Till’s thoughts…

This morning as I posted the article from sverigesradio it was kind of surreal. This was the big news we had been waiting for and as they were there I could hardly believe it. Over the past six months all of us at SaabsUnited have been dealing with economical and financial issues to a grade that really got unhealthy. I can’t even estimate how many hours I spent on Skype, discussing with members of our team, about the latest news or how to see things and which opportunities the developments would bring. Sometimes it was real fun but on other occasions it was depressing. I never lost the faith that Saab would get through all that and I enjoyed to cover the developments here and give my opinion, but deep inside I was really longing to get back to writing about the cars again.

I had a few business dates today so I got to drive my 9-3 a bit and think about what this sale to Pang Da and Youngman (let’s call them PDYM from now on) would mean for Saab. I more or less put together my few cents on that in my head and I just feel like sharing them with you.


To get to a common fear mentioned quite often around here first: I don’t think that Saab will be moved to China. I had a few discussions about that recently and I always reasoned this with the simple fact that if PDYM had been after the technology only they had never bought the company before bankrupcy, taking over all the debt. For a price that is three times higher than the initial offer. They would not be that dumb. In that case they had waited for the sale of the bits and pieces after a shutdown. To move the production line physically is no option at all. Other attempts in history to do so have proven that it will only cause lots of troubles.

I was quite hard on Youngman as the first attempt to take over 100% of Saab for 200 MKr aired. I still think this offer was a bit cowboyish but my belief always was that if we would see a sale they would want to keep Trollhättan alive. They are not just buying a car company, they are buying a brand and a reputation, a company with a history. That is worth far more than technology alone. The Chinese market likes those western brands and the chinese sub-brand that Saab is supposed to develop for Youngman will benefit fron the fact that it is assiciated with Saab. So it can turn out to be a real big deal for PDYM.

Still, for me personally, Youngman need to prove that they keep their promises and wipe away my doubts while I am initially fine with Pang Da.

TimR wrote in his thoughts on today that he believed Trollhättan would be safe for 3-5 years. My point on this is that there will be a certain time frame, most likely those 3-5 years when Saab has to prove that it can develop and build cars that people will buy and make some profit. If they do, Trollhättan should be safe for many years.

Saab has great products with the 9-3, 9-5 and 9-4x and a new 9-3 just around the corner. I think it is really no big deal to sell 100.000 of them if they are aimed at the right niche in the market. But until we get there the most crucial thing is that the new owners are willing and able to cover the losses while the brand is built up and positioned properly. But since PDYM were around in that process for so long I am sure that they know what they are facing now. NDRC is still a hurdle but if we trust Lofalk it should not be that high. The next challange for them will be to agree with GM. May be tough but PDYM also knew before that they have to deal with that. They should have a plan how to pull that through.

Over the last weeks we frequently heared reports about Saab people leaving for other job opportunities due to the circumstances. Though I’d never blame anyone for doing so, this is of course sad. But on the other hand, when this deal gets through and conditions are getting more stable Saab can attract new people to come onboard. A CEO, engineers, workers… I see that as a big chance to get a lot of fresh blood and new ideas into the company. Definetely a good thing. So by looking at it from a different angle even this development got an upside.

One thought about Victor. It would be hard to blame just him for everything. Clearly, as I always said, he has made some mistakes but there are some circumstances that didn’t favour him and his plans. We shouldn’t jump on conspiracies as we most likely won’t ever hear the complete story. I’d just like to thank him for his efforts to save the company. I don’t know if this was the deal he had loved to get or if he just had to take that last exit – in the end it does not matter if Saab is safe. I hope he gets some rest to cope with the big personal losses he had to face recently and to spend a bit of time with his baby. The little one may wonder who that guy is that is now at home more often…

But whats my personal feeling about all of this now? There is some relief inside me even though there are still some papers to be signed. I had some preferences for another party to take over. Sure. But if Saab is now sailing in safe waters I am fine with it. There has to be to an end to the rollercoaster. A chance for Saab to get back to developing and building those great cars. To finally show what they can do. That’s what I wanted. And if I get that under Chinese ownership, what else is there to ask for?

