GM, Pang Da, Youngman And My Thoughts On All This…

In the middle of writing this one the news about a new offer broke. I still decided to post it, albeit with an alternative end.

In times like these even a small comment can cause a lot of disturbance and frustration. As we reported, GM will not take a different approach to the negotiations:

“We have not changed our point of view. We are not negotiating with the Chinese since our contracts are with Saab,” said GM spokesman James Cain.

But in the end, what does that tell us? That GM is not willing to let Saab succeed? That GM wants to kill Saab? No, absolutely not. The only thing they are saying is that they want the orderly structure in talks to remain. They have contracts with Saab, so they want to talk with Saab, or maybe Swan as they are the parent. To bring it down to a simple example: you want to buy a car at your local dealer. That car is in stock at the dealer though it is still financed by the manufacturer. Who do you negotiate the price with? Of course the dealer. You don’t go and call the manufacturer for negotiations and if you do, he will tell you to contact the dealer. Nothing else is happening here.

Though GM are crucial to get a deal done they are somehow on the sidelines. The first thing that has to happen is that Saab/Swan, Guy Lofalk, Pang Da and Youngman (and maybe another party) agree on a deal in principle. This deal not only has to satisfy the parties involved but also those who have to give their ok. GM don’t want to be part of that first stage of talks as it is simply not their job, but they’ve directly and indirectly communicated a structure they can live with.

Ever since that cowboyish attempt to quietly sell Saab to Geely, Pang Da and as I believe especially Youngman have taken the route of trying to take over 100% of Saab. The first try was dismissed by Swan, then later, as they had no choice, Swan accepted the offer, despite or because they knew that GM would never nod to that deal. As Victor said, if GM had wanted to sell Saab to China they would have done so in 2009. From reading the statements about what Pang Da and Youngman have sent to GM after the initial “no” it somehow sounded like they wanted to explain GM what they want to do with Saab after they have taken over 100% to take away the fears and get the ok on a second try – if so, it has been nothing but a waste of time. From what we’ve heard GM has communicated clear demands for a deal that they could agree on. And this surely didn’t include a 100% Chinese ownership.

In the end it is not even relevant why GM doesn’t want to license their stuff to a Chinese owned Saab. Be it paranoia or pure business – they have the right to take a decision that fits their own interests best. The situation is as it is so there’s no use complaining, a solution has to be found. Someone can write a book on why it was that way afterwards but for now – it is as it is so the plan has to be adapted.

Since the Chinese are known as clever businessmen I tend to think that at the same time they talk internally about alternative ownership structures to get things done. As I said, they should know what GM is up to so they can set up a plan that has a fair chance to get through all approvals. Maybe a plan that includes someone like NSC to bridge some years until GM is not as crucial as they are today and a 100% takeover can take place easier. A way that lets Saab survive and the Chinese preserve their investments already made. There should be a way.

News today indicate that Pang Da and Youngman are now trying a different approach: buy the licenses for the current Saab models from GM (

According to DI’s source is the Swedish government and the administrator Guy Lofalk ready to go over to the U.S. and Detroit, where GM has its headquarters, to negotiate the matter. By contrast, no Saab CEO Victor Muller to be with.

“The ball is now at GM. Either it will be a positive response and then start negotiations. Or there will be no, and then wait bankruptcy for Saab,” says DI’s source.

I don’t know if that is the move GM is looking for but if there is some serious money on the table it may come down to a win/loose calculation for GM. A saying is that everything has a price tag and that may also apply in this case. If the talk of possible bankruptcy is a sign that this is the last attempt to convince GM or if it is a try to create some pressure, who knows. I don’t know when SweGov really jumped on that process but they seem so see the importance of getting things done now. How serious Youngman still is about Saab can be seen from the fact that Youngman sent the funds needed to continue the negotiations and pay the wages.

In the meantime, Youngman should be borne by cash flow of Saab during the reorganization period. According to DI, Youngman put in 20 million [SEK] in Saab’s account yesterday. Pang Da and Youngman is also expected to cover the cost of wages to be paid on Friday and Monday.

Victor seems to step back a bit right now to let things go. Two possible reasons for that: either he wants things to go on and as there were some indications that Lofalk did not really want to work with him he steps aside or this is another solution he has no faith in.

