I’m posting this once again in the light of the interview Bard Eker’s just done on Swedish TV. You can read about that here and the comments to it from those who watched the program will hopefully make my thoughts here, from a few days ago, make a bit more sense.
I know there’s some people that will disagree – and I know there’s 80-odd dealers in the US who will disagree (read on) – but in my humble blogger’s opinion, the best outcome for Saab right now would be for someone to get Koenigsegg on the phone and get them back as Saab’s potential owners.
Koenigsegg Group left the deal due to timing issues that caused an unacceptable amount of financial risk. Translation: they didn’t have any certainty about when the deal could be finalised, despite everything they did to get the job done.
With a new found sense of urgency from the Swedish government, I feel pretty sure that this can be overcome.
The head of the Swedish National Debt Office, Bo Lundgren, appeared at a press conference in the last few days where he expressed his surprise that Koenigsegg Group broke off the deal. He said that there was little risk attached to the plan, most likely because of the incredibly stringent security that Saab had offer in order to get the loan guarantees.
Surprisingly, though, he also said that he found it difficult to see why the process dragging on would be critical to the company’s plans to leave the deal. This is pretty strange. These are business man and time is money. If the process is dragging on and there’s uncertainty about the outcome then of course those involved are going to consider leaving.
I find it hard to believe that either the government of the National Debt Office had no idea that the end of November was a target date for Koenigsegg Group, either. If you recall, all of those notices given out to US dealers who would no longer be able to sell Saabs stated that their association with Saab would finish on…… November 30.
So whilst they might have all been surprised that Koenigsegg Group actually went ahead and did it, I find it hard to believe that the government offices involved were not aware that this was a time when something could happen.
I can’t pull the links right now, but I do recall some early scepticism with regards to Keonigsegg Group. Perhaps this is why things dragged on, particularly in the early stages of the deal.
11 O’Clock Tick Tock
Fast-forward to now, and the clock is ticking for Saab. GM want a buyer that is feasible and one that is able to get the deal done quickly. Joran Hagglund has stated that if a buyer wants to access the EIB loan and the state guarantees that come with it, then they will have to be robust and they will have to follow the business plan developed under the Koenigsegg Group’s watch.
Who better to do that than KG themselves?
I believe that the people in the Koenigsegg Group are extremely disappointed at the way the deal unfolded. I believe it was a hard-nosed business decision that caused them profound disappointment, but it was one they had to make. Go back and read the stories about Christian von Koenigsegg and Bard Eker’s return to the Saab factory last week, after the announcement was made. How many times do you see things like that happen? These two guys cared about the company and I think they won the respect of the company as well.
Those who didn’t take them seriously before quite possibly realise now that these people are determined to do things right.
I believe they had some plans for serious technology development and the new four-wheel-drive system NyTeknik reported on earlier today would just be the tip of the iceberg.
Getting the Koenigsegg Group back at the table would require some delicate but determined conversations. Maybe a few people would have to swallow some pride. It would also require that the government give them the same commitment they just showed in going to Detroit to speak in an effort to see Saab survive.
Koenigsegg left because of uncertainty. If the players involved can provide a bit more commitment, maybe that hurdle can be overcome. Joran Hagglund has come out and said now that the government can process a loan application before the end of this year if it based on the Koenigsegg plan. If only he and his counterparts could give such quick service last month.
The clock is ticking. If the company is broken up it won’t come back. Those jobs and that knowledge will be dispersed and a Swedish icon will be relegated to history.
It’s got to be worth a phone call.
About the dealer cuts. I understand that they might feel compelled to cut dealer numbers in the US, but some of those cuts just didn’t make sense and I hope they’d be re-assessed. Good dealers with good service are always worth retaining.