Troels, Denmark
Member
4 years 10 months ago

Thanks Till72 for sharing your thoughts – in which I agree! 🙂
About the possibility that PDYM should move the SAAB-production to China, I also find it very interesting and assuring to read “our chines voice”; “Fido”´s comments here on SU, with his very clear statements in this regard.

muppen
Member
4 years 10 months ago

+1

spacy
Guest
4 years 10 months ago

.
Tills thoughts = Till’s thoughts < singular statement [for your English too]

Iiari
Member
4 years 10 months ago
But until we get there the most crucial thing is that the new owners are willing and able to cover the losses while the brand is built up and positioned properly. This was the most important thing when VM purchased Saab from GM and still is the most important thing now, as this company is probably 4-6 years away from making any money. The frankly amazing VM always said he got Saab for the price of a wind tunnel, but he and his patchwork quilt of investors never had the deep reserves to pay for the losses and R&D as… Read more »
Lonnie
Member
4 years 10 months ago

Both Geely and Tata have shown the way — being that if you’re an Asian company buying a Western car maker, you keep the cash flowing and your hands off.

If you do that, the combination works and everyone wins.

I think we’ll see Saab in Trollhatten indefinitely.

74StingSaab
Member
4 years 10 months ago

Well said Till…. Worth waiting until I come home from work to read 😉

Ben112
Member
4 years 10 months ago

Well written. Now time to change that depressing banner perhaps, including the (unrelated but easily misunderstood) black ribbon?

Niklas G
Member
4 years 10 months ago

It would certainly be nice for all of is to finally be able to go back to discussing development and sales of great new Saabs. =D

Tomas TL1000R
Member
4 years 10 months ago

Great to read Till72:s word. I agree and hopefully they are loaded with money till Saab get profitable.

It´s a long way to profit but at least Saab have a chans now (if GM are kind).

When can we expect the new 9-3, any clue???????

nichell
Guest
4 years 10 months ago

I’m looking at the Mini Cooper Clubman All 4 for 2012, with the 1.6L turbo, but this same engine may be in a 9-2x. I wish Saab would push PDYM for the 9-2x to be made next year ahead of a 9-3. Don’t see why not.

adams
Member
4 years 10 months ago

May I suggest “YPD” instead of “PDYM?”

Youngman will be the majority sharehold so should come first. And, technically, Youngman is only one word (Y) rather than two (YM).

Thanks for considering.

fido
Member
4 years 10 months ago

i think YP is enough. 庞大 in english means huge. Pang Da just transliteration.

adams
Member
4 years 10 months ago

+1

fido
Member
4 years 10 months ago
the structure of future SAAB is unique and the first time in china automotive history. 60% by manufacturer and 40% by distributor, This is definitely an innovative. They both have their strong business support behind, Youngman has successful trunk business, and Pang Da is No.1 car distributor in china. This structure will ensure that they are able to do everything to the success of Saab in the chinese market. Personally, I think this structure is even better than Geely/Volvo. i have read in chinese media, Boston Power had received a $ 150 million investment from chinese government-backed venture capital company.… Read more »
sonett71
Member
4 years 10 months ago

I am happy today and now I will go for SAAB, Sweden, China and still a little bit of GM. Many thanks to Victor Victory and Long Live Saab!

arnold
Member
4 years 10 months ago

If YP have read Saabs United web site, they will think carefully about killing the spirit of Saab by getting away from it’s roots.There is no better way for them to grasp what we love about Saabs, than to spend time on this site.

derek
Member
4 years 10 months ago
Among all the possibilities, PDYM is not the worse. The worse would have been liquidation. However, PDYM is not very good for Saab. PDYM may price their cars so that BMW and Audi can’t charge too much. That’s good. The bad thing about the People’s Republic of China is their bad reputation. Putting poison in milk or toothpaste happens too often. Poor quality parts from China is also too common. This is not a racist observation because Singapore, which is mostly Chinese, makes top quality products and doesn’t poison people. In the car industry, Thailand and Japan makes good cars.
arnold
Member
4 years 10 months ago

Well, the iPhone is made in China. Is the quality good? Is it an American or Chinese product? Apply that thought to Saab’s situation in the future.

