Notes From Saab’s Reconstruction Application

While we wait for the court’s decision on Saab’s application for reconstruction, feel free to read it yourself. If you prefer the English translation, I’ve cleaned it up so you can read it after the break. You’ll all be very familiar with sections 1 and 2, but section 3 gives away the most concrete details of what Saab plans to do if allowed to move forward with this plan:

  1. If Pang Da and Youngman’s 245 million Euro investment is held up for whatever reason (which Victor Muller was very eager to explain he doesn’t expect during the press conference, going so far as to say applications have been prepared), “The Company is currently negotiating even short-term funding and has met a comprehensive interest in this. If the Company does not have the necessary time, management needs to consider putting the company into bankruptcy. When and if the necessary funding to start and maintain production is secured, the Company will continue to focus on its strategy to become a profitable and independent manufacturer of niche luxury vehicles, while implementation of all elements of the business plan which is still current and revising business plans, among other things, to include the potential of cooperation with the Youngman and Pang Da will mean.”
  2. “…the all-new 9-3 is expected to be launched in 2013.”
  3. “As part of its long-term strategy, the Company will apply a business model which retains both technology and design capability in-house to develop 1-2 new models in each 4-6-year cycle. Company also intends to cooperate with other parties on development of certain key components and technology and to develop further models.”
  4. “…the Company will streamline its organization by minimizing any overlap and duplication of functions, simplify work processes and the dismantling of non-necessary functions that remain from the days when General Motors organization. This will reduce costs, make the company more flexible and enable the Company to improve the organization’s potential, where it is needed.”
  5. SWAN will undertake “a streamlining and reduction of working capital and a review of business strategy in the U.S., which does not function satisfactorily and where both revenues and earnings are adversely affected by the currently unfavorable exchange rate.” (Tim Colbeck explained nothing was changing at SCNA now in his interview with Automotive News, but this statement implies changes are definitely ahead.

Read more

US Notes on Reconstruction

We’re all pretty familiar with what’s going on in Sweden tomorrow regarding the court’s decision on reconstruction. While surely they’re under pressure, SCNA made the following statement to us and all other US media sources by email yesterday:

Today, Swedish Automobile NV (SWAN) and Saab Automobile AB in Sweden have announced an application for protective action to secure the Saab entity and enter into an official voluntary reorganization of the business. This filing does not include Saab Cars North America and our operations continue as normal.  Our intention at Saab Cars North America is to continue to support our customers with premium customer service well into the future.  Our focus at SAAB has never changed and will continue to be, producing world-class vehicles that reflect the SAAB brand that inspire our owners.

Indeed, in the press conference Victor Muller states that it makes no sense to drag SCNA or Saab Cars UK into this reconstruction, as they operate semi-independently. Also, Automotive News spoke with Tim Colbeck today about what reconstruction means for North America.

Read about it after the break.

Read more

EnG – still alive and kicking

Ladies and Gents: I’ve missed all of you at SaabsUnited (SaabU?) and I’ve particularly missed my C900 ‘vert which is still not running and stuck in my garage. I’ll have a resolution soon, and you’ll be the first to know, natch.
As Swade is aware, my work load and life load have been tremendous. I’m amazed at how unrelenting it’s really been — genuinely. It gives me a HUGE newly found appreciation for Steven Wade, Saab host extraordinare. How he does it is beyond belief, really.
My reason for this quick post: I’ve got a very unusual vehicle for my travels this week, and, taking a page from Andy’s book, I thought that I’d give you all a chance to guess what I’m driving.
Clues:
1. It is a gas-electric hybrid.
2. It was manufactured by a division that was a part of General Motors at the time of manufacture.
3. It has some of the best seats that I’ve ever encountered on any car. I still like the seats in the 9-5 a bit better, but these are darn good.
That’s it. Those are all of the clues that I’ll give. I’ll check back, probably on Friday or Saturday, to reveal the answer. Until then — Happy Saabing!

2010 Saab 9-5 pops up in Bamberg, Germany

Here’s a couple of new images of the 2010 Saab 9-5, spotted recently by a member of the Slovernian Saab Club whilst he was in Bamburg, Germany. They’ve been posted on a Slovenian Saab Portal.
There’s nothing new in these, but it’s interesting that these were taken amongst what appears to be metropolitan traffic. Most of the spyshots we’ve seen so far have been out amongst much less traffic.
Thanks to Peter G for sending them in.
DSCN1028.JPG
DSCN1029.JPG

Saab claiming financial health ahead of possible Koenigsegg announcement

It’s nice to hear something from Trollhattan for a change. I know most of Sweden shuts down for about three weeks in July but the silence from there in the last few weeks, amidst the situation the company is in, has been of some concern for a Saab blogger, though no news is good news, I guess.
Saab’s Gunilla Gustavs has spoken briefly with reporters in Sweden and her comments have been reported both at DI.se and at TTELA.
She states that the reconstruction phase that Saab has gone through and the associated write-down in debts owed to creditors has left Saab in a very good financial position.
The Googletrans with a few edits from yours truly.

