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AMS: Headwind people

April 5, 2011 in Editorial, Uncategorized

A great article by Alrik Söderlind in Auto Motor & Sport was published today:

A pretty hard wind has blown against Saab recently. But compared with the headwind when GM completely shut down the company 13 months ago, it’s a light breeze. But what a media storm it was! Did Saab deserve it?

One one hand one might think that the unpaid invoices were handled clumsily. The patience of the subcontractors probably broke and Saab had no money in the bank to handle it quick or nice enough. I can understand the subcontractors. Everyone must get paid. The signal (prodcution stop) destroys trust, which does not raise the sales of cars (and thus diminishes suppliers’ own future fortunes). Saab must play it cool. I hope it doesn’t try to muzzle their suppliers to prevent new media storms. Everyone working with Saab must be emotionally stressed.

Saab can not afford big mistakes, hardly small. How should it proceed? With sincerity, honesty and humility. Jan Ake Jonnson stood for the safe Saab. Muller stands for the unstoppably optimistic side. It will be very exciting to see who takes over the CEO role. Stable, TOUGH and a strong drive is required, but also a humility. Without Saab spirit it will not work.

In reading the comments on various sites are the two views camps, those who love Saab and others who love it when things go bad for the brand. I have difficulty understanding the latter group. I have not seen a call for a recall election or heads of drums when the news of the Botnia (railway) cost us 20 billion in tax money. But when Saab borrows four billion (with ample collateral), is half the Swedish people go crazy. Strange… Saab can not do anything but to continue with what it’s already doing: try as hard as it can. Anyone who tries as hard as it can deserves respect. The wind will blow hard again. But I think that Saab is really going to make maximum efforts to avoid the hurricanes in the future. Tough at times, The people at Saab deserve a little tailwind.

Det har blåst rätt hårt mot Saab senaste tiden. Men jämfört med motvinden när GM så när lade ner hela företaget för 13 månader sedan har det bara fläktat lite. Men vilken mediastorm det varit! Har Saab förtjänat det?

Utifrån kan man tycka att de obetalda fakturorna har hanterats klantigt.
Förmodligen brast tålamodet hos underleverantörerna och Saab hade inte pengar på banken för att klara av det på ett snyggt sätt. Jag kan förstå underleverantörerna. Alla måste få betalt. Signalerna förstör förtroendet, vilket inte höjer försäljningen av bilar.
Saab måste vara det schyssta företaget. Jag hoppas att man inte sätter munkavle på sina underleverantörer för att förhindra nya mediastormar. Alla som jobbar med Saab måste vara känslomässigt på.

Saab har inte råd med stora missar, knappt ens små. Hur ska man gå vidare? Med uppriktighet, ärlighet och ödmjukhet. Jan Åke Jonnson stod för de trygga hos Saab. Victor Muller står för den ohejdbara optimismen. Det ska bli mycket spännande att se vem som tar över VD-rollen. Stabil, hårdhudad och en stark drivkraft krävs, men också en ödmjukhet. Utan Saabanda kommer det inte funka.

När man läser kommentarerna på olika sajter finns de två åsiktsläger, de som älskar Saab och andra som älskar när det går dåligt för Saab. Den senare gruppen har jag svårt att förstå mig på. Jag har inte sett krav på omval eller huvuden på fat när nyheten om att Bottniabanan kostat oss 20 miljarder i skattepengar. Men när Saab får låna fyra miljarder, blir halva svenska folket galet. Märkligt. Saab kan inte göra något annat än att fortsätta med det man redan gör: försöka så hårt man bara kan. Den som försöker så hårt som den bara kan förtjänar respekt. Det kommer att blåsa hårt igen. Men jag tror att Saab verkligen kommer att anstränga sig maximalt för att undvika orkaner i framtiden. Motvindsfolket förtjänar lite medvind.

79 responses to AMS: Headwind people

  1. ”It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out where the strong man stumbled or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred with dust and sweat and blood. At best, he knows the triumph of high achievement; if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat.”
    - Theodore Roosevelt

  2. RS said on April 5, 2011

    Okay, as I defended the vendors/suppliers of Saab last week I’d like to say that as Saab is in the process of strengthening its capital position it’s not in anyones best interest to make it even harder for the company by stopping production and going to the press every day. To hit customer confidence is a game where there are no winners (suppliers equally selling less of their products).

    I’ve read that FKG (SvenÅke Berglie) is p$$ed because he feels that Saab is playing down the situation, BUT that’s what they have to do from a marketing standpoint until financing is cleared and it probably takes a few days/weeks. I don’t think it’s a good time to lose patience as everything can’t be resolved by VM or JÅJ just snapping their fingers.
    Yes, Saab should have been better prepared but it is possible that they haven’t received all the payments on time themselves?