Henrik C
Guest
4 years 10 months ago

@derek
If it’s really like what you’ve described, Chinese would have been distinct.
The question is have you been there ever? How many products you bought were made in China?
I guess if everyone is reluctant to deal with Chinese as you suggested, US would have broked, as well as EU, and there would not be SAAB anymore.
PS: SAAB has to build factories there if it wants to compete with German. I reckon the current combination is the best option.

fido
Member
4 years 10 months ago

the rear light of ng 9-5 is made in China, do you satisfied it’s quality?
china already chosen by GM and Ford as their global supplier.
actually, in most case,quality depends how much you wish to pay?
china has the ability to provid high quality components if the bidder can pay a right price.
do you know how many product made in china, packed in china, then labeled with Made in Germany or Italy or japan or French sold worldwide? more than you can imagine.

Khrisdk
Member
4 years 10 months ago

@fido

I think you are absolutely right, especially regarding those products “Made in XXXX”
I know that there are some more specific problems regarding QC and A in a lot of manufacturing in China, but most depend on price paid for the product. Naturally.

@derek

99% of products from Shanghai are delivered off factories in China

Allan B
Member
4 years 10 months ago

Fido – I just wanted to say your contribution to this forum is very valuable. It gives those of us who know comparatively little about China a lot of good insights. Please continue.

Toby K
Member
4 years 10 months ago
I had thought quality was a risk, especially if they try the Brightstar model of assembly in the Republic, then I looked at the back of my Iphone and thought wait a minute-I’m ten years out of date. If you do just a little research you will find theri production processes match and in some cases rival what we would percieve as good quality western made kit. I do agree though car making and china seem not to go together in my mind -the picture is not a good one, but this is a company that will learn from Saab… Read more »
Chris Hansel
Member
4 years 10 months ago
Bullwinkle sez to Rocky, “Watch me pull a rabbit out of my hat! Rocky sez, “Oh that trick never works.” Bullwinkle pulls himself out the hat, and remarks calmly, ” I thought I took a 7 1/2″ Ok, for you guys who didn’t grow up watching Moose and Squirrel this seems at little arcane to say the least, but is there a parallel to the Saab situation here somewhere. I think it is this. Saab was a Swedish company until what 1988? It became an American company which without question saved it for a period of time. Then for a… Read more »
Toby K
Member
4 years 10 months ago

5!!??

Tell me….

(I only have 4)

gunteman
Member
4 years 10 months ago

lol?

JasonPowell
Member
4 years 10 months ago

gunteman, somehow this was pre-posted on here and I guess Till saw that I was reading his draft and to say he saw me he said hi Jason in the post. I said hi back and thought it was funny that he saw me, when he re posted the hi Jason was gone and made my comment look very strange, so just removed my comment.

Thorfinn
Member
4 years 10 months ago

Chris, thank you for a sane and thoughtful posting.

I have floated, in another thread, the idea of SU members getting together to get some symbolic “thank you” gift for Victor M for what he has done for SAAB, and by extension, for us. The idea seems to have been well-received by many.

But it would need a site administrator or similar at SU to properly set the ball rolling. Anyone?

kochje
Member
4 years 10 months ago

Good idea but let us so wait till the MOU is transferred into a signed and definitive contract.
Your idea however is very good and shows that in SU there is people who appreciate the work VM has done.
SU up
Saab up

Thorfinn
Member
4 years 10 months ago

Kochje, yes I absolutely agree that now would be too soon…but if/when the deal is settled, it seems only right that the man central to it should be shown our appreciation and gratitude.

Griffin Up!

kochje
Member
4 years 10 months ago

+1
agree for 100%; let us do it.

Red J
Member
4 years 10 months ago

Hi, it is a good Idea, but maybe you can send us an e-mail, so we can discuss what you are thinking about before we can present it to the public.

kochje
Member
4 years 10 months ago

I will, Red J

Niklas G
Member
4 years 10 months ago

Great idea Thorfinn! He really deserve that kind of appreciation.

And as kochje writes below, it’s best timing to deliver it after everybody hads agreed on everything and the ink has dried on the contracts. But nonetheless good timing to start planning for it now. 🙂

Right now, if I was Victor Muller, I would start working on Plan Q, just to have something new in preparation if or when GM or someone else says No. But fingers crossed now for a good future for Saab with Chinese owners and R&D and factory in Trollhättan. =)

skn
Member
4 years 10 months ago

Of course we should do this. Victor lost his shirt saving our favorite brand. And won’t even have the pleasure of creating his dream cars as a reward. He’s off to the sunset figuring out what to do next. Of course we should do this.

