcy caused a massive headache for the town, around an hour north of Gothenburg and which only numbers around 50,000 inhabitants in total.

Some estimates put the bankruptcy fallout costing up to 10,000 jobs as the supply chain impact was factored in, with politicians at the time describing it as “very, very tough" as the small town picked up the pieces.

“We are now 590 employees and then you add to that, 130 full time consultants, mostly engineers,” a Nevs spokesman in Trollhattan told just-auto. “It is well more [than] 700 people on a daily basis.”

The spokesman noted of the former 3,400 workers, 2,400 were previously in production supplemented by around 1,000 engineers, but staffing is now far slimmer.

“What we can say is production is as lean as it can be,” he said. “When you talk about engineers, we will not be as many as the former Saab Automobile. Trollhattan will be the headquarters and R&D will always be here.”

It does not yet appear formal union links have been established, but it seems as if IF Metall representative Hakan Scott, who was involved in helping staff in the Saab Automobile bankruptcy, is working with Nevs on the labour issue.

“He [Scott] is the one we are working with because they do not have a direct person here,” said the Nevs spokesman.”

The automaker is also using the expertise of previous Saab Automobile staff to kick-start its production, but will increasingly turn to younger employees to widen the skills base.

“We have in the beginning of course, recruited people from Saab, because for example, in production these people today are team leaders with very broad experience and competence,” said the Nevs spokesman.

“We are trying to be very flexible, so many people can do different types of work.

“We have also tried at the end of last year, to employ new persons with wide experiences and also young persons. So we are not vulnerable to having people of a certain age.”

This week Nevs started first delivery of its 9-3 models to dealers across Sweden with the demonstrator vehicles available for test drive.

News of the delivery of around 50 9-3s to 20 dealers comes as Nevs, which acquired the assets of bankrupt Saab Automobile in 2012, also announced this week a global distribution agreement with Orio guaranteeing spare parts.

Nevs started production in its hometown of Trollhättan of the Saab 9-3 Aero sedan with 220hp, two litre, turbocharged petrol engines last December.

The Swedish company is 78 % owned by National Modern Energy Holdings and 22 % by Qingdao Qingbo Investment.