First of all, I want to thank all the guys in Sweden for keeping us up to date on the aftermath of the creditor’s meeting. The news came in thick and fast and once again, Saab’s United was the place for non-Swedes to keep pace with what happened, when it happened. I’m extremely thankful for your input.
So….with the creditors and the court satisfied that Saab have good prospects for the future, is there any further reason for the Swedish government to continue holding out on loan guarantees??
Remember, the Swedish government is a creditor too, and was represented in the court by a taxation representative.
I hope they push hard for these loan guarantees now. It’ll make finding a serious, quality buyer that much easier.
On buyers, it seems the Automotive News and Autoblog reports about Saab having 20 interested buyers were true.
My most recent correspondence with Saab was via a communique received last Friday and at that time, they were still only talking about 10 buyers.
It’s a great result for Saab, though, to have so many people to deal with. I hope they’re all bringing something good to the table.
There’s been some conjecture about whether Saab can make 130,000 sales again in the near future. I definitely think they can, but it’s going to take some bold product decisions and pricing to do it. With GM’s legacy costs off Saab’s back, though, Im confident they can.
IIRC, the last really good sales year was 2007. Back then, the 9-7x was doing well in the States, but the real reason for the sales bump was the 60th Anniversary models, which featured fantastic equipment at very keen prices.
It’s that sort of product decision, combined with a new Saab 9-5 and new Saab 9-4x, that can bring Saab back to 130,000 and hopefully beyond (a TTiD/XWD combination wouldn’t hurt, either).
Speaking of bold decisions….
How much would a half-page ad in the New York Times or the Boston Globe cost?
I’d love to see Saab tell its important markets that it’s here to stay. Big bold adverts in key market news publications would really send a message.
Coverage of the meeting and the outcome:
Automotive News (sub):
A senior tax authority official, representing the Swedish state, as well as a representative of GM, which is also one of the chief creditors to Saab, told the court they supported the plan.
Lofalk said that about 20 potential buyers are looking at the company and that a deal is expected to be completed in June.
“So far, short descriptions of Saab, so-called teasers, have been sent out and comprehensive contacts have been undertaken with different interest parties,” he said….
….Lofalk said in a court filing that a concentration of production and the launch of new models would boost capacity utilization at the company while efficiency measures lowered its breakeven level to an annual production rate of 130,000 vehicles.
“Saab also expects a positive cash flow already in 2011 as well as good returns at a production level of 150,000 cars,” Lofalk said.
It expected volumes to be lower in 2009 and 2010 than in 2008, when Saab built 93,000 cars, but should make 150,000 cars by 2011, owing to three new models that would be rolled out this year and next.
Lofalk said the life cycle of Saab models had been “far too long.”
“Saab aims to have shorter life cycles for its products in the future and thereby have more modern cars” to compete in the European premium segment, he said.