Teknikens Världs interview with Victor

Sometimes you are in the right place at the right moment. And this has been the case for Erik Gustaffsson, a reporter from Teknikens Värld.

He was at the Heathrow Airport in London where he met Victor Muller. This is the short interview.

Exclusive interview: Muller does not believe in the Chinese

Victor Muller doubts that GM will ever accept a Chinese Saab business. According to him, Youngman, Pang Da and Guy Lofalk sabotaged the whole business when they went from the original plan. It says Muller in an exclusive interview with the Teknikens Värld.

On the way home from Britain hits Teknikens Värld Erik Gustafsson, an unusually outspoken Victor Muller. The gate at Heathrow Airport, the plane to Stockholm, he says frank about Saab’s situation.

– This is how it goes when you put his partner in the back, says Muller continues:

– The deal was long time and the arrangement with a Chinese shareholding of 54 per cent was approved. Then began administrator Guy Lofalk run government affairs, to persuade the Chinese to a 100-percent ownership stake and GM slammed on the brakes.

Late yesterday evening, Swedish time, had GM in Detroit, a further meeting on Saab’s future, but Victor Muller strongly doubt one acceptance.

– I understand GM fully, it is clear that they do not want to jeopardize its market in China. But right now I understand the other side is not why the Chinese continue to pump money into the company. As the situation is, it just means to put money into a black hole, without getting anything back. The relationship with GM is so damaged that they (Youngman and Pang Da) can not even go back to the original plan.

While he acknowledges that the situation is tough, he means that there is a solution. He can not tell you how it looks, but he promises to fight till the end.

– If I doze off Saab would disappear in an instant.

I’ve used tha same title as Teknikens Värld, as this is the way to go in Sweden when you quote an article in full.

SaabSouth
Member
4 years 9 months ago

That sounds very Jolly then…..

Belfast_Saab
Member
4 years 9 months ago

Victor talks a lot of sense….hopefully he has the alternative deal arranged as we’re led to believe….should we expect to hear more tonight on TV, or will this take further weeks/months?

bpsorrel
Member
4 years 9 months ago

I hope one day, someone writes a book about all this – it will make a fascinating read!

900 classic cab
Guest
4 years 9 months ago

A movie would be awesome. Made in “Trollywood” 🙂

Troels, Denmark
Member
4 years 9 months ago

or Thrillhättan… 😉

JST1981
Member
4 years 9 months ago

Die hard 9-5 🙂

bpsorrel
Member
4 years 9 months ago

You only live twice…three times…four times….. 🙂

scand
Member
4 years 9 months ago

He always blames someone else. He seems to forget that all bets were off once it went into reconstruction.

What is the point in having a business partner who is broke, in a cash-flow negative business?

That scenario doesn’t work.

900SEB
Member
4 years 9 months ago

+1
Couldn’t agree more, unfortunately.

Khrisdk
Member
4 years 9 months ago

Whats’s the point of having a business partner who is not allowed to buy?

Marque
Member
4 years 9 months ago

Guy Lofalk made it all impossible, and then you’re very busy judging VM….

As always… but really, does it help Saab? Or you are just relieved to have bashed VM yet another day?

scand
Member
4 years 9 months ago
No – just frustrated. But here’s my observation. VM has always been more accessable (or more loose lipped, depending on your point of view) than some of the other players in this saga. Especially lately, when things have got more desperate, then there has definately been an element of ‘not my fault, its someone else’ in his communications for example; “I told them 100% wouldn’t work with GM ” After he himself announces the great deal to save Saab “its not my responsibility to pay the salaries…. ” and now : “Guy Lofalk sabotaged it…” He can say whatever he… Read more »
Marque
Member
4 years 9 months ago
After he himself announces the great deal to save Saab He was forced to. You and I know it equally that it was GL’s agenda of going 100% Chinese. So blaming Victor for the announcement is really like blaming the herald here. and he may be 100 percent correct, but Guy Lofalk did not run Saab out of cash. Yea right. But the fact of GL actively jeopardizing an crashing an agreed deal is really nothing to do with any previous events, eg VM running the factory out of money (which was predicted by many of analysts anyway, that it… Read more »
Khrisdk
Member
4 years 9 months ago

Saab ran Saab out of cash.
That includes a lot of other people than VM
As owner he gets the responsibility, but has has only been CEO for a short while.

