Thursday Night Snippets – ‘here they come’ edition

Just trying to catch up and round up some of the press articles of the last 24 hours.
First to the positive news…..
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The EU will move quickly to review and (hopefully) approve the Swedish government’s plan to provide loan guarantees to Saab.

European Union regulators said on Wednesday they would review as soon as possible Swedish authorities’ plan to guarantee a 400 million euro ($562 million) European Investment Bank loan to Swedish carmaker Saab.

The EU has to assess a proportion of the amount guaranteed to ensure that it doesn’t break EU rules on state aid.
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Edmunds Auto Observer report that the Saab 9-5 should be appearing in the United States in the second quarter of this year.

Smith also said the Saab 9-4, a crossover based on GM’s “Theta Premium” or TE platform that underpins the Cadillac SRX, also will soon be produced by the new company, although he was not specific about when the 9-4X will begin production.

All of which is good news, of course.
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Encouraging words from Victor Muller for those of use yearning for Saab to return to its roots.

Muller vowed to keep the identity of Saab and praised the network of dealers and brand enthusiasts who were quick to show their support for the brand GM said on December 18 it would wind down.
“The interest in Saab is basically very easy to understand, Saab is an iconic brand,” Muller said.
“The typical element of the Saab brand is its Swedishness…I think one would be very short-sighted to think that the Saab buyer would be very pleased to buy a Saab from Mumbai,” he added.

But of course, that will take time and money, which is where the detractors start creeping in……
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There’s a Bloomberg report out today which cites some analysts who are skeptical about Saab’s chances under Spyker ownership.
Time and money – the time taken to develop a much-needed new model vs the money available in that time to do so.

“Saab risks burning through its cash if it invests on a new model before stabilizing sales and distribution of the 9-5, but delays in introducing another model could jeopardize long- term viability,” said Jim Hall, principal of Birmingham, Michigan-based consulting firm 2953 Analytics. “They’re damned if they do and damned if they don’t” proceed with new models.

It’s a fair point.
Developing new cars costs money and Saab will be carrying a large amount in debt. Sales of the 9-5 and 9-4x are going to have to service this debt as well as developing a much-needed new 9-3.
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Sergio Marchionne – as you’ve already heard – is also skeptical about Saab’s chances under Spyker, most notably because of their small size.

“I think it’s very difficult to be a niche player and profitable. Marginal players will continue to be marginalized. We cannot build on hopes and dreams.”

Victor Muller’s answer to this was “well, we’re just going to have to prove Mr Marchionne wrong”
….which is exactly what’s going to have to happen.
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I don’t have a link for you, but I recall a comment here some time ago where someone reported that a prospective buyer for Saab would be very pleased when the discovered the full extent of what the engineering people had hidden out the back.
Maybe that’s one of the keys, along with a new 9-5 and 9-4x, to Saab’s re-establishment in the marketplace.

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