    After Saab gets over the hump I’m sure the company will be a very good partner for all the suppliers for years and decades to come and there will be a lot of money to be made working together. At this point when Saab is putting out new models and variants (sales clearly picking up) the boat shouldn’t IMHO be rocked more than it already has. I’m sure Saab has got the message loud and clear by now.
    Remember some markets have had new Saabs to sell only for a few months. Sales can’t just sky rocket back to the 2007 levels over night in the post-GM era.

    • FKG (SvenÅke Berglie) is pissed because Saab has accused them, directly or indirectly, of the situation claiming the suppliers have wanted higher prices, or wanting to renegotiate the contracts. While in fact Saab hasn’t paid the bills. According to him Saab has made their own bed and now has to lie in it. FKG has always stood up for Saab according to Berglie, but they don’t want to be badmouthed for something they haven’t done. I hope Saab’s PR team notices this ASAP and don’t give that excuse anymore (subcontractors wanting to renegotiate contracts). Saab must not step on anybody’s toes. Never blame anybody in the public and media. This is what I talked about last week, VM burning bridges. He started with the “it’s the subcontractor’s fault”, “they want to renegotiate” etc. He should have consulted Eric Geers before making statements in the heat of the moment. Now it backfired with Berglie claiming what Saab is saying is “BS”.

      I personally think the situation is that Saab has been late with the payments, as every major company seems to be, but the subcontractors just closed their eyes to it like they’ve always done (don’t bite the hand that feeds you). But when JÅJ announced his retirement/resignation and the “bad” Spyker annual report came hand in hand (from an outside perspective) they got enough leverage to start demanding that Saab follows the agreements. So they put hard against hard and stopped the deliveries. Saab probably has a low liquidity (but not shortage) ATM due to factors we don’t know and try to save as much as possible by letting the suppliers take the hit (so now “don’t bite the hand that feeds you” works the other way around, Saab shouldn’t have bitten the suppliers). The liquidity situation will probably be sorted out in the near term, but the supplier situation gathered momentum when it spread in the media. Saab is probably trying to negotiate payment terms with the suppliers to buy some extra time to get the liquidity sorted out. The negotiations takes time and these stoppages might occur. But Saab needs to be fair with the supplier organization and don’t blame them in the press. It only backfires like now.

      I read some speculation in the Finnish press (!!) that the low liquidity might be due to the fact that some of the Antonov loans had to be payed off at the end of March. Funnily I didn’t read any of this in the Swedish press, but they’ve not made themselves famous for their analytic abilities when it comes to Saab… Could this be the reason for the current situation?

      • Let’s not speculate on the reasons behind the liquidity here, suffice it to say Saab knows what’s happening and is taking steps to ensure things go smoothly from now on, as they’ve said in public and what I’ve heard behind the scenes. I agree that Saab shouldn’t be blaming their suppliers, but the suppliers aren’t doing much better themselves in revealing the whole story– RS is right, they’re taking advantage of a weak player instead of working constructively together to fix the problem. Both sides have made errors, but the supplier’s made the first move which triggered the avalanche. For that reason alone I think it’s on them to shut their mouths and work with Saab behind the scenes to get it sorted out. Svenake Bergile should be saying “Our suppliers are working hard with Saab to make sure production ramps up as soon as possible, once agreements can be reached,” not “Saab is a deadbeat, we’re sick of it.” Real professional, Sven.

        • I agree about the way the situation needs to be handled. Who started it is debatable. But none of us want it to escalate even more. Saab needs to step up the communications behind the scene, that includes Berglie. He should be informed about the situation and that way he’d perhaps keep from commenting like that.

        • re: Jeff
          “…..they are taking advantage of a weak player……the supplier made the first move…..it`s on them to shut their mouths….”

          maybe…
          but…
          During the reconstruction process Saab reached an agreement with creditors to write down it´s dept by 75%!!!!

  3. I actually read that this guy, SvenÅke Berglie, was swearing on Saab, with words like Bullshit and Damn-it. Sounds like someone is seriously mad, mostly about what Saab is telling the media. In my opinion, using words like this are always inappropriate to express when talking towards the media. I shows lack of professionalism and reflects more to him then to Saab.
    I can imagine there are issues with payments on deliveries and since there are a big number of supplier, one can not give a clear statement on an overall situation. Even if it’s about not paying, I can imagine there are negotiations going on, so Saab is not lying towards the press. SvenÅke Berglie is responding on stuff he reads in the media, which he should not do. Every professional knows that there are other discussions going on then the ones the media picks up.

