Today we were again faced with some statements from James Cain regarding GM and their stance towards the parties that are interested in Saab (from E24.se):
Our contact with Brightwell consisted only of several letters they sent with requests to start a discussion. We answered that we are not interested. It has never been any negotiations or discussions, he said.
TT: Why did you not agree to meet them?
– We stand by our policy not to sell technology licenses to a new owner for Saab.
TT: Not in any way?
TT: Typically in business, everything has a price tag.
– Not in this case, says James Cain.
TT: Can you describe why GM does not want to give Saab a chance to survive?
– They have had several chances to survive. The business has been in terrible shape for a long time. That’s why GM, when we had our own problems, decided to close down Saab. It was not GM’s fault that Saab decided to stop paying their suppliers and their employees.
To make it short: I do not believe that. As I stated before he is a spokesman and his job is to tell the press what he is told. But there are always some things that are handled in certain levels of the management that don’t give reports to the press department about what they are doing. It is as simple as that. So you can’t even blame Mr. Cain for not knowing about everything, he is dependent on the info he gets. But what I really don’t like is the tone he uses from time to time. Maybe it is because GM did not like Brightwell openly stating that they were in talks. Maybe it is because Zamier once said “of course we are not negotiating with their spokesman”. But there are still better, more professional ways of stating something than the way he did. If GM wants to keep things behind closed doors I can repect that but if you want to deny do it in a proper way.
We at SU have been in contact with Brightwell and honestly I see no reason why they should have lied about GM. They put huge effort in this and noone spends some millions into something like that just for fun. They believed in Saab and had a very interesting and serious plan how to bring Saab back to life. And obviously they got quite far with GM up to a certain point.
It was pretty clear that we had to say goodbye to one or the other party at a certain point of this process and we still have a few in there, so there is no need to panic. Still it is sad to see Brightwell leave that soon.
As I already stated yesterday my belief in this is that GM found another party who fits them better or has more to offer. And that is not only meant in terms of money. There are other benefits that GM could like even more. In China they are facing a market that is more and more driven to suit the local brands. In Europe they still got their problems with Opel. So whether they like it or not they need some partners in certain fields to protect the main interest of their shareholders: to keep going and head into the future without facing a 2009 deja vu.
I know that not all of you may follow my arguments in this and there is a lot of personal view in here. But we have learned to be pretty critical towards GM. So why should I take James Cain’s words for the only everlasting truth?
Digging into his last sentence I would even want to correct him an bit. GM decided to sell Saab due to their own problems and the wind down decision only came because they could not agree with Spyker in time. Or should I take this a a freudian slip that tells me GM’s initial general intention was to close down Saab? I think I would not go that far but it could make one think.
On the other hand as a prove for GM’s goodwill he reveals another thing:
James Cain now reveals that GM was in favor of the Russian financier Vladimir Antonov, who is suspected of financial crimes, if he would have gone in with money.
– We had an agreement that had allowed him to invest in the company, but it did not succeed.
But that is another story…