DI has also talked to Muller about his role in the negotiations and indicating that he has increasingly fallen into the background.

“GM will first need to digest the information gained from Saab. It is up to Youngman and Pang Da which they want to conduct the negotiations with GM,” writes Muller in an SMS to the Financial Times.

While Guy Lofalk counts as Saab representative right now, somehow this sounds as if Pang Da and Youngman still want to get in direct negotiations with GM. Or, more likely, they chose to trust Lofalk more than Victor and want him to talk to GM on their behalf. Whatever this is, I just hope the Chinese did listen to GM and the new offer brings things forward. And if that’s case, I’m fine with it.

On a side note: if we ever want to know what this Geely thing was all about, someone should ask Guy Lofalk soon. He might forget that this ever happened (Ny Teknik).

90 thoughts on “GM, Pang Da, Youngman And My Thoughts On All This…”

  1. Thanks for stating things clearly Till72.
    Can any of you at SU crew confirm the news reported by ttela and di ? Is it old news (as Jeff stated) or is it a new attempt by the Chinese?


  2. What I heard from SAAB sources is that NDRC will say no ympd application if its not 100%! VM has known about it for awhile and doesnt have any other solution then to step back. 100% ownership for ympd is the last chance.

    • You joined SU yesterday (but probably had an old account here that was banned). You’re now claiming you have inside Saab sources, yet you’re not near Trollhattan. Nearly every comment you make is “yay YMPD!” You confuse me.

      • Im not suprised I get such nice welcome from an American like you!! Thank you for making me feel really warm and would like to spread how good SAAB is!! Just to inform you SAAB have business partners outside Trollhättan. I think as I told u before should stepback and think about how you write! Its not nice and very aggresive towards everyone that dont think like you and the american way. Cheers and yay for YMPD

        • Hmm I din’t like you and your attitude either.
          And I’m European.
          YMPD are business partners trying something that looks like a hostile takeover, but banging their heads against a paranoid GM who has covered their business a$$.
          They will have to cooperate with both Europeans and Americans to do any deal.

          • I have no solution to present.
            The problem is that YMPD has neither if they stay with the 100% idea

            Oh that’s wrong..I have my own theory of a solution. But that is my own, as in private speculation not suited for anything other than my own entertainment

        • “American like you”
          Why would you make such a statements as to alienate yourself from almost anyone reading. I’m from Canada and think your statement is absolutely ignorant. No need to respond, because I probably won’t read what you write as I have very little time for people that use statements like yours.

        • I guess you started to annoy people here Nick.
          If for various reasons , all you can say here is Go YMPD , so be it.
          But don’t agrees people who express their opinions with “You are stepping on many people toes”.
          Speak for yourself and not in the name of entire China and try to use logical arguments to support your statements.

  3. If VM steps back that does not solve the issue of the 100% ownership YMPD wants to shoot for.
    The 100% ownership is so far refused by GM and that the NDRC must also know.
    So two points of view that are in conflict and VM is standing at the sideline looking what happens.
    Even if he would step down, what he will not do now, will not solve this situation.

  4. Guy Lofalk’s on the road again — never an encouraging news for me.

    Anyhow, that NDRC never to approve a deal other than 100% Chinese ownership — this info’s been floating around for a while, but was it ever confirmed?? If so, then why have VM and Chinese been working lately on an old-new trisection deal if they already knew about NDRC’s consideration on that?

    Another question is whether YMPD can fork out an amount sufficient for GM to let the licenses go?

    I’ve been also lamenting on whether why SweGov and GL always insist on sidelineing VM. If the aformentioned, alleged NDRC stance is for real, that could be one explanation. But I’m hesitant to accept it, as this is something Victor should’ve been also aware of….

    • VM being increasingly sidelined is perhaps not surprising. Swan as an entity has no cash, and isn’t going to feature in any post reconstruction ownership, if, that is , there is a post reconstruction.

      Lofalk is the decider at this stage, as to what is legally possible from saabs point of view, not anyone from swan.

      This is the last chance, and directly approaching GM is the only way to see if there is any commonality, for a deal.

