Aftonbladets Robert Collin on Governmental responsibility

From today

Who takes responsibility when the government forces Saab out of business?
April 26, 2011, at 11:41 Written by Robert Collin

Why is Sweden so hostile to its car industry?
In no other country in the world a government is actively working so hard to close down its car production. In no other country are people up like a man and chanting “Close the s*it down!”.
Only in Sweden.

I am ready to cry at the total lack of expertise, analysis and wise, long-term decisions.
Where are we going? What’s next? Closing our mines (environmental authorities are working hard on that line)?, close the primary industry? Stop the small-scale fisheries in the Baltic Sea?
But what do we live from then?
Minister of enterprise Maud Olofsson (C) has seriously suggested that Saab in Trollhättan could start building wind turbines! A political speech without factual basis, but which may be an amazing punch when it is the Minister (= government) who says it.
Sweden is a competitive industrial country that stands up well in comparison with giants like Germany and France, both in terms of productivity and costs.
In Germany and France governments do all they can to save its auto industry, they go in with billion in state  aid well before crisis strikes. And no one boasts about the “risking the taxpayers ‘money”, all agree that it is precisely with such efforts, in the long run SAVING taxpayers’ money “.
Volvo sold out to the Chinese entrepreneur Li Shofu. But the tragicomedy of the deal is that the Chinese government went in with the Chinese tax payers’ money to fund half of the purchase. So important did the Communist Party of China believe the deal was.
How long can we allow the government to impoverish Sweden as an  industrial country?
Who takes responsibility for the government wich right now is trying to force Saab out of business?

Thank you to Robert Collin for allowing access to his article.


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Google Trans.
“Saab factory personnel must komen’DINSDAG APRIL 26 2011, 15:09 pm | 512 reads
STOCKHOLM (Reuters) –

More than 3400 employees of car manufacturer Saab, owned by the Dutch Spyker Cars shall Wednesday to come Trollhattan plant in Sweden. They were here ‘important information ‘ gain.

Saab employees that have confirmed Tuesday. None of the official spokesmen of Saab yet to say something about the tenor of the meeting. This would begin at 07.00 hours.



Per Reuters, apparently the latest EIB deal is awaiting approval from GM:

At this point, I hope the Chinese simply take over the company. Spyker was great in saving SAAB, but now we need some real stability. Volvo has blossomed under Chinese leadership.

And we all thought it would be the other way around…

Red J

Sorry but I disagree. I can’t see Volvo doing anything special since Geely took over.


I 100% agree.

Volvo is doing better financially, and is simply financially secure. they are being innovative again (believe it or not) and just being…Volvo. Versus Saab, which has to worry about money issues because our pride is in the way of letting a chinese company own us??

Love VM, love VA, love Saab, but many will agree that Volvo got the better end of the bargain to me…


Also, sorry to say, but Jan Åke Jonsson obviously saw this coming from a mile (or kilometer) away.

Bravada from GMI

Yup, his silence (and while far from attention-seeking, he has been pretty outspoken) proves there was an intense desire on his part to get out of the deal. Same for the last-minute exit of the CFO candidate.

I do believe some kind of extreme restructuring is in the cards, but if anything, I believe it’s for the better. With all due respect, it can hardly get any worse.


I agree.


OK, that was unexpected coming from Collin. But I’m not complaining. I agree with him 100%!


I honestly just want BAIC to come take saab over. Enough is enough already. We need financial stability. Antonov has great intentions, and so does VM, but I would feel more comfortable if they acted as management and NOT financiers or angels. Call up BAIC, tell them you want to further your agreements, get their money to pay off the EIB, and tell the swedish government and the EIB to take a hike. Then unite Spyker and Saab again under the same unbrella with VA running Saab and VM running both companies. Honestly, BAIC is simply our friend now, and… Read more »

Bravada from GMI

Well, I guess I am not praying for BAIC, but I am all for more management and less “financing”. There was more financial engineering involved than you would need to write a PhD in finance so far, and it seems that very little new was done on the actual operations side of the business. I do believe Saab needs totally the opposite.

Osama Dajani

Well, I’m not quite sure, I think that the population of Sweden is almost 10 million. There Sweden nation has had come up with many innovation, that have had a great influence on people throughout the world: IKEA, SCANIA, and others. But, the Swedish Auto industry has not been quite successful. SAAB has started in 1947, so it has been operating in the market for almost 60 years. It has never been profitable, SAAB sales couldn’t generate sufficient revenue that would keep the brand alive. Relying of debt has not helped the car to prosper. SAAB survive for 20 years… Read more »


Osama, Commentators on Dagens Industri and similar sites usually state (usually without any references) that SAAB hasn’t made any profit for the last 20 to 30 years. Now you claim, with the same level of credibility, that it has never been profitable at all. Does it mean that this car factory has been essentially operating as a charity, giving free money made of nothing to its workers and management, for whole six decades? Please reveal your sources, otherwise we can safely dismiss your comment as argumentum ad nauseam. Or as Christopher Hitchens once wrote: “What can be asserted without evidence… Read more »

Osama Dajani

Dear Daniel: I’m not intending to be offensive to SAAB. SAAB might have been breaking even, or even making a relatively good profit. But, that was not good enough for SAAB to flourish and prosper. In my point of view, there is one similarity between the Swedish “SAAB” and the American “Harley Davidson” is that both of them are individualistic or “QUIRKY” and represent a unique culture. Even both of BRAND are small size enterprises. For instance, a biker in his/her late thirties or fourties would pay extra cash to buy a “PREMIUM” bike like “Herley”, and would consider it… Read more »

Bravada from GMI

OK, so you would like your Saab cheaper. Well, who wouldn’t, but to say the company is going to fail because Saab is not as cheap as you would like it to be? I’ve paid the regular price for a Saab and still had a great deal over comparable BMWs, Mercs or even a Skoda Octavia. If you factor in the great engine (TTiD), the seats, the ergonomics and the kit I got standard (and my Saab is FAR from loaded), I still believe it is worth more than I paid for it. Plus you get incomparable driving experience, excellent… Read more »


Ikea: Is a in the Netherlands registered holding, has Dutch headquarters and global training facilities (there’s not much Swedish left there, just the colors yellow and blue)
Scania: Most owned by Volkswagen en MAN

Niklas G

Thanks, Robert Collin! Aslo the Swdish media is usually very hostile towards Saab, so it means a lot to also have a few exceptions there. I think Saab have been doing their part in developing great new products and they have Antonov seeing the potential (in Russia and worldwide) of this product line and wanting to do all the things that the government do not want: Assisting with money and going in as part owner. So indeed, if the government and EIB just had let Antonov in (long ago) then production would still be running and no sign of this… Read more »


Considering all the negativ criticism that has been floating around the mainstream media for several month now, it is nice to see some positive – or atleast objective – input also. I follow the Saab Group’s affairs also with great interest – in particular the aeronautical part with Saab 39 Gripen at the center – and I’m sad to witness equally poor journalism covering them as Saab Automobile in the mainstream media. Fortunately there are a few professional journalists and media still around in Sweden today (Ny Teknik and Mentoronline to name two), but regretably their readers only make up… Read more »


I wonder if the building turbines comment has anything to do with being part of a green political party, and being against cars. It seems ridiculous to me, but living in a heavy bicycle area, I’ve heard more than a few people voicing radical tactics to deter automakers from making cars and consumers from buying them. I’ve no idea what the agenda is–or if there is one. They might just see Saab as a bit of fat they’d like to trim away. Or hold no particular bias against Saab at all. Simply from an economic standpoint, it seems like a… Read more »

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