    • He heads the support organization for all Vehicle suppliers in Sweden, so I guess he is quite well informed about the situation by the different suppliers. He is pissed, as I wrote above, because Saab is blaming the suppliers for the situation (suppliers wanting more in payment, or renegotiated contracts) when the fact is that Saab hasn’t payed the bills. He only wants Saab to be honest and not badmouthing the suppliers in the press. VM should have consulted Eric Gears before he started blaming the suppliers when the situation started last week. Being short-tempered and emotional when answering media’s questions only burns vital bridges, and now the situation comes back and bite Saab. Let’s hope Saab’s PR steps up their game and that VM learns to be calm and not talking any specifics in the press, like JÅJ.

  4. I think this Berglie caracter needs to count to ten before he opens his mouth.

    • Both sides in this should learn to count to ten, have negotiations behind closed doors as these things are normally conducted , and just announce that an agreement is being worked on and will be reached to the best interest of both parties.
      Simply because it will. Neither side is interested in loosing money or time
      Both sides acts unprofessional, and that is what sensationalist journalism feeds on.

  5. Sorry if I´m totally lost, I haven´t read the news lately. But I had to came here and see what´s going on since I just heard from radio news that Saab has stopped production again and that there´s problems with four subcontractors and their deliveries are halted.
    What is going on?

  6. Enough already! DOESN’T ANYONE AT SAAB UNDERSTAND WHAT THIS NEGATIVE PUBLICITY IS DOING TO THE BRAND HERE IN THE USA?

    I park my 2011 9-5 near my office buildings front door and today the mailman saw me and let me know that Saab was going out of business…again. He had read it in the newspaper.

    It Saab wants to continue to sell cars here, they must fix this problem, fix it right and FIX IT NOW.

    Who in their right mind is going to purchase a vehicle from a company that gives the INDICATION that they may not be long for this world?

    Please. Enough is enough. Let me enjoy my new Saab in peace!

    jcs

    • I agree with you but maybe there aren’t in a situation that they can just fix it. They might be out of cash. I don’t know. But I agree that they are destroying everything that they built up last year in confidence.

      • I agree. It’s probably a very delicate situation that got out of hand last week (as I also commented above). What they’ve could do is to contact SvenÅke Berglie at FCG (the supplier organization) and explain the situation in depth so that he doesn’t give wild statements in the future. They need to have the highest level of communications behind the scene. This situation must be kept from the media, as VM noted yesterday…

  7. I just wonder if the events from the last week would have happened if VM hadn’t taken out so much money.
    My parents run a company and when times were bad, tough luck, they took out lower wages than the people on the factory floor. The people who run the company should be driven: so driven they would do anything legal to make everything work. My understanding is that VM got a wage of ca 20 milion krona, if you include the bonuses. To be honest, until Saab turns a profit, that’s 19,5 milion too much. I hope that at least if the economy gets really stressed, he’ll donate a bunch of milions to Saab, like the retiring boss did for Toyota a few years ago.

    No offence against Jan Åke, as he indeed was a clever man. But when he spoke in english, his voice and accent made him sound literally retarded. I believe that Saab needs someone who’s stable and thought through like Jan Åke, but they also needs someone young. A person who can stand in the limelight and be an embodyment of all things Saab.

    • Good point, how many Saabs you have to sell to have that bonus earned back?

    • Hogge,
      I don’t want to talk about your wrong figures, but calling Mr Jonnson a retarded is completely out of range.

      Calm down, and don’t be that personal in the future.

      /RedJ

    • No offence against Jan Åke, as he indeed was a clever man. But when he spoke in english, his voice and accent made him sound literally retarded.

      No offence? Really? Why couldn’t you just leave it as he is a clever man? I agree with some of what you said though. Not sure how all of that works though, I remember when Ford was in rough shape and I think the Ford that was running things was taking shares instead of a salary, seemed admirable at the time, although I’m sure their stocks have climbed to a point now where that would seem like he was grossly overpaid??? Let’s stick to commenting on facts though, no need for name calling or making fun of the way someone sounds.

      • I’m not making fun of him. Like I said, I believe he actually is a clever man. The thing is that I believe that for example in the US, he might not be taken seriously because of how he sounds. Like I said, my point wasn’t to offend him.

        • Well, he is a Swede, and he speaks in measured tones. His command of English is fine to this American….and how many of us Americans can speak ANY other language passably, let alone Swedish?

