E24: Some suppliers might lay off people

E24 reports that some suppliers are discussing their options.

But they [an unnamed supplier] were discussing layoffs?

– Yes, layoffs and cutbacks.

Svenåke Berglie thinks Saab needs to come up with a solution within the next few days so layoffs can be avoided.

This news is not particulary fresh. We all know it would come to this if the production did not resume soon. The stakes are higher than “just” the people working for Saab in Trollhättan. The tax payers stand to loose a lot of money, but not to Saab the company as is commonly believed. This misconception has been allowed to fester too long and hopefully the Swedish government will help Saab survive rather than waste money on windmills (what a silly thing for me to write, but I was not the one who made the windmill-suggestion in the first place).

46 thoughts on “E24: Some suppliers might lay off people”

  1. I’ve now delayed my car order for about a week right now and I cannot hold it much longer anymore. If this situation won’t be solved during this week, I’m afraid I have to order a car of other brand than SAAB…

    So please hurry up!

    • Thanks for that insight, Sensonic. It’s a shame that at the moment that Saab is getting back on track the EIB creates these problems. The standstill of production, combined with the buyers walking away, will cost Saab millions.

      I wouldn’t be too worried about buying a new Saab now, though. You can be assured of the availability of spare parts and qualified maintenance personnel. My 9-3SC is a couple of months old, but other than that there is for me no reason not to buy a Saab at this moment.

      I do hope they will hurry up, but be assured that these things take time. So in the next days we will hear more and more details and positive news, but a signed deal, with whoever that maybe, will take longer than a week.

      Good luck with your decision !

      • If you want Saab to survive surely you attempt to buy the Saab regardless?
        As it seems you may not it kind of shows why we are in this current position.

  2. Yes in an ironic twist of the tale, the instigators of this situation are reaping the reward of their actions. What goes round comes round.
    I still firmly believe that the press have a lot of blood on their hands due the way they have construed, alleged, mis-quoted and over-exaggerated situations. Journalism at its very worse.

    • Very well said WooDz. I was saying essentially the same thing the day after this all started. This was the wrong way to handle the situation. Imagine if they hadn’t cut off supplies and were working behind the scenes to get paid and none of this ever got out into the media. Some of you may think it sounds naive to think this way, that the suppliers were at the end of their ropes with payment, but I have to ask you are they better off now than they were then? They started a pretty vicious cycle.

      • Jeff,
        they overreacted, but I can understand this, as many of them had to write off 75% of Saab debts one year ago. But remember that just before this all began a man called Vladimir Antonov started spreading that Saab didn’t have enough money, if I remember well.

        But now is no time to blame, it is as it is, and Saab and the suppliers should work together to find a way out.

        • Oh there is plenty of blame to go around sadly, but I’m with you that they need to think of it less as blame and more as lessons as they go forward, while they work out the best solutions to solve their current problems. Very, very expensive lessons.

          • Wait….you’re blaming creditors and the media for the problems of a company whose products simply haven’t sold well enough to maintain its balance sheet?

            As Red J said, many of those suppliers took a bath when Saab reorganized and few were willing to do it again. Suppliers don’t operate on blind faith, at least not for very long past 90 days. 😉

            and VA was actually proven right on two counts: Saab didn’t have enough money, despite all the happy talk coming from Trollhattan, and some of the early sales figures were optimistic at best. (One of the odd ironies in this is that the guy accused of being shady has actually had the most honest appraisals of the situation.)

            …and the media? Please separate the news articles from the opinion pieces. The news reports were accurate, the facts of which were that Saab was way behind on payments to suppliers and other service vendors, and that the situation was far more serious than top management had revealed.

            The opinion pieces were just that: opinions of columnists and other folks who speculated on the fate of the company. Was that damaging? Probably. But those opinions are as valid as mine or yours.

          • Hmm.. Not too sure about the fact stuff in News.

            We have no solid info at all about how many suppliers and how much money it was about.

