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Another Press-conference, but this time its interesting!

February 21, 2012 in News

Today the bankruptcy administrators held another of their weekly press-conferences and talked mostly about the pressing salary situation for so many of the employees. They did confirm that they needed another week to sort things out.

One very interesting confirmation from the administrators was also that they highest bidder might not win the deal. The deal will go to the company that can present the best combination which will benefit the creditors, employees and the region the most. In other words the deal will go to a company that re-starts production again and has the money, know-how and credibility to run it for a long long time…

6-7 serious bidders have been confirmed and among them is a European car-manufacturer according to several sources to different media. What was interesting this time is that these companies want to build Saabs. We have gotten very strong indications from several independent sources that this european company is German and located in Munich. This company has the intention as Till mentioned in an earlier article, to build Saabs and their own cars on the same platform.  You can probably figure out the rest for yourselves ;)

227 responses to Another Press-conference, but this time its interesting!

  1. Wouldn’t this kind of announcement be on the “internets” already? Yet, only SaabsUnited seems to have picked up on this story.

  2. F.Y.I

    ===

    TT 2012-02-21 SVT Västnytt

    Saab’s sales process a step forward
    There are upwards of 14 stakeholders at Saab Automobile’s bankruptcy told the administrators at Tuesday’s press conference.

    For them to 6-7 on a global view of one form or another and the rest are interested in different parts.
    Those who are interested in the big picture has this weekend been invited to look at documents over the Saab companies who have gathered in a virtual data room.
    In short, those who are still interested in submitting new or revised bid. (TT)

  3. Well, if BMW buys Saab, there is hope in the US because BMW has a great dealer network here. If GM won’t let Saab make any more cars, it wouldn’t really be such a big deal to BMW because they already have a network. All other buyers would need GM to keep a Saab dealer network viable. Of course if BMW could work something out with GM and continue to produce GM Saabs for awhile, that would certainly help the Saab network here.

    As for warranties of present Saabs, that would be interesting. I think BMW would have to help with the present Saabs or face the possibility of loss of loyalty.

  4. On the plus side. The company may continue to build cars.

    On the minus side will the new owner be able to build cars that people want?

    Saab will continue to have a major dilemma. The traditional Saab owner enjoys having a car that it not owned by everyone. So if Saab become popular, they will lose their traditional owners and enthusiasts. GM tried to sell more cars. It didn’t work.

    I am not optimistic for the future of the Saab car as we know it. I am optimistic that there will be employment for the people of Trollhättan, but they may not be making cars they love.

    In the future there will be four “Saab Clubs”:

    Those who think that Saab made the UrSaab, 92, 93, 95, 96, 99, 90, 900, Sonett, and then died.

    Those who go as far as including the 9000 as a “real Saab”.

    People who think that Saab also made the GM900, 9-3 & 9-5.

    Those who think that Saab still exists as the same company it used to be and is making cars in 2013.

    Which club are you in?

    • The 2nd from the top ofcourse… ;-)

    • The ideal would be to build more cars than in the past so the business can be profitable, but not the kind of cars that too many people want. There are already enough of those in the marketplace.

      You’re lack of optimism may be justified, however as most large companies of the type said to be interested in acquiring SAAB will probably want to maximize sales.

    • People are in the club that contains the most recent car they purchased. I have a somewhat cynical view that people who claim they would buy a new Saab if it were Saabier really have other reasons why they won’t or can’t buy one.

    • If you live in Sweden this is a non issue since SAAB is a common brand here.
      We still love SAAB even if there are many of them,

      As long as SAAB can survive and produce nice and safe cars I don’t mind if more people can share the experience. More cars sold means more money and more resources to do what you want. I don’t see volumes as a problem, if SAAB can sell volumes then the input from the owner will be less than if SAAB does not sell.

    • Not to sound cruel, but if SAAB had build cars that people wanted, they would’nt be in bancrupcy now. SAAB as we have known it is over. If we are lucky a new company will rise, a company that will be able to build the cars with the twist that we love, but also will fit the masses.

      • It wasn’t up to Saab what they could build. I’m sure THN would have wanted to make both 9-5′s a hatch and launch the NG SC in 2010.
        Not to mention the car was delayed by GM for years and -again- no CC variant of the NG 9-3 ever saw daylight.

    • Aerobic … On the one hand, there is value to Saabophiles like us to drive a unique automobile.