The balance sheet is restored in Saab Automobile AB. [This] emerged at a general meeting held last Friday.
“Actually, we are a healthy company now,” says Gunilla Gustavs [from] Saab Information to TT.
Saab, owned by General Motors, is still in a reconstruction phase where the deadline expires on August 20. During reconstruction, the company’s liabilities to creditors written down by 75 percent in a so-called accord.
The aim of reconstruction is that Saab, which is characterized by massive losses, will [stand on its own two feet] again as an independent company.
“The process to sell the company continues, but we have no problem with the capital anymore,” says Gunilla Gustavs to TT.

It’s my understanding that the reconstruction phase end-date of August 20 is one that Saab can apply to extend, if required. Saab began reconstruction in February and each stage is three months in length. Saab are currently in their second three month block, which ends August 20.
Obviously, Saab would like to have an announcement made by then about the sale to Koenigsegg and the timetables mentioned to me in the past have all pointed towards mid-July for a deal and the end of July for an announcement.
We’ll have to wait and see if that timetable holds. Since showing those CGI photos several weeks ago, my sources at Saab have all gone completely and totally cold so I have absolutely no news to offer, other than what I heard earlier in proceedings.

SOC09 features Saab auction – items online now!

The Saab Owners Convention 2009, being held at Copper Mountain in Colorado, will feature an auction of Saab cars, accessories and memorabilia.
A large number of the items are at online auction site, Proxibid, already and you can view them now and even place bids. The final auction will take place live during the SOC, on August 14th.
Looking over this list has left me carrying a just a little bit of regret that I purchased my MX-5, as there’s a couple of very desireable vintage Saabs there that I wouldn’t mind getting my hands on.
The cars for sale include a Sonett II, a Sonett III, a nice looking red SPG and an 850 Monte Carlo.
SonettIIauction.JPG
There are some videos of the cars for sale – two minutes each in length, that you can view via Youtube. Start here for the V4 Sonett II and you should be able to link up to the rest OK (can you tell I really like that V4????)
——
There’s some other bits and pieces for sale, too, including a Halda Speedpilot IV, some Talladega wheels and bits for older Saabs like V4 heads and a 95/96 dash pad.
Speedpilot.jpg
——
If you’re interesting in buying me a V4 Sonnett II bidding for any of these items prior to the live auction in 4 weeks time, then Proxibid is the place you want to be.

Binding offers for Opel due today

It’s been a long time coming, for all this GM Europe divestiture business. For both Saab and Opel. Who knows if we’ll hear a final announcement with regards to Saab this week, but if the timetable in the news services is correct, we should definitely hear an outcome with regards to Opel.

LONDON -(Dow Jones)- Canadian auto parts supplier Magna International Inc. ( MGA) and Ripplewood, which is behind Belgian investment group RHJ International SA (RHJI.BT), will submit bids for General Motors Corp.’s (GMGMQ) Opel and Vauxhall car brands Monday, the U.K. Business Secretary said.
“We will know today, I believe, that two bidders, Magna International and a Belgium-based company Ripplewood are putting forward bids to share the ownership of General Motors in Europe with the parent company in North America,” Peter Mandelson said on BBC radio.
He said GM would be considering those bids over the following 48 hours and was likely to indicate its preference Wednesday.

I’m not sure why this article from CNN Money doesn’t mention Beijing Automotive, but they’re said to still be in the running, too.
The smart money is on Magna, who enjoy a favourable opinion from both the unions and the German government, both of whom are key to getting this deal done. RHJ are seen as a bidder more likely to try and sell back to GM in a few years, a position which is not viewed positively by the German government:

Germany’s economics minister has ruled out any attempt by General Motors to include an option to buy back majority control of GM Europe, which produces Opel and Vauxhall vehicles, as part of a deal to give up more than 50 per cent of its German subsidiary in exchange for state aid.
“This is incompatible with our views and cannot happen,” Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg told German Sunday newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung in an interview.
Reuters Newsagency says the comments could suggest that Belgian financial investor RHJ International may have problems with its bid if the company is viewed as only a short-term player.