          I will not comment on how many of my fellow Americans (not on SU of course) sound retarded even when they’re speaking their native language…:-)

    • I am sure critizising VM for taking his fees an Bonus as agreed upon in accordance to the demands set and met (40% of the business plan fullfilled) will not help.
      I know that everybody points at and needs some scapegoat when they have no real information on what is going on and things are looking bad.
      The easiest target is the highest profile.
      It is the same reason that everybody hates bank CEO’s and stockbrokers at the moment.
      The reasons behind the latest financial crisis and the reasons behind the situation at Saab are not dependent on the income and bonuses of CEO’s.
      What has happened at Saab is caused by a strained economic climate affecting both suppliers and Saab, misreading and incomplete reporting on Spykers annual report, the retirement of JÅJ and all the other things that have been mentioned earlier.
      It was and is a tense sitution that has been handled wrongly by both Saab and the suppliers.
      When the media starts going after the man as opposed to providing real information about companies, they resort to the very human need for a scapegoat, something that we can all understand.
      Which we may do not if they start to use real analysis of the situation and providing the more complex facts.
      This is not a critisism of the media, this is a critisism of the readers ;-)

  8. I am not so sure what needs to be done but whatever it is it has to happen right now. All I have seen over the press the past few days is negativity and that is most definitely not doing Saab any favours. I, for one, am worried.

  9. To continue on the management topic of another thread: the basics of good PR is to identify all stakeholders and then decide on appropriate ways to handle them. Basically there are 2 axis of concern: “Power to influence” and “level of interest”. They make up a 2×2 matrix.
    Players with:
    1-”Power to influence” – low / “level of interest” – low: “minimal effort” should be spent
    2-”Power to influence” – high / “level of interest” – low: “Keep satisfied”, fulfill agreements and they leave you alone
    3-”Power to influence” – low / “level of interest” – high: “Keep informed”, keep them informed and they aren’t a problem
    4- “Power to influence” – low / “level of interest” – low: “Key players” – give these players your highest level of attention, if everything works they’ll make you succeed, or they’ll make you sink in a heartbeat.

    Now we could divide Saab’s different stakeholders into these groups. We have suppliers, supplier interest organization (FKG), the media, shareholders, the Swedish state, EIB, enthusiasts, potential customers, general public etc.
    For example the Swedish state should be Kept satisfied [2]. FKG is perhaps a “Keep informed” [3], as are we enthusiasts. The suppliers are, in Saab’s fragile position, “Key players” [4]. With a stable company the suppliers could eventually be considered a [2] “Keep satisfied”, but not ATM. For many companies the media can be a “minimal effort” [1]. In Saab’s situation they are at least “Keep informed” [3] or perhaps even [4] “Key player”.

    It is vital that Saab is proactive rather than reactive. There are countless cases were companies have stirred up such a negative public/media opinion that the whole operation has fallen. There are also cases where companies have analyzed the general opinion and level of different potential stakeholders in advance and formed action plans to handle them without a hustle. This way they have avoided potential disasters before they occur. This can obviously be implemented on subcontractor relationships too. Saab can’t obviously be proactive in the current situations anymore, but they should consider it in the future.

    Exactly what Saab should do now is up to them, but they should plug up the leaks in the organization. They leaked statements in every direction last week.
    -Media communications should only be handled by the PR-department, and with the CEO in conjunction with the PR-department.
    -Never carry out negotiations in the media, even if the opponent is. Don’t sink to their level. Demand that they do the same.
    -Don’t accuse any partners in the public. Do like JÅJ and leave all specifics uncommented.
    -Reach out to all subcontractors and ask them to communicate directly with Saab and avoid the press.
    -Perhaps even a meeting for all subcontractors could be considered, or at least a common message sent to all, clearing up the situation and asking them to keep from going to the media. Give some reassurance that Saab will be here to stay
    -Be more transparent, when possible, and communicate the basics of the business plan better (built on partnerships, losses the first years, margin more important than sales numbers, extensive cost-cutting, new financing etc.)
    -Make it clear that the “shady” (in the media’s opinion) transactions behind the Saab-buy was due to the fact that VA was bought out with money borrowed from him. Now that VA soon can be let in that hustle will be solved
    -Solve the CEO and financing issues ASAP and don’t just announce them with a press-release but with a press conference. Cuts out some speculations in the media.

    This should be seen as constructive criticism. There is no excuse such as “they did their best”. Clearly it wasn’t enough, and could have been handled much better. Now is the time to step up the game!

    • This is textbook crisis management from an exceptionally good textbook. Someone at Saab should seriously consider hiring you as a contract consultant.