Saab is saved. But Sweden has shown how hostile it is to entrepreneurs. Saab will never be Saab again – welcome to the corporate machine.

nichell
Guest
4 years 10 months ago

What’s the difference between a Chi Com car and a Japanese car?

CSD_ChineseSaabDriver
Member
4 years 10 months ago

I believe Saab will enjoy a very bright future in the Chinese market.

Here a photo gallery of Saab cars in China, what a beautiful car the SAAB is 🙂

2trolls
Member
4 years 10 months ago

And don’t forget that there is a small but fervent branch of the Saab family in China! There were 3 Save Saab Support Convoys in Guangzhou, Ningbo and Shanghai in 2010.

2trolls
Member
4 years 10 months ago

I was just reminded that there was one in Beijing, too!

CSD_ChineseSaabDriver
Member
4 years 10 months ago

That’s great, Guangzhou, Ningbo and Shanghai and Beijing are all very rich cities

andralang
Member
4 years 10 months ago

Don’t forget, a declaration of intent is free. A purchase of SAAB costs billions.

I will wait to celebrate until the money is in the account of Saab.

Don’t wanna be a party pooper, but with SAAB you never know…

skwdenyer
Member
4 years 10 months ago

I agree. The lack of any up-front money whatsoever, even the 3m euro to secure wages, is worrying. The history of (non)completion amongst the parties likewise. Hopefully there will be a well-resolved and believable roadmap available in time for the creditors’ meeting to lay to rest some of these concerns.

CSD_ChineseSaabDriver
Member
4 years 10 months ago

Money is not an issue for PDYM at all.

50 million euros will be transfered before 15 Nov into SAAB account according to Chinese report.

CSD_ChineseSaabDriver
Member
4 years 10 months ago

If you read this Chinese article of the boss of PAYM talking about the support of Chinese government, then we can conclude, this is alerady a done deal.

KaiC
Member
4 years 10 months ago

I think if the factory set up in big cities in China like Shanghai maybe better(Volvo has established a plant in Shanghai).And i am sure the market in China will be great for Saab.But personally i wish there will still be some Saab styles manufactured in Trollhattan. Like BMW, MB or Audi does.

JasonPowell
Member
4 years 10 months ago

Lets not get too far ahead of ourselves. I think China will be a great market for Saab and I’m sure there will be some factories in China in the future, but I think it’s safe to say that Trollhattan will always produce some Saabs. My take on events is that the deal would not be able to go forward without some assurances that the Trollhattan plant will be utilized and I don’t think VM would do a deal without those assurances. We’ll see how everything plays out and should have a clearer picture in a few weeks.

fvh
Guest
4 years 10 months ago

When will we know whether General Motors (GM) approves of the deal with the Chinese??? Is this deal totally dependent on GMs yes or no???

JasonPowell
Member
4 years 10 months ago
That is the $100 million EUR question now isn’t it? I don’t know an exact date for when we will have the answer from GM, but I do feel that this deal and the way it’s structured is totally dependent on GMs yes or no. This doesn’t worry me much because as Victor has said and proven in the past, there is always a back up plan. Will GM approve the deal or not? I don’t know, on one hand you would think that it would make sense for them to finally get out of the whole picture and yet… Read more »
Red J
Member
4 years 10 months ago

I think, Monday October 31st and Tuesday November 15th are the important dates now. It is of less importance who says when what, it is only important that everyone says yes till the 15th of November.

BTW, I’ve read somewhere that GM will wait till everyone has taken a decision to decide, so if this is true, I can’t believe that GM would say NO if everyone else says YES.

ivo 71
Member
4 years 10 months ago
Well, totally… yes, to a degree, I guess. GM hold non-voting shares and cannot block the deal as such. But they also own a lot of IP and can say no to a Chinese company, should this company wish to use it. Also, they may cause trouble -if they wanted to- by way of protracted litigation about possibly damaged shareholder rights and greatly slow down everything. But we don’t know anything for a fact. Maybe they don’t care all that much about the current GM IP in Saab as it is on its way out anyway. And maybe they will… Read more »
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