The work of the receivers at Saab – one of the issues where the opinions differ quite a bit. Some think it was a desaster, others feel they did a pretty good job. While a final judgement on them may, if ever, only be possible when their final report is published I feel the truth is somewhere in between. Still, there are stories that make you wonder. One of those stories came to light through the latest auction in Sweden.
Back in 2011, at the independence celebrations in Trollhättan, the production of the independence edition convertible was announced. Only a bit later the German Saab dealer Auto Stephan ordered one of those for a customer. BioPower, black roof, Satnav, truly a beautiful Saab.
BUt as we all know things went not as planned and production, stopped, started, then stopped again. That particular convertible was sitting on the production line with some major parts still missing. Quite some time later, in November or December 2011 the dealer got a call from Sweden. He was told that the car could be completed if a beige roof was acceptable for the customer. They agreed as the future of Saab was already pretty unclear back then.
Even greater was the joy when the papers for that car, issued on the 6th of December 2011, arrived at the dealer. Dealer and customer were happy as the limited edition became even rarer through the idled production. A few days later the dispatcher at Saab confirms that the car was loaded on a truck destined for Germany.
But, as things were back then, the truck remains in Sweden because of unpaid bills. This does not change until the 19th of December, when Victor files for bankrupcy at Vänersborg court. We see the press conference, the final market call and SWAN is history.
Meanwhile the convertible still sits on the truck, the papers are at Saab Stephan and Santa comes to town…
Then the receivers enter the scene. They take over Saab and order the truck to be unloaded. Our convertible is back in the delivery area at Saab. And there it will stay.
So far this is all ok, as according to law the filing for bankrupcy voids all contracts. But still, there is a car and a customer who wants it. And a dealer that still wants to get that car to Germany. The team of Saab Germany, by then already Saab Parts Germany, would like to help but can’t. It’s all in the power of the receivers. And they are obviously not interested, don’t answer to any attempt of Saab Stephan to contact them.
So the convertible stood on the lot at the factory. Winter, spring, summer, fall…
And then, all of the sudden exactly that car showed up in the recent auction by KVD, being one of two independence edition covertibles there. Again our brave dealer tried to get hold of the car through different channels. Without success.
To say it again, it’s all correct from a legal point of view. But…
…the way the lawyers acted here, in simply not replying to inquiries does not fit in their own claim to handle the situation in the best possible way. The price for that car in the recent auction is still lower than what Saab Stephan had paid for the car a year ago. We can surely imagine how frustrating it was for the dealer and his customer to be that close to a collectors’ car and then loose the fight in that way.
That story raises the question why the receivers acted that way. This will not be the only car that was ready for delivery and then went back into Saab’s lot despite there were customers waiting for it. Many time it was heared that the receivers needed money to finance the process. Trying to sell those cars to the people that had originally ordered them would for sure have been a clever way.
But even more it makes me wonder if this is the only issue where the receivers lacked cleverness. Time will tell.
Thanks to Tom of saabblog.net for sharing the story.