      That’s not an idle comment; I’ve worked in the media for 20 years and have seen it done well, and have watched it horribly botched. Saab’s handling of this is somewhere in the middle. It wasn’t a shining moment, but wasn’t a fatal blow.

      It will learn from this and grow…

      • Thanks for the compliment! :) Actually I’m near the end of my studies in Industrial electronics and Industrial Management at Helsinki University of Technology, and this topic is fresh in mind. But I’d love to work for Saab some day, perhaps with a bit more experience. The Saab situation, from the start of the sales up until now, has been a great real life “case-study” to think about too.
        (And yes I do understand that there is a difference between theory and implementation, but you’ll have to build on solid foundations – (for potential skeptics))

  10. “Flera leverantörer som TT har pratat med vittnar om att Saab sköter sina betalningar. Även inbetalningarna till staten fungerar enligt Skatteverket.”

    Several suppliers TT has talked to testify that Saab takes care of payments. Even those to the state are dealt with according to Swedish Tax Agency.

    Suppliers seem to have gotten greedy – as that Norwegian clearly shows. It is not that Saab hasn´t paid them but now they want something close to CoD instead of 47 days (which is fast IMHO as well).

    • Suppliers seems to worry about their money, but this brings them all in a downward spiral. It worsens Saabs cash position while they have to sell cars and get cash before they have the cash to pay (this is the way it works in the industry).
      If now some of the suppliers demand Cash on Delivery, they’re not just making it harder for Saab, they’re also cannibalizing on their collegue suppliers that stand to the rules. So, if this is true, it’s not just Saab’s fault as our dear friend Berglie likes us to believe… the suppliers are also part of the fight (played out through the media).

      • I’ll repeat…this is more the suppliers’ fault than Saab’s. Even if Saab was a friggin’ year behind payments, dragging it out into the public was the worst possible way they could have handled it. Grrr.

        • Jeff, what would your reaction be if your employer decided he or she wouldn’t pay you for three months? And what would you bank say when you stopped paying your mortgage???

          By your reasoning, you would be at fault for complaining.

          • Mike,
            That doesn’t even make sense. Payment schedules are set different with big corps. Not the same as a mortgage or your pay. I don’t think it’s fair to say that any of these companies didn’t get paid anything for three months, haven’t seen that reported that way.

          • If my salary were primarily dependent on my employer’s existence, then I would be bending over backwards to make sure I was working with them to get the situation turned around. Futhermore, if my company was under intense media scrutiny and their existence depended on a smooth recovery in that hypersensitive media environment, then I would do everything in my power for my own self-preservation to handle everything behind closed doors. And that’s ignoring a huge fact that Jason brings up– I was used to being paid months later for work I do, then I might even take a different approach– be open with my employer, share my own balance sheet with them and work with them to make sure in the short term that they understand exactly what I need to be able to continue to be able to work. I wouldn’t go on a blog and tell everyone I worked with that my company was giving me a shitty deal asking me to pocket my own expenses– I’d submit receipts, cover my ass, and make sure that I documented every possible cash outflow so that when my employer could pay me back I had documentation. But as Jason says, and individual/employer vs. supplier/industrial corporation are two totally different relationships.

          • Jeff, most vendors will extend invoicing terms only if there’s a reasonable assurance that they’re going to get paid. If there’s a whiff of that not happening, they will start t ask for their money. Pretty insistently.

            The fact that they complained publicly was likely done only after other avenues were exhausted.

          • What does complaining publicly do for your ongoing relationship with said company? Going forward, would you as a large company not want to maybe find suppliers that stuck with you in the tough times? I get that if you feel there is no other way to get paid, you go public, but if you felt that it was the only way to get paid then would you not just walk away once you were paid?

  11. As my Father used to say:

    “It’s okay to fall down………….. it’s how you stand up that matters”

    In other words I absolutely agree with rodmylon April 5, 2011 at 20:36

  12. Got depressed by all these (negative) discussions here and I remembered the high spirit we had in the beginning of last year:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dyILRTrrF74

    This got me in a much better mood…

  13. It’s really tragic to see the Swedish media trying to fight down Saab. Not that Saab is the only company under attack, recentli, Ikea was “accused” for doing legal tax planning, moving boards and loads of money to low tax countries, which might make one think that media would like it better when a company moves production and development to Sweden, but oh no, first the general anti-Saab circus in Sweden, reporting V Antonov’s “Saab neads money and I can contribute up to 600 million because with the current buisness plan I’m convinced the company will be worth some 13-17 billion SEK in a few years” to headlines like “VA thinks saab will go bancrupt in five days”, then this TV4 reporter publishing a whole book avout Muller being a bad guy doing nothing but wasting other people’s money and never paying back, which probably helped making some of the suppliers more nervous, stopping deliveries, which media of course loves making big news of, reporting about that and adding their own wild guessing and pet theories instead of writing about the new products coming out, which probably makes some supplier even more nervous, couses some more stopped delieveries, eagerly reported by the media etc…