      Maybe they will propose a jv between GM and the Chinese parties. GM’s involvement either wholly or partly is the only viable solution to my mind. Whether they have any desire at all to do so, will be revealed in the next day or so. Seems like they will drag their feet , knowing that the clock will run out first.

        • I don’t think GM will put much faith or credibility in swan at this stage, to be a barrier against anything.

          If there is a deal, VM will be facing a stark either/or choice: either sign it, or it goes bust.

      • Well, SWAN is the current owner and GM also underlined it would not negotiate any other parties than SWAN. So I still feel it quite surprising.

          • Yes they said Saab, not Swan – sorry my mistake – but still it hardly changes anything.

            As to my understanding, noone said that GL is the one and only omnipotent party in Saab.

            The key to reorganization is a cooperation between GL and VM.

            “During the Reoganization Procedure, the company keeps its formal ownership over its assets and rights to act in relation to these assets.

            “The system is ultimately based on upon a trust between the company and the administrator.

            [Source: Anders Holmgren,The Swedish Reorganization Law in book Corporate Rescue, (C) 2004 Kluwer Law International]

    • One can ask a lot of questions if one want, and we sometimes do. 😉 As we know, and as mentioned, if GM had wanted to sell, see a 100% ownership, in China, they could have done so in 2009, but they didn’t, for one reason or another. Then one might ask, with this knowledge, why look at China in the first place, last autumn and this spring? True then it was as partner in Swan and with JVs. But somehow the questions about tech, IP and production outside of Sweden must have popped up. Perhaps no one else was interested.

      Anyhow, I assumed today’s news snippets was about the latest communication last week; the twist was that some government representative seems to be ready to take part, if needed.

      • Why China ? Huge market and JV for producing cars.
        On other hand, I think (maybe uncounsciously) VM felt protected against a hostile buyout of SAAB since GM had already a very established business in China already- which could be just what is happening now.
        From my experience , the Dutch businessmen are VERY hard to trap at a negotiation table.

    • < Another question is whether YMPD can fork out
      < an amount sufficient for GM to let the
      < licenses go?

      If YMPD doesn't have enough money to pay GM for licenses, then that means (more importantly) that they don't have the far more substantial sums needed to buy and resuscitate Saab, period, and then all is truly over…

      I mean, also, how business 101 is this? Did YMPD and GL really believe they could just scoop up all of the current Saab lineup and infrastructure without paying GM for any of the legacy costs? It's hilarious to read that this week's big development is that YMPD might actually considering paying GM for their copyrighted and licensed tech. How novel… It's easy to see why GM is ticked.

      • I guess there’s a misunderstanding. Paying license fees (which is standard for Saab, since building cars that incorporate GM tech) and buying the ownership of those licenses (this is the new proposal YMPD-GL are trying to promote) are actually very much different.

        This new proposal of buying the licenses — if and when GM would be willing to negotiate about it at all — would probably need dibursement of sky-high amount$$. I guess it would be much higher than the EUR 100M, even which was proposed to be paid in installments through a few years’ term.

  5. VM ‘stepping back’ can mean one of two things: either he’s working on a Plan B (well, Plan Z by now), or he’s just not got anything more to offer. When all’s said and done, he signed a deal with YM & PD, who in turn assured him – and the world – that they thought NDRC approval was achievable. One would imagine that VM also believed – and perhaps, unofficially, knew – that GM would OK that deal.

    If NDRC – whether prompted by GL’s intervention or not – are now holding-out for 100% ownership, there is little more he can do. VM cannot find some other Chinese people, as NDRC won’t allow them to negotiate.

    So do NSC really, really have the money to do a deal, or not?

    • I seem to recall an announcement about a month ago about them subscribing for about 2 million shares at above 4 eur a share. Swans stock price is currently 0.25.

      They are experts at recognizing undervalued assets.

      • That deal was not closed, because YMPD stepped-in and did the deal we know about. SWAN’s current share price is primarily a function of the YMPD deal: once Saab and Spyker are sold, SWAN will be left with a debt but no assets or income, i.e. will be worthless.

    • They have access to large amounts of cash. But they’re not an OEM like YM or interested in a car distribution network worldwide like PD, so their timetable to be paid back is shorter. They could do a deal, but the considerations and priorities different. If they go into the deal, their focus is on turning a profit later, focused on the Swedish operation. If YMPD do a deal, their focus is stemming and isolating the losses in Sweden by using Saab tech to build up their own brands.

