CLEPA: The Swedish government has failed the industry

In an interview with Swedish Television, Lars Holmqvist the CEO of CLEPA, points out the following:

  • Saab’s current situation could have been avoided with a more alert government
  • Germany supported their automobile industry
    • 300 billion SEK in loans and grants
    • 30 billion SEK in cash-for-clunker fees
  • Sweden: Nothing
  • The Swedish government is not interested in this type of industry. It is not an industry suited for the “future” they say.
  • He does not want to criticize the government or EIB for their handling of the Antonov question

I have said this before, and I will say so again: Sweden is not an island. When other European countries act in a certain way, then political ideologies have to be put aside and solutions must be found. To ignore Germany’s actions in the situation that arose is to ignore the elephant in the room.

As a Norwegian, I know a thing or two about ignoring one’s industry. This strategy works for Norway, because Norway can float on its oil resources (until it runs out…). We have always envied Sweden for their successful industry, but this is about to change.

I hope someone at the press conference today will ask the government to explain why they are sitting idly by as EIB takes their sweet time processing the various requests made by Saab. I find it strange that a guarantor lets the lender get away with what effectively amounts to sabotage.

Motoradd's Cat
Member
5 years 3 months ago

+1

AngryEngineer
Member
5 years 3 months ago

+1

Seán
Member
5 years 3 months ago

I really don’t understand the Swedish government. Every other government offered bailouts to their industry. Germany, USA, and even Australia offered a bailout to Holden who only turned a profit in the last year because of it. I don’t understand how any government can believe that killing off a skilled workforce is progress. Progress to what?

hans h
Member
5 years 3 months ago

This government will not get my vote anymore, that’s for sure.

A swedish government should use swedish cars as transport.

Coke is it
Member
5 years 3 months ago

+1

900SE
Member
5 years 3 months ago

It’s disgusting the fact that other manufacturers (Renault for example) get EU money (aprox 50 million euros) for developping new engines, while the EIB just stands there and rejects investors in Saab. What the hell are they thinking ?

zippy
Member
5 years 3 months ago

Renault is French and EU slush fund is there for the French as they rely on everyone for almost everything. 😉

Ralph
Member
5 years 3 months ago

An industry not suited for the future? Explain that to me please…
To be honest, over here the government sat idle watching an aircraft manufacturer go bust, back in 1996: the company was called Fokker (established in 1919). And now they’re putting money in its successor…

Tripod
Member
5 years 3 months ago

“An industry not suited for the future? Explain that to me please…”
Yep; the Swedish government believes that in just two generations kids will be born with wheels at their feet; no need for vehicles, no matter what energy is used etc. etc. 😉

nichell
Guest
5 years 3 months ago

It’s a Socialist nightmare. That’s what happens when the government regulates the crap out of yah.
You have to go to them for permission for investors for the business, they tell you how to build cars, to use corn fuel power, destroy a country’s manufacturing base. They don’t care about peoples’ jobs because that would empower people and not them. It eventually collapses…Like Greece, Spain rioting.What do they manufacture in Greece?

Khrisdk
Member
5 years 3 months ago

Nope..
The poblem with most Scandinavian Governments is that they are regulating everything in every detail, AND at the same time conducts an extreme liberalist attitude towards Businesses, at least as policy.

davidgmills
Member
5 years 3 months ago

Why don’t you come to the capitalist nightmare called the US where we sent all of our jobs to China a long time ago. Now we serve hamburgers to each other at McDonalds. Our college graduates can’t get any work because there is nothing to do. Our capitalistic corporations don’t want our labor, they just want us to spend our money on whatever crap they bring over from China.

We could use a little socialistic regulation here.

Abby Brooks
Member
4 years 8 months ago

Are you kidding me? When the government steps in, that is when we lose everything. We are told what to do and have no choice. Who wants to be told what we can and can’t have? The United States was meant to be a place where we can enjoy life liberty and the pursuit of happiness. No where did i ever see any document saying that we are entitled to anything. Honestly, if you disagree with our “capitalistic ways” then leave. Simple fix.