      On the other hand, our limited numbers meant that Saab could not be profitable selling at limited quantities and reasonable prices.

      The trick will be for the new owner to fold Saab into the lower cost advantage of scale, while retaining Saab’s distinctive designs and innovations.

    • When you buy your first Saab, whatever it is, you’re part of the club. Even 9-2X and 9-7X owners… :-)

      What I will say is that if Saab comes back from the grave, the ONLY way it will survive is if people buy NEW cars. There is a huge passion for the older ones, but saying you love Saab and NOT buying a new one is why Saab suffered (and one of the reasons Saab Parts is so profitable!!!). Granted, the 9-3 is long in the tooth, and the OG 9-5 was severely long in the tooth at the end of its cycle, and this was a major factor in my decision NOT to upgrade my ’03 9-5 Aero wagon. That being said, I bought a ’00 Viggen (my entry point into Saab ownership) and an ’06 9-3 vert, all new IF Saab comes back and brings cars that are new and innovative, I’ll be the first one in the dealership! I was hoping to have the first ’12 9-5 Sport-Combi in LA…time will tell! :-)

      • That is Saab’s eternal problem. Making cars that mainly appeal to people who are sensible and who only buy their cars secondhand.

      • By the way—I took my Saab in for service yesterday and had to leave it. The dealer gave me a ride in their shuttle—a 9-7. What a nice vehicle! I think it had around 58K on it and sounded tight as a drum, smooth and quiet. I know it’s a clone and all—-but I’m familiar with the Chevy Trailblazer and I’m here to tell you, the 9-7 was no Blazer. These are probably a great bargain on the used car market.

  5. I also like the idea of keeping Saab European. That was one good thing Mueller did for Saab. Tried to restore some European roots.

  6. As a public traded company should BMW not tell the market that they are bidding on Saab?

  7. As always, the comments section at SU is simply astounding in its depth and analysis. I learn as much from the comments (or more) than I do from the post itself.

    One issue has always been attempting to convince the reluctant consumer that Saab is not dead, that it’s OK to go and buy a Saab and not worry about whether Saab will be around to honor the warranty or sell spare parts. This was a real problem even prior to the bankruptcy, and one issue in the Spyker era was the lack of funds for marketing to address this problem. Post-bankruptcy, this problem is a nearly fatal.

    The current prospective buyers will have some difficulty in overcoming the settled, negative opinion about Saab’s prospects in the public’s mind. Youngman, for example, has virtually no public presence at all – very few of us had ever heard of them prior to their attempts at purchasing Saab. The same is true of Brightwell. And although Mahindra is an enormous industrial company, it also has very low name-recognition among western car-buyers. If any of these three were to buy Saab, there would still be a need to spend quite a lot of money on marketing – simply to counteract the “Saab is dead” belief in the car-buying public’s mind.

    BMW, on the other hand, is an entirely different story. The simple headline “BMW buys Saab” would be more effective in counteracting the negative press about Saab than multiple million dollar ad campaigns in Europe and the U.S. by any of the three known bidders.

    Thus, measured in goodwill or by positive impact on the Saab brand, a BMW bid for Saab is conservatively worth tens of millions of euros more than any other known bid, and perhaps hundreds of millions more.

    In addition, BMW is the best option if GM refuses to license the new 9-5 or 9-4x. It would be crystal clear to everyone — consumers, suppliers, and the automotive press — that a BMW purchase of Saab is a long-term commitment. BMW ownership permits all the relevant stakeholders to make long-term plans to accommodate the dry period as Saab transitions away from GM technology. Neither Youngman nor Brightwell can give long-term financial confidence to either consumers or the supplier base. Mahindra offers financial security but how it would choose to operate a European car manufacturer is unknown and somewhat uncertain.

    A BMW bid without a GM license is preferable to any other bid with a GM license — because the goodwill impact of BMW ownership on the Saab brand is that high.

    IMHO

    • “BMW buys Saab” sums it up Greg. I fully agree. The fat lady leaves the stage and drives off into the sunset

      (in a 9-series BMW ;-))

    • Great post, Greg. Acquisition by BMW provides immediate credibility on many levels. The challenge for BMW will be how to build the new SAAB brand to limit positioning overlap with the BMW brand and maximize the extent to which the new SAAB delivers incremental volume … limited cannibalization … to the combined companies. That will be a function of price points and features / benefits, and will take deft product development and brand positioning that leaves BMW and SAAB two separate and distinct brands.

