Moment of Clarity: WSJ Interview With Martin Larsson

I apologize for the misleading title in advance. The only clarity that can be gleamed from this interview is that there is very little certainty surrounding the Chinese deal at the moment. That’s not to sound scary in any way, things are progressing. But I suggest everyone read this article if you’re going to read one this week. Kudos to Christina Zander for being the only reporter all day to get behind the headlines. You’re up there with Ola Kinnander now on my list of responsible reporters.

“The only thing that’s certain is that things won’t turn out exactly as planned,” Larsson told Dow Jones. “We still have a bumpy road ahead, I believe.”

The article can be found at this link.

Also, there’s a reason why I haven’t had my own “thoughts on the deal” article yet. When the time feels right, you’ll read it.

28 thoughts on “Moment of Clarity: WSJ Interview With Martin Larsson”

    • “He’s kinda studly”???

      Never heard that particular expression before. Still, even as a well-matured Hetero, I can see what is meant by it. Time for some cute lady execs in the car business, I reckon! Also, I’ve never met a lady who disapproved of my SAABs…plenty who disapproved of me, of course….

  1. Twists and turns remain, no doubt. GM’s role in this is the biggest obstacle, I believe – everyone else has a real incentive to get the deal done. But at least there is a plausible path out of the wilderness now, one that does not depend on the appearance of unicorns or confidence fairies.

  2. He seems like he a good understanding of situation and is not sugar coating it. And I live in the Sf bay area, so do the math (was a joke Btw). Studly=good looking

    • Haha I’m sure Martin will take the complement no matter the source, no worries there. He’s a quality guy, and he gets the big picture. When the deal finally closes, hopefully you’ll be able to see how skillful he really is. If Saab is still alive and kicking in a few years in Sweden, he’s one of a handful of people that deserve some major thanks. I would not want to take this guy on in a chess match.

    • Well, regardless of preferences, everybody realizes immediately that Martin has a slight advantage over Norbert Reithofer just by looking at them… πŸ˜‰

  3. Well the the horizon certainly looks just a tiny bit brighter this morning:

    Basically saying:
    China’s industrial and IT minister Miao Wei supports “in principle” Pang Das and Young’s plans to buy Saab. There he told Reuters in connection with an industry trade show in Shanghai.

    It is the first official indication of how the Beijing government’s reaction to the two Chinese companies’ plans to take over Saab.

    Pang Da and Youngman signed last week a preliminary agreement to purchase Saab Automobile. Under the reorganization plan as administrator lawyer Guy Lofalk submitted to the district court, the two Chinese companies undertook a so-called bridge loan of 50 million, approximately SEK 450 million, and they have also committed funding of EUR 610 million, about 5, 5 billion, over the medium term.

    Until 2017 the Chinese claim to be willing to invest a total of 20 billion. This is about manufacturing in China and development of several new models.

    An approval from the Chinese government is crucial to the deal going through. Asked by Reuters whether Industry Minister Miao Wei on his ministry approves the deal, he replied: “We support it in principle.”

  4. The biggest problem is GM and that’s why there never was a chinese sale in the first place. I really can’t see how GM would let the chinese gain access to 9-5 and 9-4x.

    • I really can’t see GM pick a fight with NDRC. They have about 10 factories in China already, Saab is a miniscule issue for them. GM will not be any (major) problem, that is my assessment.

      • But what if it’s not GM that’s objecting, but SAIC? The same SAIC which is owned by the influential Shanghai State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission? They have a bit more pull with the NDRC, and as I understand are the ones with the issue, not GM.

  5. Bleuler, I think Martin does look like Mel Gibson, somewhat. He may be a Mel Gibson lookalike. Oops, now all the “progressives ” are going to come out with rants against Mad Max.

      • Oh, it’s a movie? I always thought it was a reality thing about Oz traffic customs, you know, same sort of difference like between football and Aussie rules football πŸ˜‰ .

        Just joking, I myself am a fan of Peter Weir, although it is questionable if his movies can -still- be called Oz movies.


  6. It is the shareholders’ duty to appoint the Board of Directors. Since Saab Automobile will be wholly owned by the two Chinese companies and YM will have control I would be amazed were there not a liberal sprinkling of Chinese executives, who would ensure that the wishes of the owners are implemented. Many of the existing Directors and management are in any case tainted with a failed past and may well be retired from duty. Looked at from a Chinese perspective that would only be right and proper if they are to invest so much money into the future of the Company.

    • You need experience of what you are suposed to do in order to be on a BoD. YMPD whant to maximize their investment, not the amount of Chinese directors…

  7. Can someone explain the connection Lotus has with Youngman? My understanding is that Youngman takes some of Proton’s cars and rebadges them as a Chinese brand and sells them. Is this at all correct? Are some of these cars Lotus cars since Proton owns Lotus?

    As a Lotus Elise owner, and a Saab owner many times over, I am curious to see how small this world can be. The Elise is obsolete now but still a dandy chassis to make a new Sonnet out of πŸ™‚

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