Tripod
Member
5 years 3 months ago
This is an extreme laissez-faire government, I’m afraid. This is like no other government around the world; they can claim that EU rules don’t allow them to help companies, i.e. they do almost everything they can to follow EU regulations. They also have a post-industrial outlook; we should now sell “know-how”, write computer software, and live on tourists, a service economy extreme. Pretty amazing, given the fact that Sweden are producing great products; some of the best cars in the world, some of the best fighter planes, submarines, trucks etc. and have highly skilled workers, great engineers etc. Sad is… Read more »
Katsura
Member
5 years 3 months ago

Indeed! Looks what a hole the previous UK goverment dig themselves into.

It is so sad to see engineering graduates working in “service” indistry, ie, returning telephone calls, and now even these jobs are outsourced.

This maybe simplifying things, but why is China so rich? because they MAKE things.

Sweden, under this goverment is turning into another UK. SAD!

Motoradd's Cat
Member
5 years 3 months ago

There are jobs for Engineers in the UK, but they are mainly in Defence and Nuclear Decommissioning.

These industries may not appeal to the young graduates, but they do offer some great opportunities as the baby boomer generation are starting to retire.

Katsura
Member
5 years 3 months ago

True, but UK WAS an en engineering POWERHOUSE at one time.

The goverment(s) fucked up the aircraft industry first, then the car industry in the 70’s (okay not entirely their fault but they had a hand).

Audun
Member
5 years 3 months ago

+1 from Norway. I don’t understand why they let this happend. 🙁

Vector-SS
Member
5 years 3 months ago

It’s a good slap in the face right before Maud’s interview. Here’s to hoping the press demand some answers today!

Motoradd's Cat
Member
5 years 3 months ago

Someone give her a slap! Please.

Skipper
Member
5 years 3 months ago

The Swedish Govt is a bloody disgrace! They should be ashamed of themselves, they should be helping Saab and its workers, not trying to scrap them! I really don’t know how on earth they can just sit there and watch this happening whilst doing zero to help.

Audun
Member
5 years 3 months ago

+1

MK
Member
5 years 3 months ago

+1

Swedish government is terrified of doing anything that could be construed as protectionism in the industry.
Things such as providing temporary loans are dangerous, which they could have done instead of it would go through the IEB.
No, instead, everything should go through the EU while they (the government) to stand and watch as the bigger countries will help their industry.

Sorry if I sound a little angry (have not received my salary for example) but the current government has not done anything good regardless of the industry in Sweden.

Hope that everything resolves itself into the best anyway.

TurboLover
Member
5 years 3 months ago

If every other government had not supported their automobile industry, I would have supported the Swedish government position, being the “market will decide for itself”. What the Swedish government has failed to understand is that “market decisions” are only truly effective when there is a level playing field. Governments of other countries have tilted the table hampering the competitiveness of Swedish automobile manufacturing and the Swedish Gouvernment has not responded to that 🙁

Coke is it
Member
5 years 3 months ago

+1

hans h
Member
5 years 3 months ago

+1

JohanS
Member
5 years 3 months ago

There may be a connection between Sweden being one of the few countries in Europe with a good economy and not supporting every other company in trouble 😉

Tripod
Member
5 years 3 months ago
You have repeated that comment in some blog posts; there are quite many factors behind a strong economy, and I think you know that; the single reason isn’t that the government has refrained from giving support, as you seems to be claiming. They have been anti-industrial in their outlook, that can scare away quite a few. As TurboLover said; the playing field isn’t level. And above all, when they saw Saab becoming an independent company during bad times in the industry they could have made some small contributions, for example a loan to the company, happy to see it stay… Read more »
Khrisdk
Member
5 years 3 months ago

The reson behind the weak Danish economy is that we have succeded in doing what the Swedish Governmen is trying to do in Sweden.