Kimberly
Member
4 years 9 months ago
Actually, it’s been a clusterf*** all around, with blood on everyone’s hands. VM, for premature press releases proclaiming “the deal” so many times that it’s impossible to believe him, Lofalk for queering the deals that have been in negotiations since spring, GM, because beancounters still run the company independent of marketing and customer relations (and adding the fact that GM’s idea of customer service is to piss off customers at every opportunity) leading to poor fit and finish decisions (and anemic power levels for pretty much everything in GM’s lineup except the Y-body), the Chinese for buying into Lofalk’s B.S.,… Read more »
Marque
Member
4 years 9 months ago

Pretty much decent recap.

StefanH STHLM
Member
4 years 9 months ago

One important point is that he has a great insight in what meassures NOT to make.

michaelb
Member
4 years 9 months ago

Unbelievable. If the Chinese should be in fact out, and another solution is to be found by VM, then good night. Without the prospect of Chinese market access, there is no solution, as Europe and the US will be dull markets for the next ten years.

Jeff
Member
4 years 9 months ago
I believe what he’s referring to is 100% ownership. He’s clearly trying to leverage the Chinese to accept the best deal that GM will accept by going public. If I were Rachel Pang or her father, I’d heed his words. This isn’t a mystery, and Guy Lofalk’s meeting in DC with GM’s PR guy is clearly not going to open up any doors. Its simultaneously frustrating and confusing that it’s taken them this long to figure out that GM was transparent in their concerns. But I guess that’s to be expected for parties who have mired themselves in secrecy to… Read more »
Keith
Member
4 years 9 months ago

GM has been totally transparent, clear – and logical. And while GM is looking out for GM (as it should), what they will ultimately accept may indeed actually be much better for Saab.

Maybe more Saab fans are starting to get this.

Jeff
Member
4 years 9 months ago

Glad someone is.

ryanonsrc
Member
4 years 9 months ago

+1

aop
Member
4 years 9 months ago

Well, that’s pretty much the story I’m telling around here for few weeks.
I’m glad Victor released this publicly, this also means things should clear up shortly.

900SEB
Member
4 years 9 months ago
The 54% Chinese ownership was not discarded by Lofalk, but for the Chineses that didn’t want VM running Saab with their money without a say on it. Then VM secured the 100% Chinese ownership with the promise that he would stay as Ceo. And it was that plan that GM discarded. It is him to blame by having the company stopped for almost a year, sinking it even more in a financial maelstrom. He decided to wait several months until he filed reconstruction. Why? Because nobody would invest in a company under reconstruction if they’re not planning to have 100%… Read more »
aop
Member
4 years 9 months ago

Well thank you for your advice , I will certainly remember it 🙂
What strikes me then it’s how come the Chinese realized that they let VM running the company on their own money 3 months after they signed the MOU and two months after they signed a binding agreement for that deal.

If you think that GL didn’t blow everything up with his trip to China and his maneovres with Geely to take 100% ownership of SAAB , then it’s your opinion and I resect it, but you can’t pretend it’s based on logic , can you?

michaelb
Member
4 years 9 months ago

Things are probably more complicated. The other agenda, and certainly part of the deal, was really to get VA in as a shareholder, and also as an additional financier. When it became clear, that EIB would never accept it, and Antonov ran into difficulties to get the cash in, then the Chinese became worried. It certainly was not just GL turning things around.

aop
Member
4 years 9 months ago

I doubt that at that point VA was still a valid option.
That would make VM look like GL, and I think they are completely oposite types.

Marque
Member
4 years 9 months ago

” Antonov ran into difficulties to get the cash in, then the Chinese became worried

This really sounds just a(nother) weird speculation to me… Too imponderable to defend GL’s inexplicable actions and the strategic failure caused.

Jeff
Member
4 years 9 months ago

VA was long gone by the time Lofalk came around.

Khrisdk
Member
4 years 9 months ago

Hmm.. that sort of advice is always welcome.
I will apply that on a couple of comments in here

I do not agree with you evaluation, but that can hardly come as a surprise.
You’re correct that the 100% idea was chinese.
The Geely thing was a sidetrack of unknown origin, but at least fired up on chinese ideas.