    Good that there at least are some positive news coming out also, but most of the media really seems to prefer putting a negative spin on anything. :-/


  14. Ok,
    now I don’t really understand how this all works, but what really is to decide? If Saab is to fail with the current loans and such, would that not be a bad thing for Sweden? As I see it, you have VA who is ready to step in and take away some of the problems, if his bank was to then issue loans to replace the loans currently in place, would that not make the Saab situation not be a risk for Sweden anymore? I think one could argue that it is a win win for everyone, VA could stand to gain on both sides, making money in the long run from his Saab investment and making money right away from the loan to Saab and Sweden wouldn’t have to worry about Saab anymore. Standing in the way of this all happening seems to be the wrong choice to me.


    repaired
    RedJ

  15. Would it theoretically be possible for VA’s bank to loan nearly unlimited ammounts of money to Saab and frankly don’t care if they ever pay back?

    • Unless his bank is headquartered in Nigeria and he doesn’t care about spending time in jail: no.

      • But if his bank loans the amounts needed to replace the existing loans, it would make life a little easier. Just seems silly to stand in the way.

        • VM has said a few days ago that VA’s bank(s) are not amongst those Spyker is negotiating the EIB refinancing loan with. Which is quite logical, given that if VA is going to be a major shareholder in Spyker’s single asset Saab as a private investor, this could constitute a conflict of interests in certain situations if the bank(s) he controls would become a major creditor of Spyker/Saab. As everybody will know, sometimes the interests of shareholders don’t coincide with those of banks. And sometimes they are even diametrally opposed.

          Ivo

    • I’m not businessman, but VA seems to be a pretty successful businessman and I doubt that he has any interest in throwing any money on Saab just because he likes the cars. It sounds more plausible that he does it simply for the reason he has told in interviews: He is convinced that if he buys himself into the company now, he will get a lot more money back in a couple of years.

      I’m glad that there are people with big visions fro Saab like VM and VA. Fingers crossed for them to be successful! =)

      • All we can do is support Saab the best we can.

        I order spare parts ( consumables) and accessories (goodies) when finances allow it….even if i don’t need them JIT. My contributions might be small, but it’s a contribution to the cash flow.

        Even if you can’t buy a new 9-5 Aero ……Go order some spiffy floormats, a extra oil filter or wiper blades from your Saab dealer. You’ll need this stuff someday anyway. While you’re there, buy a coffee mug or a pen set that says “SAAB”, be proud of what you believe in.

        • I think that’s great advice, and that’s what I’m trying to do since I’m not in the market for a new car. For my last brake job and other maintenance, I bought everything through my dealer and had the added satisfaction of supporting Saab and knowing I had genuine Saab parts. I was even pleasantly surprised to find that I could buy the modern Saab flex-blade wipers for my 04 9-3 for less than Autozone charges.

  16. I really dont tnink this is about money as its already been acknowledged that most companies operate with their suppliers in a similar fashion They got spooked when JAJ stepped aside as the CEO.

  17. Here’s an idea that I don’t think has ever been done….
    How about current Saab owners (20,000 would be nice) “donate” $500 each to Saab to help them get through the cash crunch. A promissory note could be issued towards the purchase of a new Saab (say it’s worth $750). Imagine the positive press that Saab would get displaying the loyalty of current owners. You can’t buy that kind of positive press!

    • Ehhhh, I love the spirit of your idea, but the practical ramifications scare the hell out of me. You don’t want your message to potential customers to be, “Our customers expect a lot from their cars. That’s why we expect so much of them.” :P Catchy, but nooo. We need this whole situation to go away asap and start focusing on something else. From what I can gleam, it’s more a ploy by suppliers to make sure they’re getting paid quicker than them actually being worried they’ll eventually get paid for their wares.

    • Sounds desperate. Besides, it would only net $10 million. That’s chump change in the grand scheme of things.

  18. I am amazed that Saab is not out in front of the bad PR. All along, since VM has aquired Saab, the news flies all over the place and SAAB has no voice. Look at saabmedia.com site and the last post they had was on March 25th!

    Saab has come back from the GM dead, but they are playing in the real world now. They need to get in front of the bad pr instead of being silent. Silence is deadly!

    I am a loyal saab owner and potential buyer–and even I am scared. I want Saab to succeed–but they are playing this very badly! So much is out of their control…but they are avoiding what IS in their control.

