Another Interview With Victor

This interview was recently conducted by AutoWeek.nl immediately after the creditor’s meeting on Monday. Thanks so much to reader davidjoost from the Netherlands for taking the time to transcribe and translate it. I found one particular quote from Victor especially telling.

“If people regard it that [I didn’t keep promises] is actually irrelevant, because no one knows, really nobody knows, what really happened. One day I will tell what happened, then everyone can get a more balanced image.”

Read the translation after the break.


Voice-over, Luc Vranken:
“Saab CEO Victor Muller about the latest developments.”
“Last Sunday we flew to Trollhättan to make a report in this Saab-city, which has been worrying for months about the future (of Saab). Ronald Tameling went to the creditors meeting in Vanersborg. And guess who he ran into, was it Victor Muller?”
Roland Tameling:
“For sure Luc! I’m standing here in front of the court in Vanersborg, Sweden, leaning against Victor Muller’s Saab. Behind us, the judge has just ruled that the reorganization of Saab may proceed. Good news for the employees in Trollhättan and I just spoke to Victor Muller, about his opinion.”
Interview in Vanersborg:
AW: “Mr Muller, we’re now here in Sweden and the judge has just ruled. Could you briefly explain what has been decided?”
VM: “Today, the court has decided that the reorganization – the voluntary reorganization – may proceed” (RT: What does this mean?) “This means that all the creditors have been presented a plan, which we made to show that they can count on full payment and a solid future for Saab. This plan has been widely embraced and accepted. The court has therefore decided that the reorganization can continue.”
AW: “So now you’re going to cooperate with Pangda and Youngman, they are taking over Saab. What’s the plan for the coming weeks?”
VM: “Well, we will need to get some important approvals. Before, the NDRC (the Chinese government) was the biggest hurdle, but now that 100% of the shares will be owned by Pangda and Youngman I’m not expecting any difficulties there.”
AW: “What will be the biggest hurdles to get the necessary approvals?”
VM: “I think General Motors.”
AW: “And what are your feelings now, after today’s decision of the court?
VM: “I’m happy that the court followed the creditors recommendations and that our presentation was positively perceived. This means that we stand a good chance to get through the reorganization with a very strong and well-funded company in a few months. And that is what we’ve started two years ago, the goal to save Saab and to make it a healthy business that can claim it’s position in the top of the automotive market.”
AW: “The people in Trollhättan, they’re having a pretty critical opinion about you in the last weeks. Like: he promised a lot, but he didn’t keep his promises. Now this must have changed. What do you think will happen?”
VM: “Well… I’m afraid you’re generalizing… If people regard it that way is actually irrelevant, because no one knows, really nobody knows, what really happened. One day I will tell what happened, then everyone can get a more balanced image. What is certain, is that with this transaction the future of the employees looks good for the long-term, although we announced this morning that we’ll have to lay-off 500 people because we are dealing with a new reality.”
AW: “In a few sentences, how do you see the future of Saab now, after today?”
VM: “We still have a few weeks to overcome with uncertainty about the future, because it is unclear which approvals will come when. When these approvals have been covered and the agreements are properly finalized, I think that Saab has a very, very bright future ahead.”

djfk
Member
4 years 10 months ago
This quote is just a small hint to what actually happened ‘behind the scenes’. We can only guess and speculate about what VM is referring to, but it must have been hell. In my opninion it is a great accomplishment of VM to come this far with saving Saab and trying to secure it’s future. It’s not a done deal yet, but VM was (and might still be) the spider in a big web of conflicting interests that went far beyond building some nice Swedish cars. There were so many share- and stakeholders involved, which made it very complicated. Different… Read more »
Niklas G
Member
4 years 10 months ago
There we have it again that VM (who should be the biggest expert in this subject) already then expected GM to be the biggest hurdles for this deal. But anyway, what I really do not get is why it would be so much harder for GM to accept Saab getting a Chinese owner than it was for Ford accepting Volvo to get a Chinese owner. Why did everything go so much smoother for Volvo? And exactly what impact on the Chinese car market is GM afraid that Saab will make? What is so special about Saab that isn’t already brought… Read more »
Greg Abbott
Member
4 years 10 months ago
This is the way GM operates and negotiates. It is a conglomeration of assorted elements under one corporate banner, and they all fight each other based on their view of what helps them or hurts them. It helps GM corporate in Detroit to do this deal, because it keeps liabilities associated with a Saab liquidation off the books. It hurts GM China and GM Europe by preserving and advancing a competitor. Ultimately the internal power struggle determines which way the final decision goes. If the Chinese really want the Saab deal to go through, I would expect that GM China… Read more »
moose
Member
4 years 10 months ago

I truly hope that Victor “one day tells what happened

I’m however quite skeptical that whether we will ever see this day, quite simply for the reason that if Victor starts telling his side of the story, others will start telling their sides of the story as well. In other words it would be a public sh*tstorm, and Victor probably does not want any more splatters on his suit.