    • Greg, I share your poinf of view, except Mahindra&Mahindra. They are huge Indian, industrial company, looking for possibility to get some cash from european table, but their prouct has no chance in Europe, so they may try to make a move like other huge Indian company – Tata. I think Jag & LR don’t lament – they are now well financed brands and getting better, than they were in “western” corporations, the same Volvo – rising in Chineese hands, from the sad “Ford time”. So let’s take close look to M&M – that we know, then wait to show of the unknow European carmaker. Brightwell and Youngman – they are riddle. Only think we know – they have some cash in pockets. There were some negative opinions about YM, but Im leaving it for now, it’s not the topic. Reasumming – if it’s from Munich, the hidden player, what will he offer? Once again, waiting is the only thing we can do, cheers :)

  8. Lets pray saab people !!!!!! GRIFFIN UP !!!!!

  9. I would say let’s wait and see. Nothing official has been announced – it may just be a rumour with no foundation. But, I hope like hell it is true!! :)

  10. It feels a little pathetic, this begging for my least favorite company to buy by favorite. I would never buy a bmw, and many here probably feel the same, yet we’re all practically begging for BMW to purchase Saab. I understand the reasons why and, in the end, they’d probably be my preferred buyer but only because they have the best chance of long term success. Still, it feels a bit like moving your savings account to Potter’s bank.

    • Ain’t too proud to beg ;-)

      Seriously, I am just pleased that a manufacturer of their stature is interested, that’s all. In many ways they are also my least favourite. I would only ever drive an X6 at night and with a paper bag over my head, and even then only if my life depended on it. And I would only be seen driving an M3 if I were threatened at gunpoint, which in a funny way is a more likely scenario than not considering the sort of people who are into M3s.

      Even better would be a well-financed Swedish group, but we don’t know who that is.

      Guilty confession time: the purr of a straight-six BMW engine and the langorous, stately growl of a 750 V12 are rather nice things to treat the ears to. I speak as a passenger and an under-the-bonnet onlooker at enthusiast gatherings. Maybe if I actually drive one I will turn fully to the Dark Side…

      BMW have a northern European and aviation heritage that feels like a better fit for Saab than some of the others in the frame, alongside the other reasons folk have given for BMW being a good bet.

    • +1. Exactly my thoughts as well since day one way back there when this BMW ‘begging’ was born. But if this should be the only chance to restart and further develop future SAABs…….. hm, well, I want SAAB to live.

    • So you would never consider buying a BMW and there are many others like you. There are millions of Saabs still on the road and quite possibly the majority of those owners wouldn’t want to buy BMWs either.
      What are current Saab owners choice of transportation once you remove Saab and BMW from the equation. Volkswagen, Audi, Citroen, Subaru, Alfa Romeo, Mercedes possibly, or something else. Either way there’s millions of potential customers BMW could gain that they will never have a chance of getting if they don’t give those potential customers a Saab option in the future.
      Then there’s the brand association for many mainstream car owners who’d like to own a BMW but can’t, who’d quite happily buy a BMW re-badge. This is akin to why many people buy Skoda because of VAG engineering.

      • Maybe it can be put in a simpler way: if, being BMW, you want to make some money out of people who would never buy a BMW then you have to offer them something that absolutely isn’t a BMW.

        They are doing it with the Mini and the Rolls Royce now. These brands are bought by people who would presumably never be in the market for a BMW for all sorts of reasons which I won’t go into right now but which everyone probably can work out for him-/herself, they being pretty obvious.

        Saab fits that row of brand names like a hand fits a glove. It has never been very close to any BMW in terms of technology and target group appeal (and actually even used to use that fact in their past marketing) and so, just like Mini and RR, definitely would appeal to drivers who would probably never -or hardly ever- consider a BMW (or a Mini or a RR). So any Saab sales would certainly boost the sales of the BMW group without stealing any sales from either BMW or Mini or RR because most Saab-liking people just won’t buy a BMW, a Mini or a Roller.

        Saab could and would, however, steal sales from brands and models that cater to people driving cars that are similar in terms of appeal and pricing to Saabs. Audis, various VAG models, Honda/Acura, Alfa Romeo (well, what used to be Alfa Romeo :-( ), Volvo and quite a few others are amongst those, exactly the brands BMW would like to attract buyers from but can’t with their current BMW product line-up.

