I got taken to task a little in comments for criticising Consumer Reports’ description of Saab’s restructuring procedure last week.
Time to go again.
Consumer Reports have covered Saab’s production problem this week on their blog, and they’ve got it wrong on a number of counts:
After seeking bankruptcy protection on Tuesday, Saab shut down its Swedish factory after customs agents seized control of it, according to an English-language Swedish news site.
According to The Local, Swedish customs authorities blocked parts deliveries to the factory from outside the European Union, over unpaid duties on the imported parts. Since Saab relies on many GM parts from the United States, the lack of these parts shut down the factory.
A spokesman for the Swedish customs service was quoted as saying the amount Saab owed was “considerable.”
Saab has since resolved the dispute by negotiating with Swedish customs authorities. The touch-and-go nature of this arrangement speaks to the challenges General Motors and its various divisions face.
That first paragraph is kinda jaw-dropping in its inaccuracy:
…..after customs agents seized control of it
Do you have images of armed, uniformed men standing at the gates, rappelling down from rooftops and overpowering line workers as they try to install a dashboard on a 9-3?
Of course, no such thing happened. And I’d question several other elements of their report as well.
If Consumer Reports had followed up on subsequent reports on this issue, they’d know that the stoppage of production was more to do with one supplier, Schenker, rather than the Swedish Customs issue.
Both the Schenker and Swedish Customs issues happened on the same day, but the entire stoppage was attributed to the Customs issue.
All of this, of course, is attributable to the changed conditions under which Saab are now trading as a result of the reconstruction process. The timing of their payment obligations changed suddenly and these issues are the teething problems symptomatic of that changed process.
What annoys me is that an influential publication like Consumer Reports can get it so wrong, effectively flinging so much mud at Saab in the public arena.
I hope they print a correction and publicise it as effectively as the original blog article.