Hi peeps. Swade here.

Tim got in touch and asked if there was anything I could add at SU with regard to the current discussion surrounding Saab and what we face today. Realistically speaking, there isn’t. I’m bound by the rules just like any other employee.

I posted the following at Inside Saab around an hour ago and offered it to Tim as a summary of the situation, as I see it. Right now, Saab’s fate is out of our hands. As supporters and even as employees, we wait, hope, and continue to act as best we can. But the decisions that have to be made are the responsibility of a very small group of people.

We all hope that it works out the way it should. In the meantime, keep the faith, keep calm, carry on, and know that everyone who’s got something to contribute is giving as much as they can.



It’s Monday here in Australia as I write this.

Later today, in Sweden, there will be a court hearing to determine whether Saab’s reorganisation should continue. To say there’s a lot hanging in the balance would be the understatement of the year.

Here’s the scenario, as seen from someone on the other side of the world and somewhat out of the loop:

The outcome of that hearing will depend largely on the future plan that Saab has developed to carry the business forward. Details about that plan will no doubt be forthcoming at the time, but all indications are that it will hinge upon setting up the business in a compartmentalised way so as to separate current models built with GM’s intellectual property from future models developed in conjunction with our Chinese partners, Youngman.

The other (perhaps most) crucial element of today’s proceedings will be evidence of support shown by Youngman. The Jerry Maguire phrase “Show Me The Money” feels kind of appropriate here. November wages are already overdue and December wages are due only days from now. Swedish media reports in the last few hours indicate that there may be signs of nerves within Youngman, thanks primarily to statements made by our former parent.

Over the weekend, General Motors re-stated its intention to withhold support for any such deal. From our end, it is contended that GM’s support is not needed as the proposal will not change the ownership structure of Saab. Formal dealings with Youngman will be setup in another entity focused on new model development for the future. I don’t know if it’s the job of a judge in Vänersborg to sort that out, but I guess we’ll find out pretty soon.

I’m not normally one given to poking an angry bear in the ribs, but I’d like to reiterate something I wrote on Inside Saab a while ago – Ford found a way to get a similar deal done for Volvo, and I’m sure they’re keen on protecting their interests in China, too. This deal can, and should, be done. No less a man than Keith Crain, the Editor-in-Chief of Automotive News agrees.

Is today D-Day? All indications point that way right now, but this story has had so many twists and turns that it would be a brave man who attached any level of conviction to his prediction.

This is such a great company. It must survive and I hope that common sense and goodwill prevails today, for the sake of everyone who has an interest in the outcome: Our employees, our suppliers, our dealers and distributors, and of course, our customers.


25 thoughts on “D-Day?”

  1. Great to hear from you my friend. I very much respect you and admire your work. The show will go on. However if it must be that this ride shall end, well, it was one worth the experience. Bless you, your family, all of Saab and my friends here on SU.

    • Best of 2011? : Victor Muller. He has unwavering dedication and tenacity in keeping SAAB alive. I very much admire his loyalty and enthusiasm for SAAB. Thank you Victor, and bless you.

  2. Thank-you Trollhattan workers and management. For whatever reasons you are there at the factory … at least you are there keeping the doors open and the lights on.
    My wife and I purchased a 2011 9-5. Many of our friends gave a word of “caution” … but it’s styling, innovation and quality won us over and far exceeded our expectations.
    In tribute to Saab and to honor the heritage and country of origin, our 9-5 license plate reads “SVENSKA”
    Saab is facing the same situation that a similar American automobile company faced in 1948. This company was filled with innovation and spirit. The company was Tucker Automobile. It is widely thought that the “Big 3″ American manufacturers had no intentions of watching it succeed.
    Our personal plea to the Swedish government: Don’t Let Saab Fail! The United States Government stepped in to save Chrysler, Harley-Davidson and yes, even GM. They stepped in to save banks that were “too big to fail”. Why not save a company that is “too small to fail”! Sweden … Saab is your heritage. It is your spirit.

    • Widely thought by whom? Tucker had some cool ideas but a flawed marketing plan that doomed the company from the start and while there are some parallels I’ll keep it polite. Putting veterans at the top of the list was a grand and patriotic gesture but that and a few other details worked against him. Who came first with the pop out windshield? I remember the early Beetles as having them too. Like Crosley, America had so many dreamers who built a better car, a faster car and many never got past the prototype. Our beloved Cobra would have had the same fate if not for a fire in the factory of a rival. Of course without AC would there have been a Shelby? Tucker did a nice job of torpedoing himself he didn’t need help.

      • Thanks for your reply and keeping things polite. It shows professionalism and integrity. I drew the parallel between Saab and Tucker only as a example of what I personally feel what is happening. GM has never been good for Saab. GM received assistance from the United States government to “KEEP THEIR DOORS OPEN” and they have the audacity to do everything in their power to turn around and let Saab DIE under the guise of “… we’re protecting our interests…”. GM does not care about Saab and never has! If this is what kills a company of “dreamers and innovators” in Saab … SAD DAY!