      We don’t want to get into the details of what deals NSC has done or where their money comes from unless they’re greenlighted on an alternate deal. The only useful knowledge to SU readers is that they’re still involved in the process.

      • I’m back Jeff. Though I deleted the account yesterday, I’m tempted to come back because this deal becomes so interesting, as well as the thread here.

        But look at your logic here:
        1. NSC’s “focus is on turning a profit later”, but “their timetable to be paid back is shorter’. Sounds self-contradictory?

        2. If your assumption is everyone will deliver what s/he said, well, NSC SAID their focus was on Troll operation, but did YMPD SAY in their plan on creditors meeting that “their focus is stemming and isolating the losses in Sweden by using Saab tech to build up their own brands”?

        I’m fine with your dislike of Chinese companies even the people, I personally don’t like some of them either, but don’t say you don’t have a favoratie bidder at this stage, it’s quite obvious.

  6. VM stepping back might also mean he leaves the stage to Guy Lofalk to expose his case.
    He was the one who disturbed the normal flow of evenets , and he has now to prove his plan was the right one.
    If his trip to Detroit will fail , SAAB might as well ask the court to have GL replaced as administrator, having very sound material to support this request.
    Chinese will sooner or later realize one thing , which is that original plan crafted by Victor was much closer to get GM approval than the latter. And at that point, anything can happen.

  7. This could possibly be a dumb question, but what if YMPD were to buy Swan? GM has stated that it has licensing agreements in place with Swan and they would not support a change in ownership for Saab. But if YMPD were to buy Swan, then there technically be no change in Saab’s ownership as they would still be owned by Swan who would then be owned by YMPD. I guess there could be two problems with that, the first being Swan’s debt is larger then Saab’s, and secondly, Spyker cars could be in the way.

      • My guess is that noone is allowed to own more than 54% (except for maybe Victor Muller) since that is the percentage YMPD was going to buy in the first place.

        Why can’t they just settle for a percentage that GM is happy about and then buy the rest in a couple of years when all cars are built upon the Phoenix platform and GM free? That must be the easiest and best solution for everone.

  8. Strange that no other news site in Sweden or elsewhere picked up the news that GM’s response to new bid already came (as reported by TimR citing Swedish Radio P4).
    Ttela reports now that wages would most likely be paid by Chinese, who did not receive any response from GM on their last proposal.

    • The Chinese have been paying in dribs for weeks now to keep the company going. They pay just enough to ensure reconstruction continues right before each deadline.

      • I thought it was the subscription proceeds from the GEM credit line on Oct 31’st that paid last months salaries ?

        How are these (chinese) dribs getting booked internally in Saab, I wonder: Saab legally cant take any more debt, therefore it needs to be booked as a prepayment against something, or equity. If it was equity in saab, it would have to be announced.

          • Well,They are buying time, of course. It would appear they seem fairly certain of a deal involving them, I guess…..otherwise, they will have just lost another x million.

            My musings were more about how you attribute the any such funds. If money comes into a co, its either a deposit for goods or services, or payment for an invoice, a loan, or equity.

          • I’ve heard speculation but not concrete fact about what they’re securing as collateral. I won’t hint too much at it, but if you look back at the original bridge loan from Youngman you’ll get a pretty fair idea of what we’ve heard.

          • Phoenix platform, I’d guess, and perhaps some other Saab IP (electric cars etc.). And the deal is probably that, should Saab -god forbid- go under, the IP rights to Phoenix will be transferred to Youngman just before Saab is forced to exit reconstruction.

            While still in reconstruction, Saab can sell assets, products, IP rights etc., as pointed out by Marque a bit above. Out of it and declared insolvent, they cannot sell anything any more, only the administrator can do that.


          • ivo 71

            Re: Marque & selling assets.

            This may be true, but only at a fair & reasonable price [ie; Market value] otherwise other creditors will not tolerate it,
            Selling assets for low money would make their debts worth less.

  9. If GM did negotiate with any of the Chinese, be it Youngman or Pang Da, they would leave themselves wide open for a legal action. At the first sign of trouble Saab/Swan or whoever could then say that GM undermined any deals and did so with a party that they had no business dealing with.