            But when the FUD rollercoaster took off, a lot more joined.
            I am not one for conspiration theory, my main interest it chaos theory, and I think that all parties, including Saab management forgot to take into account the human factor and the effect of lousy media management
            And human factors in my view had much more effect than Money in this case.

          • Khrisdk, I think your request for solid info was provided by the on-the-record confirmations of multiple suppliers not being paid, so let’s put that to bed.

            As far as media mismanagement, yes…you’re absolutely right, but the media fumbles have little effect on the underlying money issues. Without the money woes, there would be no need to manage media.

          • Whether or not this was a timebomb that would have gone off eventually I’m not questioning Mike, I’m just saying that everyone from the suppliers on to Saab management is to blame for handling the situation in a very damaging way. From the suppliers missteps, imagine if production hadn’t shut down but merely slowed. From VA’s missteps, why did it take so long to formally apply to become an owner, all indications were that GM hasn’t had a problem with it since the end of last year. From Saab’s standpoint, why weren’t they more open and honest about the harsh reality they faced but were working diligently to secure more long term financing before it blew up? All around, lots of screw ups, the least of which were the ones who got the ball rolling that first Tuesday four weeks ago, the shipping company.

            We’re all pretty much in agreement here, I agree with everything you said. 🙂 I’m just saying that the suppliers need to share some of the heat here just as Saab, the editorialists, and the NDO/EIB.

          • From Saab’s standpoint, why weren’t they more open and honest about the harsh reality they faced but were working diligently to secure more long term financing before it blew up?

            Is that realistic though? Are they even allowed to put that out there? and what would that have done? I don’t think any company comes out and tells the public how bad they are doing financially because it hurts brand confidence. To even come out and say “we are working with Chinese Auto companies for a long term financial solution” would have been the set up of a Swedish media field day on all that we’ve already read. Don’t get me wrong Mike or Jeff, I’m all for honesty, but I don’t think they are allowed to come out and talk about these things as soon as we may like and I think being too open may be just as damaging. I think the bigger question would need to be more along the lines of “why if they knew the situation was what it is, did they not do something sooner?” but in fairness, do we really know that they hadn’t already been working on this before the S**t hit the fans?

  3. How about these suppliers would help Saab instead of off laying their own personnel? They could extend their credit volume against some guarantees of Spyker, Saab or a sub company and then this would ease off the pressure on Saab and would lead to production take-up and they would not have lay-offs and the notorous Swedish State and taxpayers would not to have to costly sustain people without work. In addition they could intervene on behalf of Saab in public and with the Swedish Government. Th

    • Are you being serious? To qutoe Mike Sanders
      “As Red J said, many of those suppliers took a bath when Saab reorganized and few were willing to do it again. Suppliers don’t operate on blind faith, at least not for very long past 90 days”
      These people are in business for themselves not to keep Saab alive on an off chance.

      • I am pretty sure that many of the suppliers are more than willing to help out Saab as much as their own economy allows them to.
        If it is really money talking they need the business of Saab, so they have common interests.
        The only problem is how much more both they and Saab can take.

      • I guess most of the suppliers were willing to cut Saab even more slack when all his started. Only a few went public with the payment term problems but, by doing that, they did set off the avalanche of partly truthful and partly unnecessarily alarmist comments and opinions. I can well imagine that some of those, who did remain silent before, started thinking about their own positions as well, decided to apply a less tolerant attitude toward Saab’s payment terms and, the worst part, let that become public knowledge. All that evolved into a chain reaction in the media. Like others already said, insensitive partner handling, an arrogant PR attitude by Saab and unfortunate comments by VM and VA escalated a situation that probably was still containable in its initial stages and, had it been handled with a bit more PR acumen, didn’t have to develop into a full-blown crisis.

