Letter of Support From Heads of FKG

I’d love to write about Saab interest stories, tech pieces, or launch competitions, but for the next few days while this cloud is over us, I’d just like to remind everyone how important a positive decision in favor of reconstruction would be for Saab’s future. Whether or not the Court of Appeals grants the reconstruction, I’m confident Saab will make it through one way or another, their staff just won’t give up. Hopefully the Court will see this spirit and help to remove any obstacles from Saab’s way so they’re on the right side of history.

Frederick Sidahl, Managing Director FKG (the Automotive Suppliers Group) and Christer Palm, Chairman FKG, authored a letter in support of Saab in Swedish magazine Ny Teknik. They emphasize points we’ve heard before, on how shuttering Saab means losing a very crucial industrial company. While they focus on the enormous loss of technical expertise Sweden would suffer if Saab were to shutter, they also mention the loss of exports.

I have to echo their sentiment, and if anyone from the Court is reading this, please understand that Saab is for me and many others around the world, the most recognizable positive export Sweden has besides Ikea and H&M. Trying to stifle Saab is like cutting off a major artery in your national circulatory system, it may not seem like a lot of jobs or industry on the surface, but the company is a vital and unique link for the rest of the world into your Swedish identity. If Saab didn’t exist, I’d never have developed an affinity for Sweden so deeply.

Read their letter after the break.

We, the Scandinavian trade association for the supplier industry, Automotive Suppliers, FKG, supports a reconstruction of Saab Automobile AB, since this approach is preferable to a bankruptcy.

In our view, an abandonment of the Saab not only have immediate effects on employment, industry and regional growth in direct connection with Saab in Västra Götaland, but we also see a long-term risk of eroding the Swedish automotive cluster with Sweden, but the Saab Automobile.

The automotive cluster that is under development can be described as the engine for the Swedish automotive industry. This is where research and manufacturing. With a smaller partner, Saab, the cluster would suffer adversely. This would in turn have consequences for both industrial development and for Swedish exports.

The erosion can also cause unwanted effects due to an exodus of supplier industries as well as a more conservative view of Sweden as a vehicle to land long-term investing in.

FKG’s recent structure study points to a slow exodus of the supplier industry to other countries, and this increased diversification into other markets outside the automotive industry. In itself it is good to recognized talented Scandinavian suppliers develop their business, seeking new markets, which is a direct consequence of the global automotive crisis in 2008-2009. But there is a slow exodus of industry is by no means good.

With a reconstructed Saab, a Saab Automobile, which is still alive, would supply the industry continue to evolve. To develop supply chain, all the Swedish vehicle manufacturers and thus all the Swedes from – the automotive industry is one of the leading Swedish export industries.

There are approximately 1,000 automotive suppliers in Sweden (big global players, SMEs, regional and national actors) that employs over 70,000 people and a turnover of 154 billion, 25 percent of this is exported. 97 percent of all suppliers in Sweden.

Of these, 97 percent carry 70 per cent some form of Research and Development, that is, almost 5000 people are engaged in research and development in the automotive industry.

We, as representatives of the Scandinavian supplier industry, like with this letter to appeal to an assessment in a larger perspective. We also have some advice – please feel free lesson in how to successfully handled similar situations in other vehicle-producing countries, the U.S. administration’s rescue of General Motors during the crisis or Kurz Zeit Woche in which German state went in and supported the automotive industry and took part in the wage cost as that the skills could be left in the companies.

For the Scandinavian supplier industry and the Swedish automotive industry a reconstruction of Saab Automobile is therefore preferable to bankruptcy.

 

Frederick Sidahl

Managing Director FKG – Automotive Suppliers Ltd

 

Christer Palm

Chairman FKG – Automotive Suppliers Ltd

Chris Hansel
Member
5 years 7 days ago

Jeff;
Right you are. It is time for the west to wake up and understand that de- industrialization has been a mistake, sold to us by academics, who never had a job besides going to school, or teaching at school. When you can’t re-invenst in your industries because you have too much debt, you should come to the understanding you are in a death spiral. Time to pull up!

till72
Member
5 years 7 days ago

+1

Audun
Member
5 years 7 days ago

+1

Gaipa
Member
5 years 7 days ago

+1

cakewalker
Member
5 years 7 days ago

Chris – I agree with you 100% that it’s a huge error thinking we (ie., European countries – I’m in the UK) can survive off service ‘industries’ in place of manufacturing. However, I’m not sure why the criticism is levelled at academics for dreaming up the idea. Surely it’s career politicians who are at fault?