  3. Swade thanks, well written. We believe it should be done. At least it should help the SwGov in this case.
    Positive thinking & keep faith.

  4. Is it totally crazy to think that the Swedish Government might sweep in at the last minute to make a conditional strategic investment? The US Government did it for GM and Chrysler and made out OK. For the sake of conversation, let’s say they floated SAAB until another investor could be found and/or they could develop past the legacy GM technology.

  5. There are some interesting end games here. If SAAB goes under, I suspect there will be a massive lawsuit by SWAN against GM. If GM has rejected terms that comply with the original deal, then SWAN has the right to demand 100% refund of all payments, investments and losses.. same with Youngman. This could be quite expensive for GM.

  6. If the Swedish government were to step in and save SAAB (if that is necessary) it would be hard to comprehend why they didn’t do it months ago before huge sums of money were expended on the process that got things to this point, not to mention the anguish that SAAB’s employees have had to endure. It could only be desribed as bizzare if it the Swedish Government did so,

    As Swade notes, GM has made it clear that they are not going to accommodate SAAB. It is up to SAAB to come up with a plan that accommodates GM’s interests as they exist within the agreements between SAAB and GM. If GM’s objections to a viable deal are friviolous or ill-founded, it would seem that that is something the court should consider.

    • In hindsight, Saab should have entered reconstruction last spring, right after the first production halt. That way it could have conserved cash, and perhaps it would have made the process easier to emerge from.

      Seems to me that swegov is the only possible current alternative likely to be acceptable to GM. If they were to do it, it should be a ‘shock and awe’ type approach. Half assing it will not work.

      In other words, nationalize it, turn it around, and re privatise it.

      I doubt that there is the political willpower to do it.


  7. Good to see you, Swade! Of course we all wish it were under different circumstances. I’m keeping calm, carrying on, Griffining Up, and crossing my fingers…

  8. I keep seeing these references to Ford. Someone out there must be aware of the terms and conditions. Just saying Ford did is all well and good but how?

    Were any details made public?

    One salient difference is that Ford did not have an “interim” company with many, many side deals and abstractions to complicate swinging a deal.

    Part of the “logic” that was used in the bail out of other companies is that our constitution requires a business climate that is free from monopoly like organizations. An excuse perhaps but it was part of the logic.

    Amongst the “brain-trust” here (no sarcasm intended), what were the main points of the Ford deal that allowed it to succeed?

  9. It really bothers me that GM can have it both ways. You can’t sell Saab and still have a say in what they do. Once you sold the company, that’s it. And the Swedish government should call them out on this. They should look after their citizens.

    It’s really pathetic no one is standing up for the hard working people of Saab. The government could have tried harder.

    VM did.

    • If there is something in this whole drama I don’t understand it must be the position of the Swedish Government. It sets the tone for the entire process. SAAB is treated in their home country like some shitty little company which has no meaning or merit whatsoever and they expect foreigners to save and invest billions of SEK in an operation that’s located in Sweden.

      Haven’t they been able to figure out by now how much they’re going to lose in tax revenues alone if the company goes under? YM would make it possible to start selling Saabs in China right away. What could a new group that picks up a bankrupt company do? They’d probably need to put 5 times more money than the Chinese into a car manufacturer that’s name is something like ‘previously known as-SAAB’, to have any kind of chance…
      Not going to happen.
      It’s even possible that Volvo/Geely leaves the state thanks to all this, after which Sweden has to import ALL of its passenger vehicles that are worth billions. Money right out of the country. Don’t these people understand what that does to the economy in the long run?

      I just don’t get it. It is a disgrace.

  10. I can understand GM’s stance on IP, but as to being competition to their own models world wide, please, That shouldn’t even be an issue.

    I do agree that if Ford can sell Volvo to Geely/the Chinese, GM can too.
    Ford successfully sold all the PAG brands that were bought under Nasser’s tenure & are alive & well under their respective new owners.
    Yet GM can not or will not allow this to happen & may further prove to be the Kings of automotive brand shutdown. Though in Saab’s case, indirectly & directly. GM has become part of Saab’s problem to secure it’s future & GM isn’t participating into helping Saab have a future.

    Something I would like to know is the development progress on the Phoenix platform. How close is it to becoming a production vehicle(new 9-3)? Is there a stretched version of this platform for a next gen. 9-5??
    I think the sooner Saab is able to cut ties w/GM, the better.
    I don’t really want to see Saab under Chinese ownership/control. Much rather see Saab as it independent self.

    I wish Warren Buffet &/or Bill Gates would come to the table to help save Saab.


  11. These comments are difficult to read. I can’t believe it has come down to this. Hoping for the best. Come on Sweden, this car company is too important to lose, please don’t let it happen.

  12. All through this process the Swedish government have been useless. If I were a Swede I would be seriously pissed off. The parallels that people use on here are dead right, GM made monster mistakes in product development that left them BROKE, only a huge injection from the US government kept them afloat, and now they can kill a brand in a similar position to their own. Shame on the Swedish government for not assisting sooner…… I fear we are at the end now!

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