The GM board have met today and unless they’re still meeting (apparently not), I’m somewhat amazed at the fact that there hasn’t been a result announced.
Like the bidders themselves, I remain hopeful, but it really smacks of no small amount of arrogance that these people – many of whom quite possibly wouldn’t recognise a Saab if it ran over them – could take such an extraordinary amount of time weighing up bids that they’ve already had, essentially, for a week.
I received this brief reply from Lars Carlstrom, from the Genii/Ecclestone group, in response to a question about how things are:
We are not stressed by the situation, we see several options and have no problems if this takes another week, as long as the factory is still in one piece.
We’ve also heard Victor Muller talk about “Days, not weeks”.
It’s GM who’ve appointed a liquidator to oversee Saab and whilst he might take a few days to get settled in, figure out where the toilets are, etc, it won’t be that long until he starts to do the job GM appointed him for – weilding the axe.
I imagine that whilst the factory itself is still operating, the other parts of the Saab facility in Trollhattan are probably in limbo. Design, development, marketing – these people must literally just waiting for a direction to move in.
How long can they stay like this? And what will it mean for bidders?
I’m still optimistic about a positive outcome at the moment, but it’s way less than two-minutes-to-midnight.
Another incredibly frustrating element of this whole situation is the mixed messages being sent out by GM. This is a company who might have a visual figurehead, but it seems there’s a lot of confusion about what the corporate message is right now.
Show us the money. (Whitacre)
You can have it fo a dollar. (Reilly)
Update by Friday. (Preuss)
It could take another two to four weeks. (Reilly)
Those mixed messages are bad enough.
What’s worse, from my perspective, at least, is that the automotive press in the US seems to have overlooked all of this. There’s not an analyst out there who seems willing to examine this, nor the wider issues when it comes to Saab.
There was a story just earlier this week that caused GM to react a little. It was about GM booking a trip to China for some of the remaining 9-5 tooling even before a decision is made on Saab’s future.
This story came to me directly from a reliable source. Swedish newspaper Dagens Industri has two reliable sources. Autocar had their own source.
The implications of this story are huge if you’re an American taxpayer and yet none of the US Business or Automotive media seem willing or interested. It’s your money supporting a company that is contemplating closing down a viable Swedish subsidiary, shipping some of the manufacturing to China whilst simultaneously putting around 5,000 US citizens out of a job – needlessly.
In addition, I’d have through this was a pretty emotive image and story:
That’s a large portion of the entire shopfloor workforce at Saab, demostrating against the premature appointment of a liquidator whilst negotiations are ongoing for the sale of the company.
Coverage in the US motoring press? Zero, from what I could tell.
As I’ve mentioned before, this decision will be made in the US and that’s where the spotlight needs to be.
It’s profoundly disappointing that the media there is so easily dazzled by a total sleeper of a motor show (click here for Detroit guy, Peter De Lorenzo’s review) that they can’t even register an entire workforce protesting against their employer.
Here’s hoping we get an answer soon.