Swedish Prime Minister, Fredrik Feinfeldt, has been busy stamping home his party’s position on state ownership in the face of the Saab issue.
Fredrik Reinfeldt said his government would offer credit guarantees if General Motors could find a buyer with the “powerful resources” needed to turn Saab round, as it emerged that the US carmaker had received fresh approaches for its Swedish unit.
But the government would not intervene if GM chose to liquidate Saab after a consortium led by Koenigsegg Automotive, the Swedish maker of highperformance sports cars, pulled out of a deal to buy the company this week.
“We have been very clear that we do not put taxpayer money intended for healthcare or education into owning car companies or covering losses in car companies,” Mr Reinfeldt told the Financial Times.
“You cannot save jobs just by pushing in taxpayers’ money if you don’t have the competitiveness to survive in a tough industry with overcapacity.”
No-one is talking about or asking the Swedish government to intervene or to provide state support to prop up Saab indefinitely.
In fact, as far as I know, no-one’s asked for anything definite yet, though there’s a chance they may need a helping hand for a short time in order to transition to a new owner and preserve some jobs.
It’s very convenient to wheel out the kids and the sick people when you want to talk tough about fiscal responsibility, but don’t forget about those who need employment.
If a solid buyer comes along and they need a month’s support, repayable within a reasonable period in order to preserve and hopefully even create a few jobs for people – what’s wrong with that?
The over-capacity argument’s an interesting one.
There’s no doubt that the car factories of the world are capable of producing more cars than people are currently buying. That is over-capacity. However, where’s the rule that says Saab have to be the one to disappear in order to come closer to equilibrium?
Saab have very competitive new models just around the corner. Saab have a very efficient factory. And as importantly as those two – they have identity. They have interesting cars.
So if the world needs less cars, why not put 150 Japanese workers off in order to build 15,000 less Camrys somewhere? That’d sure make the roads more interesting and it could help save almost 4,000 Swedish jobs.
Put 5,000 Audi owners into a 9-5 and things would look a bit less clinical, don’t you think?
There’s got to be 5,000 potential Suuby buyers around who’d prefer the comfort and amenity offered by a Saab, haven’t there?
Does the world need another BMW driver at all? Another VW driver?
Saab has the definite potential to fill a very valid niche in the car industry. There’s a lot of people who view a car as just adequate transportation, but there’s also a lot of people who want that certain something.
There is a market for a genuine, different, well built and presented Swedish car.
Mr Reinfeldt, Saab going away isn’t going to do much in terms of the world’s over-supply problem. Maybe you could encourage your motoring industry to become INCREDIBLE and then the lost sales and lost jobs could be someone else’s problem.
We’re not asking you to buy Saab. Just give them an even chance to be bought by a strong owner if that chance is needed.