Sisu! Or why Valmet Automotive is the perfect partner for building the Sion

By Julius

21st July 2022

It is a match! In April this year, we announced Valmet Automotive as our partner for the series production of the Sion. Since then, our teams have continued to work together closely. While the series-validation vehicle program advances, our development team is progressing towards production with our contract manufacturer. All work streams have been kicked-off and engineers from both teams are already working on improving the current vehicle generation and preparing for manufacturing – a huge milestone towards delivering the Sion to our Community! 

Following on from this milestone, today we would like to introduce Valmet Automotive to you in more detail. Not every one of our Community is a passionate expert on topics that concern the automotive industry. Some of you might think, “okay, they are building the Sion with this company from Finland, what’s the big whoop?” So here are some insights about our excellent partner from the city with the lovely name Uusikaupunki. Let’s start with the basics! 

Who is Valmet Automotive?

Founded in 1968, Valmet Automotive is one of the world's largest contract vehicle manufacturers. Originally, it was created as a joint-venture between the Swedish car manufacturer Saab and the Finish state. One of the reasons was the excellent location, with the city of Uusikaupunki being very close to the Baltic Sea, which is highly favorable in terms of logistics. Today, the production facility is the biggest single production facility in Finland. 

Entrance to the production site in Uusikaupunki
Entrance to the production site in Uusikaupunki

Valmet Automotive also operates facilities in Poland and Germany, employing a total of 4,500 people. In its more than 50 years of existence, the company has produced the staggering figure of over 1.7 million vehicles. And if that wasn't enough, the company has been manufacturing electric vehicles since as early as 2009. Five different electric vehicle models have been produced by Valmet Automotive, making our partner one of the world's leading manufacturers of electric vehicles. 

Manufacturing Vehicles – the Sustainable Way 

But there's more to it than impressive numbers and decades of experience. On top of being a global leader in EV manufacturing, Valmet Automotive is a pioneer in industry sustainability. In all their own operations, the company is already CO2-neutral. As with us, sustainability is more than just a hip buzzword in Uusikaupunki. It is a guiding principle and an integral part of the company, guiding all activities and decisions. Consequently, Valmet Automotive uses only renewable energies for production. 

Inside the production halls of Valmet Automotive
Inside the production halls of Valmet Automotive

Should greenhouse gas emissions along the supply chain or during production be unavoidable, these are fully offset through appropriate measures. This is something we were truly impressed with, and, as you might know, we plan to do the same with the production of the Sion. 

Also, Valmet Automotive has set itself ethical guidelines that ensure optimal cooperation. These include mutual respect, trust and integrity – principles that we at Sono also uphold and live by 100 percent. 

Sisu! The Unique Finnish Mindset

Last but not least, we experienced a very special mentality when working with the employees of Valmet Automotive. In our latest video, our dear colleague Thomas Hausch described it this way: “The people there are determined and equipped with, I would say, a humble pride, building vehicles with very high precision.” 

An employee at quality control
An employee at quality control

Doing some research, we got introduced to the concept of “sisu” – a unique Finnish word, which really cannot be translated into any other language, as Finnish author and editor at “thisisFINLAND” Peter Marten writes: “The Finnish word ‘sisu’ is untranslatable, but that doesn’t stop people from trying: determination, guts, hardiness, courage and willpower are some of the terms people use in English.”

To get a better grasp of it, we decided to let our partners from Uusikaupunki explain in their own words what this concept means: “Sisu is a very Finnish way of thinking, a very Finnish mindset”, says Olaf Bongwald, CEO of Valmet Automotive. "What's behind it is ‘make the impossible possible, don't give up, and sometimes be a little stubborn’, he adds. 

We are convinced that this mindset is perfect for facing the challenges of our modern world. If you follow the history of Sono Motors, sisu, or perseverance as we call it, is a trait shared by our founders, our reservation holders, our community and of course our team. It has enabled us to progress on our mission steadily, knowing that we will continue to live by these values to realize our vision of a world without fossil fuels. 

Fortunately, we found a partner in Valmet Automotive who is not only technically and professionally well-equipped to accompany us on our journey, but also has a very similar attitude when facing challenges. So let’s conclude today’s blog by acknowledging the fact that sometimes, as Valmet Automotive CEO Olaf Bongwald pointed out, in order to make the impossible possible, you have to be a little stubborn. Or, in other words, sisu! 

If you want to find out more about Valmet Automotive and our partnership, check out our latest video and our website. Of course, we’ll keep you updated! 

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