        But that’s all water under the bridge now. Let’s hope the damage done is not permanent. And it would seem t won’t. 🙂


        • Ivo, this is precisely what happened. Perception becomes reality if you keep hearing it over and over again. What a shame the Swedish press just couldn’t give Saab a fair chance to do its business in peace even two months before the doomsday people were dragged in. Not one week went by without digging up some kind of negativity for the past year.
          I’m sure it must have had a huge effect on the suppliers (not to mention customer) confidence and that they were obviously ready to push the panic button the minute there was a glitch.

          As I’ve said before it’s not the first time a company has payed late and the liquidity is something that’s constantly changing.
          Maybe increasing demand simply drained their cash like so often when a “new” company starts suddenly increasing sales after first year(s) of heavy losses.
          My guess is that Saab wanted to wait for better sales numbers before seeking new financing. Unfortunately the plan blew up in their face but I can’t blame them. It’s so much easier to get capital with sales increasing by hundreds of per cents -like it did in March.

          Now that things have gotten out of hand, the factory is standing still and everyone agrees -I hope- that it’s much better to have an operational and soon profitable independent Saab than no car manufacturing in Trollhättan. Everyone truly needs to work together on this including the Government.
          2014 is the earliest when anyone can judge if project Saab was a success or not. But not before JC and the engineers have worked their magic. It is unreasonable to expect Saab to do EVERYTHING in two years. They already done more than most people would have believed they could.

          The guys and gals at Saab have done more for the company in a year than GM in ten. Maud and everyone needs to see and understand this. (sorry for the long post again).

  4. VA on twitter:
    vladantonov1975 Vladimir Antonov
    To SAABs very valuable suppliers! Please don’t fire your people for a while! Hold on a bit PLEASE!!!

      • Bravada,
        to be honest, I don’t think that VA Twitter activities should be seen as his main communication channel. It is more, IMO, of an well filtered echo for us.

        Just a thought.

        • >I don’t think that VA Twitter activities should be seen as his main communication channel.<
          I’m going to abridge that thought with I don’t think they should be seen. PERIOD!
          Call me old fashioned but it all seems seriously amaturish.

      • In regards to VA’s twitter comments, you can not stop using Twitter when everybody knows about youe existence. Silence will be percieved as ominous. In that case it is better to keep on tweeting your own filtered truths. It isn’t because the tweets reveals much groundbreaking news.

        Regarding Lars Carlström:
        I also think he should cool off a little.

        But what I am also noticing is that he is actually having an effect.
        Different government entities have been leaking half info ever since Dec 2009, and the press has been all over it and pointing the fingers at Saab, VM and VA.
        The unprofessionalism started at the govvernment institutions

        What LC is doing now is exactly the same, but his half-truths are now being eaten by the press, who are now questioning the government entities and their motives.

        That is some sort of PR victory, because public opinion is just as dangerous to Governments and EIB as it is to Saab.

        I still don’t like it, but it seems to work.

      • I agree with Bravada. Has anyone even seen Mr. Antonov’s feed?

        Very amateurish indeed. His intentions are good, but it just doesn’t come off too well via tweet.

        • Back in the day, we used to complain about GM being both tightlipped and tightarsed.

          Now, when the owners are finally sharing information, we still do not approve?

          Do not look a gift horse in the mouth.

          • Rune, I was just gathering my thoughts and you did it for me. I think we all agree VA should continue to tweet, but do it in a business like way.
            He’s a young man passionate about saving Saab…. I think we can all cut him a little slack… It’s not monopoly money he’s wanting to spend so he has a right to do as he pleases. As sideline people all we SHOULD do is offer support and advice…

            Hey, VA, tone down the tweets.. , but keep tweeting when appropriate…..
            simple 🙂

          • They way how you say things also counts…
            You can bring a message in a lot of different ways. VA can continue to use Twitter, but the should be more careful in the way the expreses himself.

        • Social media like twitter are just another way to manipulate public opinion, why do you think Swade got offered his job at Saab. So, you can see VA tweets as amateuristic or as a cunning way to bend the purchase/lending/whatever process.