    If ever GM’s lawyers made the correct decision to simply “stand silent” it was now. They are letting the parties come to them with proposals and each is evaluated on it’s merit.

    It would come as no surprise however if “no deal” was the only acceptable deal. Look at the ownership mess that was created after GM sold it to Spyker, with loans from how many entities?

    The list of potential “stakeholders” in this has made it worthy of a movie and a good name would be “The Medusa Project”.

  10. Till, something is off here and allthough your analogy with the dealership is correct for the actual carsales I have the feeling that it doesn’t quite apply here.

    If GM says they will only discuss with Saab about the terms it sounds like the salesman is haggling with the car instead of the buyer. In this case I think GM is your salesman, they hold all the cards, Saab is the car and YMPD is the potential buyer. The seller is basically saying I will not sell you the whole car. I will also not say how you can buy any part of the car before you ask the correct question. GM must make clear for all involved parties, SU and fandom not necessarily included, what their terms are. If not I can only believe they are acting in bad faith in order for the involved parties to bleed cash or to destroy the brand even further.

    Perhaps a solution would be that GM, YM and PD each get 33 percent of SWAN and GM sell their shares after 5 years. By then there should be no IP issues left. GM and SAIC make enough money in China that they don’t need to bother with Saab, ever.

    • I agree here Grumpy. I cant understand, so many exec from harvard,MIT and yale and yet no one really knows what the “deal” is all about. Lets make a waiting game and see if someone comes up with something,so this something can be something else or something less while the clock is ticking.

      Anyway, the seller cant refuse the current owner to keep the lease contract.So stop wasting time on roadblocks and take another route (not saying stop take the chinese route…just the formal ownership)

  11. We can chose to read the signs that GM already sent as to what their position is and will be, OR to try to interpret their statements to fit our personal views of the situation.

    Basically, whatever statement GM would make (unless they name themself the deal they will be ready to approve) , there will be always voices interpreting it diferently.

    I guess we should see what this all come to, hopefully soon enough.

  12. I feel sorry for the great men and women who assemble our cars. They must be bored! The champagne is still in the fridge as I wait for some good news. 🙂

    • I must say that I’m a bit surprised that they don’t use them in some other way while waiting.
      If not to create income then at least for goodwill purposes.

    • The article does not really say that much. The rehash what GM have said before.
      GM will not approve 100% china.
      The comment from GM appears fairly recent but how much to read into that I don’t know.

      I would say that the negotiations will continue and will take a while.
      I guessed that we perhaps could se a resolution before end of november. Now I fear we are talking december, But hey Santa might arrive in his brand new sleigh drawn by the Phoenix…..

  13. Saab is owned by swan.
    Swan is owned by who really?
    Does the who’s wanna sell 46% to the Chinese?
    If victor keeps 54% how will the massive investments Saab need play out.
    What abt the china cars, will they sell under a different brand?

  14. I don´t know how to feel about GL and SweGov negotiating with GM while VM is standing in front of the door. Until now he is the one who kept Saab alive. Hope those people sitting in Detroit are aware of the potential of Saab ! I am a bit unsure, all of them seem not to have much interest in keeping the brand. Fingers crossed …

    • I think we could start calling SweGov, SG just to confuse people 😉 Imagine what it will look like to someone who reads comments for the first time.
      A perfectly understandable sentence (to us) could go like this: VM and GL has met with AB to discuss VA’s position in relations to GM, so that SG could have a better view of what is going on with YMPD in regards to NDRC, NDO and EIB. TC from SCNA and TR from SU where also present at the meeting.

  15. Geez, wouldn’t it be nice if we could go back to talking about cars? I really would like to be able to switch out my rear headrests in my SWAN NG 9-5 for those shown on Saab’s website. Just sayin’ 🙂

  16. Yes but those “general discussions” on cars would probably have a limited focus I am beginning to feel. They all take on a serial formula of tawdry television dramas.

    Grumpy nailed it with his description of the salesman haggling with the car.

    It’s like telling my teenage daughter she can’t have $50 to go hang at the mall with all this whining about GM wanting to destroy Saab, Your guilt trip may have worked with your parents but it won’t work with GM.