    • Hi Fred and fellow Chicago native,

      I couldn’t agree with you more. SAAB already has an uphill battle to climb, and this situation is certainly not helping the least bit. Hopefully, it will be resolved swiftly and clearly so we can all get back to business and sell SAABS!

  19. I´m a retired strategy consultant, specialised on big turn-around operations, and I´ve followed the SAAB turn-around-operation from the beginning from a professional interest. Saabsunited is a valuable source of information, a uniqe site in many ways, and my congaratulations to you all.

    The key person in the SAAB-business is of course Vladimir Antonov, and he has been very quiet. I have learnt: Never listen to what persons tell you, just look on what they doing. Them you may (maybe) understand the underlying strategies. Therefor it has been extre´ely difficult to evaluate Antonovs strategy, and SAABs future.

    We a§

  20. Apparently Lars Carlström (the Genii bid) works as VA’s advisor:
    http://di.se/Artiklar/2011/4/6/232221/Sa-ska-Saab-fa-in-nya-miljarder/
    To me it becomes increasingly obvious that VA is part of Saabs future.

    • Thats interesting news. :)

    • I read Andrew Carlstrom, not Lars…are they one and the same? Basically the article is rehashing the same stuff we know…get off reliance of the EIB loan which is politically driven. It’s interesting if true that VA is working behind the scenes to help line up external funding sources (separate from Convers) from 5 different major Euro banks. It explains why he’s tweeting furiously explaining he’s close to figuring out solutions. Keep it up Vlad. Not sure this is front page material but definitely worth having a readable translation on the site, so here it is:

      Saab needs to strengthen its funds by 1-2 billion kronor, according to industry sources DI has been in contact with. The company is working on several ways to get money.

      Russian banker Vladimir Antonov has contacted five major European banks to borrow 3.6 billion. The money will help Saab to resolve the loans from the European Investment Bank, EIB, who are now charing high interest rates (they’re claiming 10% annually).

      “EIB loan must be resolved to a loan that is not politically driven. As it is so, the EIB and the Debt Office committed Saab’s assets as collateral for the loan,” said Andrew Carlstrom, advisor to Vladimir Antonov Di.

      He stresses, however, that the process can take up to six months to complete.

      Vladimir Antonov has previously promised to put up half a billion as soon as he is approved as the owner of the car manufacturer.

      Saab also work to raise money by selling licenses and cooperation on the new platform Phoenix. Talks have been held with stakeholders including Chinese, says the company.

      The problem there is that money can not flow in until after quite some time.

      Saab’s other assets including but not limited to properties, tools and spare parts sales which have already been pledged to the Debt Office, will cover the estimated mortgage limits up the 3.6 billion lent.
      So, Saab will bring new billion

      • Jeff, it sais Lars Carlström in the same sentence in the original article , so for some mysterious reason, Google (?) translate must have translated Lars to Andrew for you.

        • It is Lars Carlström,Genii-bid, that heads VA’s bank’s new branch office in Stockholm/Sweden. It was mentioned in some article a week or two ago. He seems very confident in VA and his genuine interest for Saab. Sounds great to me

  21. I believe the bottom reason for this is that Saab (as JÅJ said) has low liduidity. This amounts to a low amount of money in the bank at any given moment, but doesn’t really reflect the viability of the business. Cash flow probably looks promising, but it could in fact be the increased production that’s the key problem. Ramping up production is a well-known “problem” for many companies with a tight budget since there’s suddenly a needed increase in cash to pay for the bigger stock (of cars) that’s the result.

    The slightly missed sales targets of last year probably made a world of difference since they would have been smaller, incremental, increases in production and would have added to a better liquidity now. The fact that it all blew up when it did probably coincides with the salary payments as well and unless Saab manages to increase liquidity right now, it might be the same thing all over again at the end of April. Hopefully VA can contribute here.

    That said, I hate to see those bridges being burned and would welcome a new CEO to provide a new boost of confidence for the business,

  22. I´m a retired strategy consultant, specialized on big turn-around operations, and I´ve followed the SAAB turn-around-operation from the beginning from a professional interest. Saabsunited is a valuable source of information, a unique site in many ways, and my congratulations to you all for making this site so informative

    The key person in the SAAB-business has always been and is Vladimir Antonov, and he has been very quiet. Never listen to what persons tell you, just look on what they doing. Identify FACTS. Then you may (maybe) understand the underlying strategies. It has been extremely difficult to evaluate Antonovs strategy, and SAABs future, because he has been always in the background, quiet.