Each Dane born is a loss of about 1 mill DKK over their lifetime.
Becuse we are only administering each other.
It does not generate income for the country.

TurboLover
Member
5 years 3 months ago

+1

OliverH
Member
5 years 3 months ago

Why is swedish gov and the bad swedish press guilty? Swedish gov operated in the area they’re allowed by EU regulations.

Germany for example had supported all car manufacturers with the Abwrackprämie. They’re not allowed to only support national companies.

I haven’t read about about management failures or a unrealistic business plan.

JukkaH
Member
5 years 3 months ago

Money, agreements and following rules shouldn’t be an issue for the Swedish government. Sweden is still not using Euro as their currency due to a loophole even it’s a basic requirement to be a part of EU.

OliverH
Member
5 years 3 months ago

Sweden is part of the European union and so of it’s regulations. The currency union with the EURO is an other funny group 😉

rune
Member
5 years 3 months ago

OliverH, you fail to factor in the 300 million SEK bailout package that mr Holmqvist mentions.

JohanS
Member
5 years 3 months ago

Actually, I believe that Swedens success, compared to our size, comes from us not being protective about our industry and a small home market. Instead, we need to be good at what we are doing

Ken H
Member
5 years 3 months ago

It was already explained a while ago here at SU, that the Swedish politicians want a society with administration, not industry. In their dream future people are sitting and administrating each other…

m.i.b
Member
5 years 3 months ago

The steps of Swedish government shows clearly one thing – Current “so-called-green” governments almost all over the world can just destroy everything but can’t build anything useful and efficient.

jelger
Member
5 years 3 months ago

There is not much green (or socialist) about the current government. It is neoliberal “no government interference total free market [small government]” dogma all over.

Mynoob
Member
5 years 3 months ago

That’s BS, everyone knows that the government is aiming at forming a coalition with the greens after the coming election and if they want to do this they can’t support any part of the auto industry which is scheduled for demolition. It’s all politics.

That said, Saab will have to make it on its own. If they do they’ll be stronger than steel, if they don’t well bye bye.

Khrisdk
Member
5 years 3 months ago

Also please note that the strongest economy in the world, and the Country with most Green initiatives in the world at the moment is Socialist:

Aka. China

m.i.b
Member
5 years 3 months ago

But their (China) market is more free than EU has.

Khrisdk
Member
5 years 3 months ago

Maybe.

But the reason behind Chinas succes is an absolute control af businesses, lots of manufacturing industry, and a completely coherent strategy for the future.

They have 4000 years of experience at being a nation, and they are patient 🙂

DUTCH900C
Member
5 years 3 months ago

I’m sad, no, angry, oh no, very angry, hmm, let me think, furious, no no, not even that, i’m very furious, o no, i’m thinking again and now more deeply, I’m extremly furious about how the Swedish goverment had act, so far, about SAAB!

ArchDandy
Member
5 years 3 months ago

I am really sorry for the employees and for SAAB.
But I´ am sure that this problem will be solved out soon.

Keep fighting Saab. Together as one against all the others.

jouni72
Member
5 years 3 months ago

+1

guy55
Member
5 years 3 months ago

hallo saabbisten,
ik wacht nog steeds op mijn nieuw bestelde cabrio griffin vanaf april 2011.
wel ,saab komt met de produktie naar belgie ,de sites van opel staan leeg en gegarandeerd succes ,ook wat de subsides betreft van de belgische regering .
ik kan niet begrijpen dat de zweden zo een goed produkt willen falliet hebben!!!!
laat ons daarom wereldwijd als trouwe saabfanaten protesteren tegen deze laksheid,te beginnen welkom antonnov!!!!!!!!!!!

DUTCH900C
Member
5 years 3 months ago

guy55, it would be so nice if you wrote in English in stead of Dutch and yes i know, my English is terrible, but i’m trying my best to do it better.

zippy
Member
5 years 3 months ago

Well said!!!!