Marque
Member
4 years 10 months ago

despite the almost paranoid extent of scepticism you seem to denote, my guess is he’s genuine enough to share his information when time is right. Once having some truthful information to tell, one should not really panic about the reactions.

moose
Member
4 years 10 months ago
Love your portrayal of me: “paranoid extent of scepticism”. I think I should put this to my Facebook profile! By the way, you should hear me when I’m watching my favorite football clubs’s game. The same skeptic attitude applies then too – thou I just like to call it realism. 😉 Anyways, getting back to the subject… Of course there is no one absolute truth – only interpretations of the truth. Victor might for example reveal that “employer X was spending 1m€/month on a project Z”. This might be true, and look VM look good. However after this revelation the… Read more »
Khrisdk
Member
4 years 10 months ago
Hmmm If realism was the ruling principle of this world..Which it at the moment unfortunately is starting to be, Nothing would happen in evolution. Total entrophy. Said the guy whos FB profile says: Job position. Chief Handling Anything Officer Quotes: You’re telling me I ain’t Kind, but I’m just not your kind (Megadeth) Nothing is True and Everything is Permitted (Hassan-i Sabbah) Enough or too much (William Blake) Enough research tends to support one’s theory (someone important at some time) Everything louder than everything else (Deep Purple on Made in japan) He who binds himself a joy, does the winged… Read more »
Khrisdk
Member
4 years 10 months ago

BTW:

Sh*t happens. 😀

Marque
Member
4 years 10 months ago

Of course there is no one absolute truth

Well, I’ve been to work today. Or Victor Muller saved Saab, if you like. These are examples of an absolute truth. Still it might be there’s no absolute truth for you though… but it would be a great mistake to generalize it as an elemental truth!

Marque
Member
4 years 10 months ago

The same skeptic attitude applies then too – thou I just like to call it realism

In my country we call it like “to have a supporter like that, you don’t need any enemies”

While it is indeed advisable to maintain your discernment, but really, enthusiasm is not about being enthusiastically sceptical about whom you pay your love… IMHO.

Kimberly
Member
4 years 10 months ago

“If people regard it that [I didn’t keep promises] is actually irrelevant, because no one knows, really nobody knows, what really happened. One day I will tell what happened, then everyone can get a more balanced image.”

Oh sure, a balanced image always comes from hearing one side of the story. 😉

Marque
Member
4 years 10 months ago

He still didn’t say anything, now you’re suggesting anything he would say will be unbalanced. What a condemned logic.

But through that you also suggest you know about what he’s going to reveal, and you’re so quick to discredit him. What are you afraid of so much, you make me curious.

Toby K
Member
4 years 10 months ago

Those close to him speculate that he lost a personal fortune in the region of 70M EuroI think if it all happened again VM would not “rescue” or even pass on Saab to another buyer, to me this makes him all the more remarkable.

Saab has shown VM to be naive but when it came to it no one battled harder for Saab’s survival. I hope they get over the next hurdles of approval.

Lee
Member
4 years 10 months ago

Lost €70 M ?
I thought SWAN bought Saab for $74M and sold it for $140M.

JasonPowell
Member
4 years 10 months ago

Lee, Victor also invested more personally in the last year as well. It was covered I believe a week or so ago that he stands to lose a substantial sum of money from this deal.

moose
Member
4 years 10 months ago

Please keep in mind that VM is a business man, not a martyr.

His mission was not to spend 70m€ to save Saab. His mission was to invest to a company (which he might have liked) because he thought it was a good business opportunity.

Unfortunately it did not work out, but there is a risk in every business venture (and everyone knew that Saab was an extremely high risk venture to begin with).

Thylmuc
Member
4 years 10 months ago

Right, but I must say that he handled his ruin with grace and great responsibility for the people at Saab.

Marque
Member
4 years 10 months ago

+1

wpDiscuz