The very public divorce that Saab have to have

Back in the early 1990’s, one of our former Prime Ministers here in Australia, was noted for saying that Australia was experiencing “a recession that we had to have”
In other words, the economy had over-boiled and a correction was necessary to bring things back into check. Of course, he was crucified by the opposition and the press for resigning the country into a difficult state, and maybe they were right, but the point is relevant here.
I got an email today from one of our regulars here, Turbin, about this very idea. I think it’s quite relevant.
Hi Swade,
I have been thinking about the very public and ‘damaging’ (for SAAB) tennis game going on between GM and the Swedish government (that the new SAAB marketing widget is ball shaped is no co-incidence). I believe this short term ‘damage’ is essential and that the government and SAAB are playing their cards right. I believe that for SAAB to have a successful future then the divorce from GM needs to be as public as possible.
There can be no doubt left in people’s minds that SAAB is disconnected from GM.
The restructuring and it’s timing has apparently even caught GM off-guard and this is important. It needs to be seen that SAAB are proactive, as they traditionally have wanted to be.
Furthermore the Swedish government’s hard-ball approach is very well justified and, I think, important to SAAB for the following reasons:
– GM is publicly ridiculed and demonised by a ‘third’ party (I used third loosely as I’m sure there are hundreds of thousands happy to agree)
– SAAB is pushed to think very hard about it’s own future, rather than just be a victim in this sorry affair.
– Having been under intense scrutiny, once SAAB has the government’s backing it will truly be seen as a well-founded vote of confidence.
– Acknowledging that GM did not want to apply for the EIB and become beholden to paying back on that loan (how the hell are they going to pay back the U.S. I wonder?!).
– Indicating that the Swedish government will provide guarantees for whoever wants to step in with a viable, pro-active ownership plan for SAAB, something that GM could never provide in it’s 20 years of abusive parenthood.
For these reasons and more I believe the current ‘disruption’ is vital. This is one case where ‘business as usual’ is not an asset for SAAB. ‘Business as usual’ has meant bad business for too long as far as SAAB is concerned. A phoenix requires ashes before the rebirth. So to does SAAB. If SAAB’s greatest strengths are ‘concepts well executed’ then these concepts are what need to come through unscathed and rather strengthened and executed very well as the Trolls know how.

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