Sadim
Member
5 years 3 months ago
I can understand the frustration shown by all the comments, but blaming the Swedish Goverment is barking up the wrong tree. There has never (in recent years) been a majority among the public for the state to get involved in SAAB, so Maud and Co are doing what a majority want. Moreover they, foolishly gave their backiing to the EIB loan which sooner or later is going to cost the tax payers quite a bit. I am very sorry for those employees who will suffer, but for the rest of you. Stop moaning, and stop blaming Maud when you should… Read more »
rune
Member
5 years 3 months ago

Sadim, it is not the loan guarantee that is going to cost the tax payers. The collateral will cover that.

It is the loss of jobs in that region that will be noticed.

Also consider this: Maud said the state is not qualified to run a business that produces cars. Fine. But why then is the state the ones deciding who gets to own said business?

Even if you happen to agree the state should not provide a bailout, you at least have to address the ownership question!

Sadim
Member
5 years 3 months ago

Collateral only has the value someone is prepared to pay. However ,debt has a fixed value. So we haven’t seen the value of SAAB’s assets.

Re ownership, you have a point. I agree – the state should not interfere with ownership.

Börjesson
Member
5 years 3 months ago

Muller’s bonus was a very poor PR move, but otherwise has nothing whatsoever to do with the current situation. That tiny amount of money wouldn’t make even a ripple in the pool of Saab’s debts.

Sadim
Member
5 years 3 months ago

The bonus just shows where Muller’s heart is, and it’s not in Trollhättan.

hans h
Member
5 years 3 months ago

Firstly – he has not recieved the bonus, it is left for a better day.

Secondly – his heart is where he is, right now in US, doing what he has been doing the last year; trying to save Saab.

If you want to find someone whose heart is not in Trollhättan, try Maud Olofsson, Fredrik Reinfeldt or Anders Borg.

Sadim
Member
5 years 3 months ago

The hearts of Messrs O, R and B should focus on the entirety of Sweden. Not for the short-term future of Trollhättan. They are doing just what they should.

Börjesson
Member
5 years 3 months ago

Sadim, in my opinion they are definitely not doing what they should. I wrote down what they should be doing in another comment and won’t repeat it here, so please read it there.

heavymetal1
Member
5 years 3 months ago

hears a question for you —why would gm sell a company to some one who could not sustain it for even a year—i think gm should do home mortgages and sell homes to people that can’t afford them—-hmm–. sounds like thay were set up to fail. i have faith in saab, hope you pull it off and beat the odds and tell all who spoke negative about saab to go pound sand.

AndOne
Member
5 years 3 months ago

Thanks Maud. Your party/alliance will not get my vote next election. I feel betrayed. If this was about Peugeot or Renault the french leadership would never allow this. It is a shame Maud, you have destroyed Saab without lifting a finger. We will remember this.

Andrew-V
Member
5 years 3 months ago

Nevertheless I think if it will happen VM to have a speech to employes – there will be nobody to applaud an him… Quite shameful announcement from his party.

Peter Gilbert
Member
5 years 3 months ago
Saab is not asking for welfare, just some help to get the ball rolling so they can build the cars to sell, to make a profit, to pay off the creditors. If Saab ceases then the warped Socialism will kick-in. skilled workers on unemployment until the country runs out of other peoples’ Kronas. This is what has destroyed the US economy. Laid off people can’t buy as much,so production falls and everything cascades downward. Now there is not enough money for people to buy these great cars in the States. I myself have been out of work for over 2… Read more »
Sadim
Member
5 years 3 months ago
But reading many of the comments on this site it seems SAAB enthusiasts are asking for wellfare. With the low level of sales and the low level of profitability any State support of SAAb is likely to end up as being wellfare. There once was a company called Facit in Sweden. They couldn’t live up to new market needs and went down. Very few miss Facit today. I think the know-how withing SAAB can be used elsewhere and make a foundation for future profitable companies. I would much rather see State funds go into new start-ups in fields where there… Read more »
Red J
Member
5 years 3 months ago

Like what?