        So, buying Saab and adding the brand to the group stable would really be a very smart move on BMW’s part. If you can’t sell them Beemers because they just hate them because they don’t want to be associated with the kind of people who drive them (I’m exaggerating, of course) then sell them something that they don’t have to hate. It’s money in the pocket either way and it doesn’t matter whether it’s the right-hand or left-hand pocket it goes into.

        Ivo

    • Chris: One way to put a positive spin on it could be to argue that BMW could be interested in Saab because Saab’s are in many way different from BMWs, so IF BMW actually are interested, then in the best of worlds, their plans might be to sell BMWs to the kind of people who like BMWs and to develop, produce and sell Saab-Saabs to those of us who prefers Saabs over anything else with four wheels.

      But rumours are rumours and I do not believe anything before it’s official, all contracts signed, the ink has dried and it is absolutely sure beyond any doubt that neither GM or anyone else can suddenly show up and kill the deal.

  11. I think it makes a lot of sense for BMW to buy Saab. They already have made mini as big as it can go without losing its “mininess” so they need something to slip between mini and BMW price-wise. This was originally what they hoped for ‘Rover’ before it went all pear-shaped (and isn’t it ironic that they used to own Land Rover too).

    However, they could also do what they did with Land Rover, use it to get into a specific business (FWD perhaps) and then sell it off a few years later once they have got all the knowledge they needed.

    • that is what i am afraid of. the thought that this could be a technology raid of whatever saab has left has definitely crossed my mind.

    • Personally, I’m praying to god that BMW will stay RWD. It’s premium brand, so they shouldn’t need to go all cheapskate on their customers. While BMW and Saab are quite different, I just don’t see a point for BMW to buy Saab. Both companies are premium, both companies want to be sporty, safe and reliable.

      My personal thought is that perhaps Fiat might be interrested. Saab could be Fiats premium brand. Saab could be the reliable, sporty car that’s a bit more expensive than Fiat or Lancia.

      As I’ve previously stated, I’m hoping that whoever buys Saab will be cooperating with Koenigsegg. Saab could buid a cheap Mini-Koenigsegg, which then could be sold with a cheaper interior and smaller engine as the Saab Sonett.

      • I see no point what so ever that Saab would cooperate with Koenigsegg. No good will come of that. Koenigsegg has nothing to contribute with in a small sports car made for mass production.
        Koenigsegg don’t build cars that last (or should last) for 300 000 km atleast.

  12. Greg I read this site everyday but I don’t reply much but in this case WELL SAID

  13. The new board of SAAB would only need to read SU to have a broad view of strategy and opinion – just as Greg said. Like many people have said I would not drive a BMW – so much needlessly aggressive driving on motorways is by BMW drivers….and I don’t want to be associated with that. Still, yes BMW would provide the ultimate marketing machine to re-launch SAAB and as Greg said “BMW buys Saab” is a headline worth millions and a real ‘game changer’. So maybe BMW and SAAB do not overlap because it’s a different demographic. Wasn’t the 900 renamed to 9-3 in order to target BMW 3 series drivers? I don’t think it really worked!

  14. BMW ownership would be enough to get Saab back in the game again. Not much else will. If that’s what it takes, then send in BMW. Looking forward a few years, I don’t see BMW placing Saab in the same arena as their own cars. Maybe they would want to push Saabs as their efficient (“green”, electric-hybrid, all electric etc.), comfortable, practical (hatch, crossovers, etc.) and not overtly sporty offering. I think it would work. BMWs shout sports machine. Many Saab drivers find that vulgar. Saabs aren’t as sporty as a BMW, but they excel at many things a BMW doesn’t do well.

    In short, when it’s so nasty outside that only a fool would take a BMW out, take the Saab instead. When you need some room to take your tuba collection out for a cleaning, take the Saab instead. When your mother-in-law needs a ride back to the airport (thank god) take the Saab so she won’t complain about every little ripple in the pavement and every pothole in the freeway.