    We also know very little about Antonovs limits for his possible financing. As a Russian he has to obey Russian rules and laws (incl Cremlins approval) for foreign investments. What good will a SAAB—investment give Russia?

    It seems that Antonov during 2010 has sorted out his business with General Motors, but we have no indications at all on what terms a future cooperation SAAB-GM are built. Are Antonov and GM now partners for the future ?

    But MONEY ALWAYS TALKS, sooner or later.

    Started Antonov himself this crisis? Rodmylon wrote above on April 5, 2011 at 18:48
    “I read some speculation in the Finnish press (!!) that the low liquidity might be due to the fact that some of the Antonov loans had to be payed off at the end of March. Funnily I didn’t read any of this in the Swedish press, but they’ve not made themselves famous for their analytic abilities when it comes to Saab… Could this be the reason for the current situation?

    That caught my interest. Could anyone confirm why Spyker got this sudden financial crisis. Why did CEO and CFO pull back? And Antonov applied for approval as a SAAB shareholder at the same time. Why happened this when everything (except sales figures compared to plan unfortunately) looked so good?

    Is Antonov on the move, maybe with backing from GM (a SAAB bankruptcy is not in GMs interest) with a new business plan, for SAAB. If this speculation (that Antonov is moving in for SAAB) , this is Antonov actually telling other players:

    I´M NOW IN CHARGE.

    I assume Antonov acts like a smart and shrewd businessman, and what happens next only Antonov and his associates know, but they must have a plan for reducing present losses and putting up minimum 0,5 billion euro)

    Antonov knows he is the only person today who can save SAAB. The question is how much will this new proposal cost other players.

    This saves SAAB, but may include (costcutting) changes in Trollhättan and longterm moving expansion jobs for political reasons to Russia.. SAABs previous businessplan is already dead, since everybody now admits 80 000 SAAB is out of reach.

    So what are Antonovs plans? That’s the key question today? All other players are without negotiating power. Antonov dictates of course in a nice manner but still: Take it or leave it! This is the best deal you can get!

    • Even though mr. Antonov is a Russian national himself, the banks that he and his father control are for the most part headquartered in the Baltic countries and so are free to conduct business in the EU any way they choose. In addition, VA (and/or his banking group) actually acquired existing banks and/or has set up banking branch businesses in the UK, Sweden and probably also elsewhere. I don’t think approval by Russian authorities is required for whatever business deals non-Russian banks decide to enter into.

      I don’t think this type of speculation is of any use if you aren’t well-informed about the way VA’s banking business is structured. And even if you do, it is rather pointless in my view as you, as you write, have no idea what VA might decide to do. Or not to do.

      Ivo

  23. RS said on April 6, 2011

    Why don’t we leave these WILD speculations for the Swedish press!

    @Rod, I’m glad your studying industrial management but if we fuel this fire it will scorch Saab sales. SU regulars are not the only one reading this site. I’m sorry but if you keep spreading rumors it will only add to the problem. Please calm down, don’t make posting here an ego trip.

    • I’m definitely not trying to make it an ego trip, it’s about trying to understand Saab’s problems and what can be done about them. I have nothing personal to gain from it, other than that my favorite car make survives. The remark about my studies was to explain where the ideas came from, and that I’m no wanna-be consultant, NOT to show off! Sound analysis of what could be done and constructive ideas should be encouraged. Plain and uncalled for negativity should obviously be avoided (as should ego-trips, I agree).

      • RS said on April 6, 2011

        Glad to hear. I just wanted to remind folks commenting that there are hundreds of millions of euros and thousands of jobs around the world at stake here and everything that’s been said has an affect on some level.
        We should keep focusing more on the positives -now Saab has to resolve the liquidity issues even if it’s the hard way. Good things often come out of crisis mode.
        Lets not join the dooms day gang. As I’ve said last year it’s so much easier to buy a company (even from GM) than running it and Saab will need solid SU support at least until the JC 9-3 is out.

        I don’t want anything to come between me and my SC purchase ;) The 9-5 is one heck of a car.

      • @ rodmylon: I’m pretty sure Saab employ more than one industrial management specialist with highly relevant experience in the automotive sector. Such people are quite capable of doing a situation-specific analysis. Therefore, a lecture in basic industrial management, however interesting in itself, is probably not really needed.

        Ivo

  24. Stop in production should be extended till Tuesday next week says DI.
    http://di.se/Artiklar/2011/4/6/232248/Saabstoppet-forlangs-till-en-vecka/?sr=6&tr=286756&rlt=0
    But:

    Saab is expected to come out with details later Wednesday.

    So hopefully they have to say something good for the press!!

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