The damage control was letting a 100% deal be signed as MoU.
And GM discarded that, as expected and noted on the first attempt

The rest is an assumption

Thanks for your advice

rune
Member
4 years 9 months ago
“Then VM secured the 100% Chinese ownership with the promise that he would stay as Ceo.” Whut? Where did you get that little tidbit from? VM stay on as a CEO? No, what has actually been said is that he _might_ stay on in an _advisory_ role _if_ they want him to. “The 54% Chinese ownership was not discarded by Lofalk, but for the Chineses that didn’t want VM running Saab with their money without a say on it” That still leaves open the question who got the Chinese onto that track. VM points his finger at Lofalk who seems… Read more »
Marque
Member
4 years 9 months ago

Well, that’s pretty much the story I’m telling around here for few weeks. I’m glad Victor released this publicly

+1

Troels, Denmark
Member
4 years 9 months ago

It´s getting more and more strange.. – Don´t know what to believe..

skwdenyer
Member
4 years 9 months ago
What is apparent is that time is now really running out. As we know, Saab GB is in Administration. Without a government wage guarantee, the UK Administrators will not wait to prune costs. Since the shares of Saab GB are pledged as collateral to Pangda, of course, it is within Pangda’s grasp to prevent the destruction of one of Saab’s ‘jewels’, the UK sales operation. According to things I’m hearing, the Adminsitrators are not waiting. Apparently Saab Fulham (wholly-owned by Saab GB) closes today, and there have already been approximately 10 workers laid-off at Saab City (also wholly-owned by Saab… Read more »
saabaudi
Member
4 years 9 months ago

When VM started his negotiations with Chinese enterprises he should have known that GM never will accept such a deal.
But nevertheless he continued these discussions and to everyone who was interested he declared the money would come from China. Now he doesn`t believe in his former friends. He better hadn`t believe in his own eccentric dreams and thoughts. and we too.

dog green
Member
4 years 9 months ago

As I remember VM declared early that GM wouldn´t accept 100% chinese ownership. Remember that the first bid from YM and PD was clearly rejected by WM as unacceptable , and explained with the situation we see right now.

Peter, Sweden
Member
4 years 9 months ago

What makes you so certain that GM wouldn’t agree to the first three party deal? It is the 100% Chinese ownership they are afraid of, and that deal wasn’t on the map until last month.

SaabSouth
Member
4 years 9 months ago

Sorry I am at a loss now. So if VM does not think the Chinese will buy Saab then who will? And if that is the case why are people running up expenses travelling across America etc…. This is just farcical now.

saabserb
Member
4 years 9 months ago

It seems that there is a power struggle behind the scenes right now. In addition to all the troubles the company has. Which makes me sad. And worried. I kind of agree to what ANA said about the interview. If I am correct about the Swedish law, it is Mr. Lofalk that is responsible for SAAB now. VM is sidelined, which probably hurts VM much but is legal, and probably correct, after knowing in which situation SAAB was under his leadership.

Jeff
Member
4 years 9 months ago

VM is definitely not sidelined. For anyone to suggest that now shows how little they actually know of what’s going on behind the scenes. It’s not as black and white as everyone here makes it out.

Calm down people. Just calm down.

saabserb
Member
4 years 9 months ago
@Jeff: We are calm down, but the articles like this and the previous one make us rise again with our speculations and theories. You must understand us. And a bit of critic for the SU team: I don’t think that our speculations and theories can hurt the negotiations process as much as the previous article and this interview. You from SU team and VM are insiders, we are just spectators. About the VM sidelined or not, I want just to ask someone who is knowledgeable here: Who is in charge of SAAB right now , VM or GL? If, for… Read more »
Jeff
Member
4 years 9 months ago

The pressure doesn’t help. These people have huge egos. The press takes note of what is said here, especially in comments. I’d rather both of these articles hadn’t been posted today, or that comments had been turned off. Instead I have to play comments police while I’m at work. Fun times.

To answer your question, if all the parties are in agreement with a viable plan, Guy Lofalk has the fiduciary responsibility to accept it. It’s dramatic, but not that dramatic.

dog green
Member
4 years 9 months ago

Can´t you turn off the comments? I guess time will tell if there is a new deal in the close future!

