Friend to SaabsUnited Robert Colin of Aftonbladet has written a very to the point and worthwhile summary of how the politicians at the top of the Swedish government reacted to the news of Saab’s troubles yesterday. Usually I leave the Swedish media or government rants to Tim as I’m American, but I can plainly see all the way from over here just how poorly they’ve handled this situation. I love Sweden– the history, the design heritage, the culture, and most of all the people. But right now, I’m not so in love with the ministers that run the place. For all those of you who live in Sweden, please bookmark this article so the next time that election cycles come around, you can remember how Prime Minister Reinfeldt feels about Saab and vote accordingly to elect politicians who value the Swedish auto industry.
Full English translation after the break.
The statement is a kick in the waist of the employees.
With a few exceptions, Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt stayed away from the debate on the Saab. But yesterday, he commented on the recent crisis in the Daily Echo. He said: “I feel sorry for those working in a company the day before discovering that there was money for salaries.”
He also said: “Saab is a company that builds cars that can not make money.”
Still no word from the Government that Saab is a company to be proud of. And that for many years they have built the world’s safest cars, with excellent handling. And that [their success] even meant a lot for Volvo’s success. And that Sweden employs over 10,000 people within the supply industry. Or that the competition between Volvo and Saab, and Volvo Trucks and Scania, for that matter, helps to Sweden’s technical colleges train car manufacturers in the world.
Not a word about it. Just a kick right into the waist of the Saab line, and the Saab employees. With cockheaded statements even though he had never been to the factory and do not have a clue what Saab might earn on each car sold.
Maud Olofsson, who has always been the government’s spokesman in Saab affair, said yesterday the sale of Saab’s factory buildings: There are no buyers.
But that is not true. For his part, financier Vladimir Antonov has done everything possible to buy the mill, but stopped by the European Investment Bank, EIB, and the Swedish Government in tacit collusion. Antonov gave up last week to give free rein to a Swedish consortium with AP-fund-owned property Hemfosa in the majority. And contrary to Maud Olofsson’s statement they are in negotiations with Hemfosa Group.
Saab wants to sell some of their properties for SEK 300 million to meet the immediate crisis. It would require 30 million to pay (for the blue-collar employees, civil servants are paid at a different time) and so must the subcontractors are paid.
Ever since General Motors announced it would close down Saab the government has slandered and discredited both Saab and those who wanted to save the company. While it has been explained to prospective buyers of the company that Sweden is on the way out of industrial society and into the service community. Sweden, according to Finance Minister Anders Borg, at least will not have any car industry.
If the government gets what it wants to befall Saab already this week, then several of the international sub-contractors will disappear at a fact pace from Sweden, giving Volvo problems and, eventually, truck manufacturers.
About Volvo moves from London to China is perhaps no surprise, but when Scania start building trucks in Germany, it becomes apparent how different governments of Europe act to maintain its industry.
In Germany and France, governments have gone in with many billions in order to save his car left in the country. Same thing in Belgium, so there remains just Volvo left, as they were so confident.
But what happens in Sweden, one can not even guess.