Up close and personal with Saab dealership problems

I wrote earlier this week about the difficult situation faced by many Saab dealers right now, on the verge of Saab’s re-birth.
Darryl Carl owns New Salem Saab and it’s been in his family for nearly 50 years. Darryl left the following in comments to that piece.

If you only knew how true this is.
The problem is far reaching and has hit the exclusive dealers very hard. There is no available assistance offered from the new owner nor SCNA. My fears have come to realization.
We all saved Saab but not all of us will be here to stand behind what we believed in saving. The disappointment is beyond words.
The issues are two and the greatest problems become compounded, let me explain.
The exclusives with no other franchise interests have been living on nothing (ie losing money monthly) for over a year, possibly two. Some dealers helped the cause by downsizing, pairing up and doing what was needed to survive and minimize losing money by reducing expense (ie services to customers and employees). Some dealers were stuck and could only do this to a lesser degree which made it worse. This makes you last two and three years results for your P&L poor to say the least and any trend you have over that period of time is decreasing. Profits and Cash the most.
So then the banks pull floor plan because Saab is going to die and the financial institutions are also in their own mess so they tighten credit requirements like a noose with no footing.
Here comes the fun part.
Say you’re me. For the last two or so years everything you have built up, two perfectly nice, overkilling state of the art, award winning Saab-only multimillion dollar buildings, a solid customer based and some profits which trend a slow but positive growth.
Then the world explodes!!
You consolidate in to one building, you then move to a central location to best serve your customers, you sell and lose big money on both buildings. Now you lease, but things are getting worse. So you pair up with someone to further expand the cash time line (ie slow the running out)and move yet again. During this time you start to drop services because you cannot afford them and drop employees who have been with you since you cannot even remember…
You go to every bank you can find, you explain until your lips fall off what you have done and are doing to maintain your company and the Saab brand. The banks know you are a Saab dealer and still think you are dead to start….after explaining we have Saved Saab, then they explain it’s still an injured brand and cite your company’s current P&L trend and accompanied negative and now sparse cash flow.
So you just want to puke… as you re-explain how this happen and try to show them a business plan which is not “will come” but again slow steady growth.
In the end, the door slams shut again. You have minimal cash flow, you have been losing money for over two years, you continue to move around, Saab is not Saved yet….
The answer is the same “Due to the condition of your company and your three year trend we cannot offer any LOC assitance and certainly not floor plan for a Saab franchise.
The best in Saving Saab will come, the worst in losing several to many long term totally committed, brain washed, stick with it until the end exclusive Saab dealers is coming too.
The truth hurts, but the truth needed to be said. This is the truth in my world.
Sad, yet completely true.
Can you imagine? Talk about insanity. It’s a wonder I haven’t had a nervous break down.

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