Yeah, it’s Christmas, and whilst GM may have called a pause in negotiations on the deal (which frankly, I find to be astounding considering it’s their deadline and thousands of jobs are at stake) that doesn’t mean that the situation rests.
It seems there was a bit of drama here while I was sleeping.
The drama seems to have stemmed, once again, from some mainstream media reports about the Saab situation that weren’t necessarily inaccurate, but from what I can see, they failed to give the full context of the situation.
Let’s use the AFP report as the basis for discussion here:
US auto giant General Motors will not consider Dutch sportscar maker Spyker’s renewed bid for Saab and is planning to shut down the Swedish brand, a Swedish newspaper reported Thursday.
“Saab’s board had a short meeting yesterday. GM representatives were on the phone from the US. And the discussions were entirely about the shutting down Saab — not about the new bid,” wrote daily Svenska Dagbladet (SVD).
GM announced last week it would wind down its loss-making Swedish unit Saab after breaking off sales talks with Spyker.
But the Dutch company then made a last-ditch bid for the iconic brand, which it extended indefinitely hours before it was due to expire Monday.
“The word (at the meeting) was to shut down Saab and that is what we have started working on,” Haakan Danielsson of Sweden’s engineering union told SVD.
There’s nothing here that is factually incorrect (except for the interpretation). But as I mentioned at the top, it does lack some context. The fact that the meeting only discussed the wind-down process is not an indication that negotiations have failed. All it means is that the wind-down process was the topic of discussion for that particular meeting.
What we’ve got going on here is two concurrent processes.
GM announced last week that negotiations with Spyker had failed and that they would wind down the Saab business. Whilst I believe that will formally begin on January 1 (if it happens) the wheels are being set in motion now. That’s what I believe was happening at that meeting – discussions about how that would begin.
Whilst that’s happening…..
There are also ongoing negotiations with both Spyker and the Merbanco/Swedish consortia about the sale of Saab. As I write this, both groups are still negotiating with GM (yes, confirmed) and the 31st December deadline for a decision is still in play.
If GM figure that they can do a deal with one of these groups, then they’ve said that they would keep Saab operating to allow that deal to go through.
So yes, they’re planning the wind-down operation, and yes, they’re negotiating with two groups for a sale. Hopefully the latter situation will render the former situation moot.
In the meantime, if you haven’t already visited, head on over to www.iwontbuyfromgm.com and consider whether you’ll buy another GM product again if they close the Saab Automobile operation.