Jeff
Member
4 years 9 months ago

I’m pissed either of these posts even showed up today. Let the comments roll at this point.

Keith
Member
4 years 9 months ago

If you’re concerned about SU’s credibility, I’d be more pissed about the headline about SU France (with an exclamation point), and the pointless story about the Volt.

Today’s stories… are out there. While they may have dampened Saab spirits, they do seem to help Saab fans better understand where Saab’s real problems are (ie – not in Detroit).

Jeff
Member
4 years 9 months ago

Don’t even get me started about those 🙂 Let’s just all take a break from SU until either a press release goes out or I come back with some news, k?

kochje
Member
4 years 9 months ago

+1

Marque
Member
4 years 9 months ago

VM is sidelined, which probably hurts VM much but is legal, and probably correct

I wouldn’t be that sure that it is a conduct by the book and is therefore fully legal or not. According to the best of my knowledge, the owners rights to their property do stay, but becomes formal which means owners are to consult administrator and have his consent.

aop
Member
4 years 9 months ago

Hmmm, can you explain why then GL needed the help of Swedish Ambasador to introduce him to GM ? He was supposedly restlestly negotiated with GM for the last month. Doesn’t it look for you like his last desperate attempt to have GM even talk to him ?

TonymacUK
Member
4 years 9 months ago

I also wondered about that – still am.

bpsorrel
Member
4 years 9 months ago

Personally, I was always rooting for CJ. His attitude, his love of Saab, his way of doing business appealed to me a lot. I guess we shall just have to wait and see….

michaelb
Member
4 years 9 months ago
Jeff has asked us not to intervene, and not to blame anyone. Fine, give them time to finalize their deal. But what we may communicate them, is requirements. – Time is running out fastly. Thus, a solution has to come asap, this week early next week at the latest.. – Obviously, agreement in advance from all relevant stakeholders is needed – This is about money. Small solutions providing liquidity for a few more months are not sufficient, there needs to be an ownership structure, that gives back confidence into the battered brand. Thus, 1bn + is needed quite soon, all… Read more »
Belfast_Saab
Member
4 years 9 months ago

+1

Jeff
Member
4 years 9 months ago
I’ll agree with you on some of those points being urgent but not all. I don’t doubt that China will be an important market in the future, and that Saab will eventually need access to it. But the time and resources needed to build up the image of Saab there and get the groundwork built up to succeed there will take longer than anyone has suggested. My own set of requirements are simple, get the company back to a more stable footing, out of reconstruction and pay off creditors. At that point, focus on how to fulfill the rest of… Read more »
GerritN
Member
4 years 9 months ago
Just having some fun trying to read between your lines. So, no current Saabs with GM IP exported to China, nor current Saabs with GM IP being build in China. As soon as the Phoenix platform can be fully produced and freed of all GM IP it can also be build in China. Pang-Da and possibly Youngman will become minority partners with an option to be the producer/distributor of Phoenix platform cars in China in the near future. Since Pang-Da and possibly Youngman will not invest as much as expected that still leaves a financial gap to be filled by… Read more »
Greg Abbott
Member
4 years 9 months ago

That’s a plausible scenario. +1

Peter Gilbert
Member
4 years 9 months ago

Let us hypothesize for a moment and Saab finds a happy owner to GM’s satisfaction and then they sell SAABs in China anyway. Then GM is whistling Dixie because even if a SAAB is GM parts-free then a SAAB sale is a GM loss.

Where does SAAB find new investors? Just yesterday Israel invested in a joint partnership with the other key Chinese brand, Cherry. Who is left with money, especially with Europe in a real crisis over the Euro? To say this is very complicated is an understatement.

hilmar
Member
4 years 9 months ago

Well, it will be difficult to undo all these crossed fingers, legs, …. And don´t drive your Saab with crossed eyes ! 😉 Still hoping for the best …

TonymacUK
Member
4 years 9 months ago
I did wonder about the optimism of Tim and Jeff`s remarks in view of SAAB GB going into administration – after all, why would they apply for that if a deal was so close? VM`s comments seem to suggest surrender, especially when he is scheduled to appear Friday night in a TV talk show described as having “a nice and amusing tone”. At first I thought he was appearing in what seems to be a relaxed and friendly show because by then the Deal would be done, but I think my sums were wrong – 2+2=4, I got 5!
saabyurk
Member
4 years 9 months ago

“If I doze off Saab would disappear in an instant.” — Please stay awake just awhile longer!