  15. I think BMW would bring a ton of credibility and strong know-how to the table. I currently own a diesel BMW 335d as well as my 3 Saabs I currently have (C900 vert, 9000 Aero and 9-5 Aero wgn), and to be honest, the 335d is probably the best car I’ve ever owned. That being said, it doesn’t sway me from my love of Saab (over 12 years of Saab ownership). Call me a crazy dreamer, but bring the new 9-3 as a 2 liter turbo gas and 2 liter turbo diesel 5 door hatch to the US with 50mpg…gas is about to be in the mid $4s a gallon…people will want high efficiency engines. Look at the 320d Efficient Dynamics…Saab has always been about uniqueness, safety, performance AND efficiency. This would be a great way to start. Now, how do I get brought into that BMW focus group?? LOL

  16. Buying Saab would give BMW an excuse to move even farther upscale towards RR. There is just too big a gap between RR and BMW. They could just price BMW out of everyone’s budget except for Saudi Sheiks. The Saudi Sheiks need to have more choice.

    • Humor aside, there’s something to that. All the German car manufacturers are continuing to go upscale, and BMW needs a volume brand to slot in underneath. And MINI doesn’t scale up.

      BMW is looking at trying to stretch from the 1-series all the way to competing with Mercedes, Maserati, et al., at the top of the Euro super luxury car range. That is a lot of ground for one brand to successfully manage.

  17. Maybe they just want to factory to produce more BMWs?

  18. Having lived in Germany just after BMW bought Glas, I thought you might be interested inseeing what happened to a small car maker in that situation:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glas
    I recall seeing the latter day models and they were quite striking in appearance. SAAB is certainly not the same as Glas but has the Phoenix platform thar BMW could use, hightech production facilities and hopefully an experienced work force.

  19. here in Blightly…$11 per gallon !!!!

    • I know, I feel your pain…I’m an ex-Pat, and filling up my dad’s 9-3 Aero 1.9TTiD a few months ago cleared out my wallet instantly. :-( At least it got over 600 miles to a tank!

  20. Munich? I thought they were in Bavaria!

  21. But… It says they might not give it to the highest monetary bidder, which I’m assuming BMW would be. The Receivers could still be thinking M&M, BH, or YM. Or one of the other 2 people (the name of which I am unsure). I do believe BMW could most quickly restore Saabs image, mostly just because a serious drivers car company such as them purchasing Saab would be viewed as returning Saab to a serious brand, not just something trying to scale by on previous merit. Oh and don’t get me wrong, I think even GM era Saabs were great, it’s mostly public opinion that has made them falter.

  22. BMW would be a dream owner. They are loaded. However, I do feel that BMW are more interested in Saab tech like the eXWD system rather than the whole company. Id LOVE to be proven wrong though. :)

    • Yeah but BMW has the money and if they are going to buy the tech, they might as well get a factory and a dealer network and a well known brand name for next to nothing. A package deal is much smarter than piecemeal components.

  23. I won’t complain if BMW saves Saab, absolutely not. I like BMW and believe that Saab could learn a lot from them. And if the alternative is death, I’ll salute them. But….nah….I just just don’t like the idea. A really bad fit. Incompatible souls.

  24. MAN is also based in Munich.

  25. Hate to say this (and please don’t flame me): I think Cadillac and SAAB make more sense than BMW and SAAB. BMW need not dilute its brand image while Caddy needs more outlets to try out its “uniqueness” in new product designs. If it works in SAAB, then it can bring it to Caddy. (Sort of like SONY and AIWA of the 80s, if you’re old enough to remember that.)

    • Old enough to remember the 80s. But I for one have always believe that SAAB association with a US brand diluted its appeal. That SAAB were/are lesser than Caddy be is an assertion I don’t accept. It is only recently that GM has create Caddy’s or distinction. Since we are reminiscing the 80s, you would have had to pay a yuppie to drive a Caddy. Back then SAABs were considered luxury. It just seems that no one in Trollhatten or later GM got the message.

  26. A Chinese owner would bring a bigger market for SAAB. They know what mass production is and now they do not copy, they make better at a better price. Do you remember the Japanese automotive industry 40 years ago…

  27. It BMW take SAAB and do for it what it did win the Mini, this might the best thing ever for SAAB. And given the Mini example, I would think that is exactly what the leadership of BMW wants to do. If BMW brought SAAB under its umbrella and build updated version of the C900, with the sportiness and luxury that is associated with BMW products, they likely will have a product, like the Mini, that stand on its own, not competing with other BMWs. This would be brilliant.

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