When I first wrote about the New York Times’ article on the current situation in Trollhattan, I described it as ‘a good article’. And in many ways, it is.
At that time, whowever, I didn’t anticipate the wave it would create in the electronic media and the devastating effect it may have on Saab’s perception with future customers in some markets.
I still think it’s an interesting read and it still think it’s a good perspective piece on the effects of the current situation on the people in Trollhattan. What I didn’t anticipate – given that this article did not contain anything that a person who’s up to date on the situation could call news – is that the rest of the news media would be so lazy as to take the article as an obituary for Saab.
In checking out my RSS feed this morning I came across a number of articles all relying on the NYT piece and all claiming that the Swedish government has cut Saab off completely.
The New York Times today reports on the Swedish Government’s refusal to bailout iconic automaker Saab.
Swedish Government Against Helping Saab
And as I logged into my email this morning, I saw an email from SU regular, Saabdog, telling me that an NBC news report on TV stated that
the Swedish government will not support Saab and that Saab are “going out of business”
Saabdog lives in Memphis and I’d hate to be the nearby Saab dealer after that report gets circulated.
Given all this hoopla this morning, I had to go back and read the NYT report again.
It was a good report on the effects in Trollhattan but as I took off my knowledgeable-Saab-person’s hat and read it with fresh eyes, I began to get angry about the lack of balance in the report.
Yes, I know myself that there was no news in the report, but how would someone unfamiliar with the situation see things?
- There was no mention of the fact that Saab are in constant talks with the Swedish government about the situation and have been making inroads, albeit in small steps.
- There was no mention of the fact that the government won’t support an EIB loan application because of General Motors but is 99% likely to support an EIB loan when another investor comes on board. And there are other investors out there.
- There was no mention of the fact that Saab have 2 all-new models and one expansion model in the pipeline for the next 18 months. New models, a supportive owner and some renewed advertising and marketing savvy will do wonders for Saab.
- There was no mention of the line taken in Dagens Industri this morning, stating that Saab was quite likely more profitable than what GM have previously stated (more on that shortly).
The main line taken by every news service that has referenced this report is that the Swedish government do not support Saab. That’s it. Finito.
It’s simplistic, and I believe that when this is all over, when an investor is finally identified and loans are backed, received and utilised, we’ll see that that simplistic statement is also wrong.
I’d like call on General Motors to come out in defence of Saab as part of ther obligations to the company and it’s efforts to reconstruct and separate from the mothership. GM have their blogs and factual websites. They have the names and numbers off all these writers and editors. It’s time to use them.
GM owes Saab at least this much (much more, actually). And to correct the misperceptions that this article is creating in the media and the marketplace is only in GM’s interests anyway.
They can rattle their sabres for other interests. For once, I hope they rattle them for Saab’s interests.