OTOH I think there’s far too much stuff manufactured worldwide, but that’s a separate issue. That doesn’t change the fact that if we lose the skills and centres of manufacturing they’re going to be extremely tough to regain.

till72
Member
5 years 7 days ago

If Saab didn’t exist, I’d never have developed an affinity for Sweden so deeply.

Same for me.

900 classic cab
Guest
5 years 7 days ago

+1

Saabim
Member
5 years 7 days ago

Me too. I told many times it must be the interest in Sweden no to save Saab only but to help because there isnlt Saab only. They are many other companies involved in Automotive.

Audun
Member
5 years 7 days ago

That’s true, and way too important to forget. Let’s hope they see this.

OliverH
Member
5 years 7 days ago

I made the affinity to Sweden with Volvo, a couple of visits as a kid and later with my old camper. I love Sweden and a part of Sweden is Saab and Volvo. SEB or H&M is not an as Saab typical Swedish brand.
We did honey moon in Sweden a couple of years ago and 2013 is set as the next trip to Sweden.

OliverH
Member
5 years 7 days ago

I think Swedish Gov Should read this letter to understand Swedish Automotive industry.
Well said FKG – thanks.

kochje
Member
5 years 7 days ago

+1 🙂

Audun
Member
5 years 7 days ago

+99

ivo 71
Member
5 years 7 days ago
Agreed, Jeff. Just one remark: interestingly, you use IKEA and Hennes & Mauritz as examples of other recognizably Swedish companies that contribute to Sweden’s exports. That is, I fear, a widely spread misconception and the perceived Swedish connection is, for the most part, nothing more than a succesful bit of brand marketing. Saab could, by the way, use some of that when the time comes. The truth of the matter is that almost none of the products sold by either IKEA or H&M in their retail outlets are actually made in Sweden. And although H&M is still headquartered in Sweden… Read more »
Allan B
Member
5 years 7 days ago
Jeff, very well put intro to another important piece of material making the case for Saab. Ivo makes a good point about IKEA and H&M, although I think it is a teeny weeny bit unfair. The defence for those multinationals would say that in the global economy an advanced industrial country like Sweden will tend to focus on being the ‘head’ (design, product finishing, strategy, marketing) it will outsource the ‘muscle’ (labour, raw materials, basic assembly) to cheaper developing industrial economies. But of course, as Ivo points out even IKEA’s claims in that regard would be pretty weak! This all… Read more »
ivo 71
Member
5 years 7 days ago
I agree with most of what you write, Allan. But, a barrel full of cynicism that I am, I tend to think that IKEA’s contribution to generating interest for Sweden with their visitors’ as a consequence of their proclaimed and very well-advertised ‘swedishness’ is rather limited. In my view, people go to IKEA for the price of the goods on offer there. The blue-and-yellow color scheme and all the other Swedish stuff may help in attracting people to go there because, after all, Sweden is still seen as synonymous with design and quality by many but I kind of doubt… Read more »
saabdog
Member
5 years 7 days ago
If Sweden ever looses its automotive industry, it will never come back. I don’t understood the “windmill” philosophy that seems to have captured much of European and American industrial thinking. My guess is it is all based on a political philosophy that wishes wind & solar power as the panacea for all social ills. It’s a philosophy that is ill conceived and dangerous. Sure, we all want clean air and water, and abundance of clean energy, but we must also be realists. Petroleum, coal and gas are not even close to being displaced as the primary fuels that run the… Read more »
Frank Wulfers
Member
5 years 7 days ago
Saab is a more important export before Ikea and H&M combined in my opinion. Saab actually manufactures their products in Sweden. I don’t have exact numbers but I think all of the stuff Ikea sells is manufactured in the east. Except for some of their cookies and crispbread they sell. Eben their Swedish coffee comes from the Netherlands! 🙂 Don’t get me wrong, I always enjoy going to Ikea but they sell the Swedish image and design but that’s it. I am sure all H&M clothing is made in China at the lowest possible cost. Something similar happened with the… Read more »
Allan B
Member
5 years 7 days ago
Ivo, last par of your last post – I agree with every single word. (But I still think Ikea does make folk interested in Sweden!) The bitter irony of this intersting issue of Saab’s national identity for me, as the proud and exceedingly satisfied owner for many years of a 9-3ss now with 220,000km on the clock has been all the tedious carping about “Saab died when GM took over” when, in spite of everything, including the admitted truth that the post GM cars are not as quirky as the old triangles on wheels, Saab was still able in this… Read more »
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