          • Exactly right. This man is no fool. And his off the cuff remarks make him instantly more relatable, he’s just like any of us commenting on SU. Let Victor, Eric G. and the new CEO be the professionals, I’m content to have at least one higher up at Saab race for the SaabsUnited Historic Rally Team and stay down to earth.

      • First I liked the tweet, after your comment, Bravada, I was not sure anymore, but now I made up my mind and think, it is an honest statement, I believe him, that he wants the best for SAAB and its suppliers. He wants to save the company and being succesful with it. And you know what? It is DIFFERENT! Yeah, thats what we all say about SAAB. Think different! He does it and I LIKE IT.

        Keep on moving VA! You got my support!

        • I support VA and LC in their comments. Foot-dragging and lack of plain language killed K-egg’s bid for Saab and they wisely pulled out knowing that they would be in the situation Saab finds itself in now. CvK was roundly criticised for being too quiet.

          VA knows what he’s doing and he’s doing it the young Russian way. Both him and LC were inside witness to what happened through 09-10 and are not about to see the other parties get away with the same crap again. Then they were quiet and look where things are now.

  5. SAAB already should know it is wasting time on plan A.Cause be afraid the bankruptcy EIB is nervous about the loans..

  6. SAAB should already know it is wasting of time on plan A. Be afraid of the bankruptcy EIB is nervous about the loans.

    • Saab is on Plan G right now (which at some point became F, then E, then D, then C, and now B). So long as they want to keep up the creativity to get this through, then I’m okay with whatever rabbit they’ll be pulling out of their hats.

  7. I don’t think Mr Berglie has helped one bit in all of this. I recognise he has members interests at heart but his PR has been atrocious. He needs to consider keeping his Tongue in his head & using it appropriately behind closed doors.
    I appreciate the support the suppliers have given but if they have such a large reliance on one customer that is a very risky strategy & you should therefore not be looking to kill the golden goose.
    Háll skeften Mr Berglie! Tänk på framtiden inte bara nu.

  8. The EIB draft is no solution. At best it would have meant 90 days of continuous nailbiting, extremely nervous suppliers and succeeding obituaries in the media. Carlström is right, it was a road map to bankrupcy.
    Seems like VA has made a major breakthrough these last days. All parties – whether willingly or not – has actually accepted him as an owner. Finally!
    He is now free to move and looks confident to come up with solutions without succumbing to a ridiculuous 90 days deadline for it all.
    And I’m glad to hear what Carlström signals. Time to dump these politicians – best way to keep the car on the road!
    Time to get down to some real business!

    • All parties – whether willingly or not – has actually accepted him as an owner. Finally!

      Did I miss something? VA is not accepted as an owner at the moment. He is still under investigation.

      • II think Klypps point is that if VA can raise enough money to repay the EiB loan, nether the NDO, EiB nor the swedish government can stop him from becoming a shareholder. 215 million euro will release collateral worth twice as much ..

  9. I like his tweets, he dares. let’s face it folks, there is a new generation coming in the fast lane. And they are blinking with their lights.

  10. BoeBoe, what I hear is that he can buy the premises if the EIB loan is paid back within 90 days. Every relevant party has accepted this, as far as I know.

  11. The Transparency Policy of the EIB has been heavily criticized by NGOs in the past. In 2004, Article 19 issued a memorandum in which it accused the EIB of failing to meet international (including EU) standards on openness. The same year, the NGO coalition Public Funds for Public Benefits called EIB “the least transparent, least accountable and least democratically controlled institution in the family of agencies entrusted with implementing EU policies and among public.” .[7] However, NGOs acknowledge important improvements in EIB’s transparency since 2004, and new corporate policies adopted in 2010 are thought to go in the right direction.

    People complain about Saabs transparency through all of this, this is directly from wikipedia, doesn’t speak well of the EIB even if they say new policies adopted in 2010 are thought to go in the right direction. I hope there is a way to just get rid of that loan altogether and be done with them.

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