Coke is it
Member
5 years 3 months ago

-1

rune
Member
5 years 3 months ago
Sadim, looking at your comments as a whole, I’d have to say that you are actively looking for reasons to fail, rather than look closer at the opportunities that present themselves. Such a mindset is not conductive to allow new start-ups to prosper either. You’ll find few (if any) fields where there is “less competition”. Saab has a highly competent R&D division. They have excellent products. A year ago they started almost from scratch. In this time they have achieved much more than any start-up can even dream about. All that is needed now is a little push, or at… Read more »
hans h
Member
5 years 3 months ago

The difference between Saab and Facit are ENORMOUS.

Facit were outdated in every way, while Saab is as up to date as can be. The problem has been “startup”-money since Saab left GM. Saab was being liquidated and more or less dead for several months if you don’t remember. And had Saab been up and running then, a lot would be different now.

How many Saab or Volvo do you find as company cars in the Swedish government?

Tripod
Member
5 years 3 months ago
My best wishes to you, from Sweden. It has been so nice to read all the stories from around the world, from you all; how people enjoy their Saabs, how they use them, got to know about them, anything. Of course I knew that there were strong markets with many enthusiasts, but still today there pop up some new countries that I hadn’t heard of in this context. Of course I know that here, being a site for enthusiasts, people mostly has good things to say about Saab, but it is, as a Swedish Saab enthusiast, heart-warming, indeed very much… Read more »
aki
Member
5 years 3 months ago
The EU is not an even playing field. Politics and ideology aside, somebody is going to say how come the goverment didn`t support other failing companies(Ericcson??) and so why should they help Saab? The answer is simple. Saab was managed badly under the mothership(GM…read non-EU company) and casted away. Experts and everybody else are screaming outloud about how great potential and good products they have. Excellent facilitys and streamlined production are what also drew the Chinese onboard which I believe will secure the long term financial security. The swedish goverment can obviously see that or are there things we don`t… Read more »
Angel-off
Member
5 years 3 months ago

I believe there are a lot of things we don’t know and don’t see, maybe well managed bankruptcy, this is perfectly legal instrument in business

saabdog
Member
5 years 3 months ago
Sorry, Sadim. I just don’t get it. Why give up on an industry or product because it is too “competitive”? If that were the case then there would be no autos, aircraft, clothing or anything for that matter. Fact is, Saab IS an established company with the human and physical resources in place NOW. Starting over in the hopes that Saab’s employees may some day contribute to another less competitive industry is naive. Competition is GOOD. And Saab has GREAT products. The problem has been mismanagement by GM over the years, and to think that only after a year and… Read more »
sportwagon28t
Member
5 years 3 months ago
Saab was not managed badly under GM, GM gave Saab life when it was clearly going to die, investing millions and millions in the proccess. Everybody raves about the new 95. hello that is a GM product!!!! Whats more GM actally knew how to market the product, in the end they realised the product was inferior to the German opposition and priced it accordingly. the cars sold as a result. VM took over and raised the price, the end result being they didnt sell which is why the company is in the mess its in right now VM had a… Read more »
rune
Member
5 years 3 months ago
sportwagon28t, you are overlooking at least 15 years worth of Saab history there. Did you know that on the day it became known that GM had bought a 50% stake in Saab, a couple of newspapers had already put FIAT as the buyer on the newspaper? GM was by far the only company interested in Saab. What followed was years of neglect. Yes, the new 9-5 was financed by GM, but how many 9-5 successors had been cancelled in the mean time? (AFAIK at least two) Aero-X was the first sign of GM actually investing time and effort into Saab.… Read more »
zippy
Member
5 years 3 months ago

+1000. Beautifully said!!

hans h
Member
5 years 3 months ago

Very well written. Thank you ! 🙂

Tripod
Member
5 years 3 months ago

Nick Reilly, GM Europe, said 15 months ago that GM didn’t do enough for Saab; time, resources, they didn’t engage them self in the brand, they were used to “high volume cars”, didn’t know what to do, but they sure stopped some projects.