    Why doesn’t Hirsch just “Saab Up” and buy the damned company, the Swiss have more money than God, The Queen and The Vatican combined.


  17. I really hope Saab can make it through this. It will be next to impossible to sell my 9-3 if they go under. Parts are just too hard to find right now and owning it is a major headache. I love the car but sadly I might have to go to BMW or AUDI (never, ever thought I’d be saying that).

    • parts are an issue now, won’t be forever. No matter what happens to Saab, parts will always be available, we just need to get to the conclusion of all this mess.

      • My repair for a recent minor accident is $6300. My mechanic showed me a Mazda with the exact same damage the cost totalling $3000… half as much. First thing he said was “get a different car next time”. We weren’t able to source any aftermarket parts and everything had to be sourced from the dealer with “special orders”. It’s just very disheartening being involved with a company that is so shaky. I really feel bad for anyone with a 9-3 that needs an ignition switch…

        • I suppose the worse buyers here are NG9 5 owners, particularly anything bodypart-wise, as they are simply not being made & no aftermarket makers, as the volumes are too small.

          At least the 9.3 has been around for a while & some parts are interchangable with older versions & the GM parts bin….

          • Yup, and I just bought one last month and had a REAL close call with an off road vehicle that came within 12 inches of hitting my driver door. “Noooooo, I may never get it fixed”, I yell to myself. Close call, but all is well.

          • They should definitely be pressing all the body parts they can.
            If YMPD can pay the salaries I’m sure they could buy some ignition locks for the 9-3’s as well!
            Saab is still a business with paying customers, right?

        • “Get a different car next time” could simply be said as “get a cheaper car next time” Mazda to Saab or Mazda to Audi would be the same difference. Apples to apples, Mazda is not a good car to compare against with repair costs. I had to replace a headlight for a 2010 Infiniti QX56 and it cost over $1000 per headlight, would have been much cheaper if the vehicle was a Chev Tahoe, but the vehicles are very different.

          • I only paid $9,200 for the Saab (wholesale). Retail values of used Saabs aren’t far off retail prices of Mazdas unfortunately. Yes the Saab in general is a better made car but after a few years, a used Civic is worth more.

    • You can’t go wrong with either BMW or Audi – each is an excellent choice. If the new 9-3 fails to appear, or if it does but doesn’t offer performance becoming of a sports sedan, I’ll be going BMW myself.

      • That’s why I bought the Saab, fantastic value as a used car. That just doesn’t coincide with buying a “cheaper car”. It is a cheap car. I don’t mind paying more for the car to buy something that has some backing. BMWs and AUDI are just too advanced right now to not be lured by them. I really hope Saab can get through this and modernize so that I can see more on the roads!

  18. Don’t all shout at me, but, I can see GM’s point.

    They have technology that they own & licence it to other makers. They are using the same platform of the NG9.5 for Buick & selling the technology to BAIC, SAIC & Rowere?! in china.

    They have contracts with these other makers & then, along comes YM and says it will buy 100% of Saab & using their technology [ie GM’s} to make cars in china.

    There must be quite a large lobby from all the other licence holders hammering on GM’s head, to block YM,

    GM could face very large legal actions from their own licence holders in China, if YM get a deal.

    YM’s greed [opened up by Saab’s administrator, re Geely] might just kill a deal for everyone……

    • That’s right Terry, I keep repeating this for a while ans still surprized they still go down the same road.
      It is a huge waste of time so far, if nothing else has been talked about then how to persuade GM to approve the 100% deal.
      I think the last statement from GM’s spokesman to was clear enough. Actually it can’t any clearer than that. If SAAB changes 100% ownership GM will not provide cars, technology and parts. Period.
      He said if SAAB changes 100% ownership, so any deal has to start from this point now : keep SWAN in the play and find out what percentage will GM approve for the Chinese.

  19. If SWAN fails due to GM – does GM pickup my 4 year bumper to bumper warrenty..likely not without a court battle. So GM might want to reconsider their stance forcing SWAN out of business. I believe the ideal fit is TATA motors with their Luxury Brands Jaguar and Land ROver both of these models sell well in key markets Texas, NY, CA, FL , CT . Send emails to TATA //

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