I don’t know about you, but the last 24 hours have been like few other 24 hour periods in my recent memory. Sure, it’s supposed to be just a car company. But it isn’t just a car company, is it?
I’ll start at the end….
It seems Ed Whitacre and the GM Board have wasted no time at all following the departure of Fritz Henderson as GM’s CEO. Just a few hours after GM stayed Saab’s execution and took Henderson’s resignation, I received the statement that now appears here at Saabs United, a statement telling us that Merbanco had not been invited to proceed any further in negotiations for the purchase of Saab.
In many ways, Merbanco became ‘our’ candidate for taking over Saab. That’s primarily becuase their CEO, Christopher Johnston, chose to engage with the Saab community and I’m humbled by the fact that he chose to do that here at SU. I know many of you were enthusiastic about the prospects of them taking over Saab, too.
We will never know the full reasons why GM and Deutsche Bank have chosen one bid over another, but from everything I heard both from and about Merbanco, they were true believers in the Saab company and the management. They believed in the business plan and put a huge emphasis on customer service, which were very encouraging signs.
I want to take a moment to personally thank CJ for his engagement with us, and for helping us keep the lights on at a time when things were looking pretty dark. You helped to galvanise support for Saab and show the media and GM that there’s life in this little Swedish company yet.
It’s profoundly disappointing that the relationship can’t continue, but like CJ, we now have to move on and continue to hope for the best for Saab’s future.
To the rest of the bidders
Whilst Merbanco figured heavily the last week here at SU, this is an open place.
If any of you other potential bidders want to get in touch with your constituency, then you’ve got an open invitation right here. We’ll be happy to hear from any or all of you.
The engagement with Merbaco and the subsequent coverage that that engagement received in the mainstream media showed that there is a workable alternative to traditional news.
The decision from GM
I think a few of us felt a very real fear that we’d all be lamenting the imminent closure of Saab today. The decision GM made was to use December to evaluate the offers they’ve received for Saab. Given that they’ve eliminated one (and maybe more) of those offers within hours tells me that they’ll be looking to make a decision very soon and use the rest of this month to negotiate the terms with a preferred bidder.
However it happens, the bottom line is that Saab still have a chance.
Credit where credit’s due
GM must have received some decent bids to postpone Saab’s unwinding. But there can be no doubt that the presence of Jan-Ake Jonsson and Joran Hagglund (and team) must have been influential factors as well.
Jan-Ake Jonsson has been an inspiration to everyone with a passion for Saab through this ordeal and I’m sure he played a large part once again in this positive outcome. How long would Saab have lasted without him at the helm?
I haven’t been impressed with what I perceive to be slow conduct on the part of the various government agencies tied in with the Saab deal. To their credit, though, Joran Hagglund and his team attended and obviously played their part in a day that saw Saab get another chance. So as a Saab enthusiast I thank him for doing his job well and hope that the sense of urgency this situation has created doesn’t rub off for some time.
I’m not sure who mentioned it in comments (PT?), but this is a last-chance situation and it’s not something that the government can pledge to fix at the next election. The time is now. This company and these jobs won’t come back.
News services identified four bidders for Saab: Merbanco, Renco, BAIC and more recently, Spyker. We now know that at least one of these submissions has not been chosen for further negotiation.
I’m curious, if not yet encouraged by Spyker. I guess it’s a lack of knowledge thing.
I still have a hard time seeing GM selling a whole automotive company to BAIC and to be honest, we don’t really know if they’ve actually put in a bid or if their interest is limited to the bits they’re already negotiating with Saab.
And Renco will pose challenges that I’d prefer not to have to entertain. I’m sure they’ve got the money, though, to build a strong company from the bones they’d get with Saab.
Can someone at the newly motivated Industry Ministry please get Christian von Koenigsegg on the phone……??
And last, but not least….
Many of you have been kind enough to say thanks in comments for the work put in to this site. It’s really very kind of you and it really is appreciated. I love to write and I love the company.
But last night it was all of you in comments that kept the party humming and when the news finally broke, I couldn’t keep up with all the influx of information. In some ways my role seems to have changed from gathering info to sorting out what needs to get on the front page!
So allow me to turn the wind and say a big thankyou to everyone who’s pitched in and kept their fellow Saabnut informed.
Sometimes I just pay the bills.