Marque
Member
4 years 9 months ago

Heck, +9-3!

bpsorrel
Member
4 years 9 months ago

Just a wild idea – has anyone thought that maybe CJ is back on the scene?

Turbine
Member
4 years 9 months ago

Sorry VM – you should appear on “Jackanory” on bbc tv. From one stance to the other – surley you saw the 100% chinese bid for what it is …totally futile and unacceptable to GM – so why follow that plan for weeks?/ .. or just another deliberate time-buy as you try yet another Plan ….. I for one have no patience left for “off the cuff” business plans and after the fact commentary…keep showmanship for the TV

aop
Member
4 years 9 months ago

Turbine,
this question has been addressed several times in comments higher on the page.
In all honesty, do you believe he had other chance left ? (think of the timeframe when the 100% deal was stroke).
As soon as GM reacted to the plan, he said – it’s time to go back to the drawing board.
Did GL and YMPD understand it that way?
I really don’t see the point in blaming him for the situation where GL & YMPD stucked into.

bpsorrel
Member
4 years 9 months ago
I’m not sure we should be so hard on VM. He really has tried and tried to get a solution to a financing problem that is extremely complex. After all, how many companies large enough to afford Saab are waiting to invest? I wouldn’t, even as a Saab owner and fan. To me it would be good money after bad. That VM has been able to drag Saab along this far is a miracle to me. And to cap it all, he’s watching his friend and one time partner VA going down the drain and fairly sure to end up… Read more »
Carlo A
Member
4 years 9 months ago

MY point of view is very simple ….. the first deal at 54% was negotiated and agreed upon!

Then GL and SwedGov fucxed it up trying to get rid of VM and VA via the 100% agreement ….. stop!

Who is to blame?

aop
Member
4 years 9 months ago

well put !

Khrisdk
Member
4 years 9 months ago

They were closing it waiting for NDRC, when the Chinese stance changed.
At least GL reported that he was in a meeting at NDRC, shortly after the Geely visit in Sthml, where YMPD made the 100% bid.
That’s as neutral as I can put it.

RS
Member
4 years 9 months ago

Yes, YMPD strangely got the idea of bidding for 100% of Saab after GL/Swe Govt had tried to hand the company over to Geely for 50 million euro…

hogge
Member
4 years 9 months ago

I REALLY hope that the Koenigsegg group are remobilising.

MrTinkertrain
Member
4 years 9 months ago

Nor do me.
Franky, who believed in these 2 companies? Broken pormises, no cash.
I started to search the used cars’ website for a Merc C or an Ovlov. At least, Ovlov is growing and I feel they are better in sales and products than ever.

talladegan
Member
4 years 9 months ago

There is no relevance if you are searching for a USED car…just get a used Saab , which you’ll find easily.

dezzer
Member
4 years 9 months ago

i have completly lost what’s going on at this moment in time……..

M.A.
Member
4 years 9 months ago

I’ll take Jeff’s advice, be patience.
“All human wisdom is summed up in two words: wait and hope”. Alexandre Dumas.

talladegan
Member
4 years 9 months ago
talladegan
Member
4 years 9 months ago

Has everyone seen this?

http://www.just-auto.com/news/rush-meeting-of-saab-debt-committee-today-as-unions-press-for-wages_id117563.aspx

And has anyone heard anything that came out of the meeting? (although it is probably still in progress I would imagine)

Sue Esponte
Member
4 years 9 months ago

Shocker.

dezzer
Member
4 years 9 months ago
NEWS JUST IN…… iv’e bought it for £56.03 + vat. I will be running SAAB from my garden shed in the midlands. I shall use my conservatory as a showroom and the bathroom will be the parts dept. My 83 year old granny will be sales exec and mother will be finance director (good at that as she bought us all up on nought). The sales pitch is a bit of problem so will be using the local pub car park down the road in the short period. VM will be valeting but on a short week (4 hours) as… Read more »
Keith
Member
4 years 9 months ago

Take over the payroll & liabilities, and your number may not be far off. That VAT is a killer though.

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