A news update from Saab Sweden

It’s the end of another week and I’ve received a quick update from Sweden as to where things are at. They like to watch the news evolve in the press during the week and then set things as straight as they can.
I don’t know where Autoblog got the number from as they don’t cite a source, but in a post today about Saab (a rarity) they’re claiming that there’s 20 investors currently talking with Saab.
Saab themselves continue to say that there’s “more than 10” and that they’re both automotive and non-automotive in background and that there’s parties from Sweden and beyond involved.
April 6th Creditors meeting
There will be a creditors meeting at 10am on the 6th April which will be administered by the court of Vänersborg. This meeting will act as a „check-point‟ for the court to confirm that reorganization plans are moving forward as expected. Guy Lofalk, who is Saab‟s court-appointed reorganization lawyer, will be reporting on the process and Saab Automobile‟s Managing Director, Jan Åke Jonsson will be presenting the Saab Automobile business plan.
There will also be a chance for registered creditors to ask questions. As a result of this meeting the court will decide whether Saab is on track to continue to the three-month point in the reorganization process. This decision will be made by three Judges and the court‟s ruling may be communicated on the same day or it could be announced a number of days after the meeting.
The wake from SS Obama
The good ship SS Obama sailed through GM’s turnaround plan during the week and tore it to shreds. Saab remain unfazed.

Quite simply, in terms of how Saab operates, the current GM situation has not affected our progress. We are still focused on reorganizing effectively, carving out the business and securing investment.
Jan-Ake Jonsson: “Good progress is being made with the reorganization, we are confident in our business plan and the intensity of investor activity is encouraging.”

Political news
Saab noted the visit to Washington by Swedish Industry Minister, Maud Olofsson, but had nothing conclusive to pass on about that meeting, with a promise to keep people up to date as concrete news is available.
My thoughts: Size matters
Saab noted comments that their relatively small size could prove to be an attractive point for investors and work to their advantage given the current circumstances facing GM. Industry Ministry secretary Joran Hagglund made comments to this effect and Maud Olofsson went to Washington only to find out that Saab was right off the White House’s radar.
New Cars
Previous news from Saab has consistently mentioned the three new cars they’d be releasing in the next 18 months.
My most recent communication with them mentions “four cars in the next two years”. I’ve asked for some clarification.
The original three cars were the 9-3x, 9-4x and 9-5. I would assume that the addition to this list might be a 9-5 wagon but will keep you posted if I hear anything else.
March Sales
Saab have not gone into this reorganisation period with their heads buried in the sand. They knew that sales in 2009 would take a massive hit, which they have.
But they appear to be bouyed by sales in some markets, which are actually better than expected. I imagine Canada might be one of those and preliminary news indicates that the UK might be encouraging this month as well.
The % figures are still down, but in terms of internal targets during reorganisation, many countries are actually very much alive.
The new 9-5
The new Saab 9-5 was driven on public roads around Trollhattan during the week and by senior executives at Saab, too. Needless to say, they were all very pleased with the car.
Saab are proceeding well in their reorganisation effort and they look forward to the creditors meeting Monday.
Negotiations continue with the Swedish government and discussions with a number of interested investors are also progressing.
The aim continues to be centralising design, engineering and production in Sweden with four new model planned for release in the next two years.

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