Mark
Member
5 years 3 months ago
GM didn’t save Saab. If offered Saab-Scania a slightly better deal than Fiat and suddenly it owned 50% of a premium European car company. It never really knew what to do with Swedish car maker, and probably never had the resources to polish the raw diamond that is Saab. Mostly GM bought Saab because it missed out on buying Jaguar and just wanted to say “me too” to Ford. To say that GM gave life to Saab, conjures up the picture of someone try to perform CPR using only one arm. Not very funny and eventually tragic. Probably words that… Read more »
zippy
Member
5 years 3 months ago

+1

davidgmills
Member
5 years 3 months ago
You can’t say GM didn’t save Saab anymore than you can say it did. Had GM not bought Saab, maybe Saab would have been bought by someone else and survived, maybe not. Maybe Fiat would have backed out and not bought Saab. Or if Fiat had bought Saab, maybe Fiat would have bankrupted Saab faster than GM. In my view, being American, GM did a lot for the Saab brand in the US. It probably tripled the number of dealerships in the US. It made Saabs available to US markets that never would have had any. It made some pretty… Read more »
rune
Member
5 years 3 months ago
…and if GM had not cancelled one or two of the original 9-5’s successor, Saab would have been in greater shape in 2009. I am not sure it matters much what happened in the past. Some people feel Saab should fail now because it was a failure in the past. I think that is weak reasoning. This year Saab offers a unique product lineup unprecedented in the history of the company. Two (three counting the 9-5 SW) new products with another one in the works. Saab have often tried to get by selling old products, and now they finally have… Read more »
saabdog
Member
5 years 3 months ago

Agreed Sportwagon, the 9-5 is a great product, no doubt about it. But GM did not nurture the brand with new products, marketing, etc. to maintain viability throughout its ownership. Also agreed, that the new 9-5 wasn’t priced well in the market, but there has been other reasons Saabs didn’t “fly off of the shelves”, lack of marketing and a coherent sales strategy didn’t help either. All of these issues can be fixed, but first & foremost, Saab must get its funding squared away or its game over.

sportwagon28t
Member
5 years 3 months ago
Saab was a failing car company before GM took over, it was going bust and thats a fact. GM did input many millions into Saab and kept people in jobs for many years (and paid them on time). GM never made any money out of Saab either but they just kept plugging away regardless. I dont think the GM business model was compatible with Saab, even a GM insider once admitted to me that the Swedes were and i quote ‘ just too laid back’, maybe it Do you think the situation would be any better if Fiat had taken… Read more »
hans h
Member
5 years 3 months ago

Do you feel better now?

rune
Member
5 years 3 months ago
Again you choose to simplify the 20 years worth of history covering GM’s ownership of Saab. As I said, if you look at the period starting with the Aero-X, then yes, GM was investing heavily into Saab. The factory was modernized and they were on the road that would finally produce some new products (9-5 and the 9-4X). But even then, GM hefted Saab with some huge expenses. Who paid for Cadillac’s venture into Europe? Those expenses were put down into Saab’s books. Another example is the cars produced for the american market. Saab paid for the production, but the… Read more »
saabdog
Member
5 years 3 months ago

If GM had nurtured and grown Saab correctly over the years, this entire argument would be moot, because Saab would have been able to stand on its own, profitably…the same could be said for Oldsmobile, Pontiac, Saturn & Hummer.

hans h
Member
5 years 3 months ago

Yes. It is amazing how fast people seem to have forgotten those cars. Saab is still here.

Saab will still be here tomorrow.

saabdog
Member
5 years 3 months ago

Saab will still be here tomorrow.

From your mouth to G-d’s ears!

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