The reports are getting more detailed into the proposed Fiat/Opel deal. Unfortunately, for we Saab people, they’re also getting more confusing.
Let’s start from the beginning….
Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne said late last year that he thought only 6 car companies would survive this economic downturn. Big scale will be the key, he thinks, despite what’s just happened to GM and what’s happening now to Toyota.
In following his own beliefs, Marchionne is going out and acquiring everything he can. He’s already sewn up a cashless deal with Chrysler, which will give him access to minivans and North America. Now he’s looking to add GM Europe, in something he calls a “marraige made in heaven”.
So what about Saab?
Logic would tell you that Saab are so far along the reconstruction path that they should just continue with that and become their own company with a new owner.
Some news services see it like that, and some don’t. Here’s Reuters:
The merged company would also include Saab, GM’s small Swedish brand which it is selling separately, the paper said.
And here’s AFP:
GM Europe also includes the British company Vauxhall and the Swedish carmaker Saab. Saab may not be included in the deal, however. The company is being reorganized under Swedish law and is likely to be separated from the rest of GM’s European operations.
GM Europe spokesman Frank Klaas said the company has several possible investors, which he wouldn’t identify, but said, “we are in very good negotiations with them.”
Marchionne’s plan really has me trembling a bit.
I have absolutely no doubt that packed in amongst a bunch of car companies like the group he proposes, Saab would become the forgotten brand once again in no time flat.
I fear for my other little favourite, too – Alfa Romeo – but that’s for another time and blog.
If Saab are scooped into this process, it really would be a tragedy for our favourite little Swede.
Saab-focused engineering? Forget it?
Boutique advertising? Forget it?
Innovation? Not outside the bounds of the corporate entity, please!
This would just be GM with a different accent, most likely a German one as Saab would no doubt fall under the supervision of the brand it shares the platforms with.
The last time someone had a crack at world domination, Sweden did everything possible to stay neutral. We, the Saab nuts, would prefer if history repeated itself, please.
Go out and conquer all you like, but leave Saab out of it.
When your new global entity collapses under its own weight in a few years from now, I’d prefer it if Saab was well clear.