I followed the Saab saga from the centre of the storm for a long time. Lots of info came to my ears even before they were in the news, quite a bit of it was too hot to be published. It was a continuous quest for information and I was online nearly 24 hours a day. We were on a mission, trying to do our share to Saab’s fight for survival. The more I dug into things the more great people I met and the more I wanted to fight for Saab. Ever since I came to SaabsUnited my love for Saab has grown stronger. Just like you say that the love of a married couple growsthrough tough times I identified myself with Saab more and more. Around here I am known as the quirky guy who loves that Swedish brand. And I like to be. Still.
What makes me really sad is that GM let Saab work on a solution they knew they would never accept. I did not really blame GM for asking Saab to stick to the contracts and leave any ownership change below 20%. That was their right. But as they came out with the statement that they won’t accept any involvement of a Chinese company, be it ownership, a loan or whatever they stepped a bit too far. At least for me. The way things have gone with a greedy Pang Da trying to take over 100%, first with Geely and then with Youngman, have surely added their bit to GM’s decision but I strongly believe that SAIC had their say in this. They did not want a competitor to rise in the Chinese market that is now threatened by consolidation. I have no evidence for this but to me it’s logical. But the thing that upsets me most about GM is that they did not clearly state this three, four, five or even ten months ago. Victor would not have followed the Chisese path so eagerly if he had known about this.
Coming to Victor – he surely has made some mistakes in the past two years but if it had not been for him, Saab had been dead and gone two years ago. He fought for Saab, even beyond the point where he had to fear personal monetary losses because he still saw a chance to avoid bankrupcy. The hurdles he has faced in this fight (GM, Lofalk, SweGov…) were high enough to let many quit, he still went on. That is what I’d like to thank him for. It is not often that a CEO who meets his employees to inform them about a bankrupcy is welcomed with applause. He was. And despite the current situation I feel that he deserves it.
Besides Victor there are a lot of people I’d like to thank for their tenacity. Youngman, who stayed in there until they could not justify another investment (I don’t blame them), the employees who stayed on board and among other things developed the next 9-3 further and further. All the local teams who went out on the dealer tours and re-created faith among the customers. All dealers who kept Saab in their portfolio…
I won’t even waste a word on the others who actively contributed to Saabs bankrupcy. I just hope Old Nick will take good care of them when their time has come.
To come back to the title – about six weeks ago I was talking to Tim and told him that even bankrupcy contains a chance for survival. My point was that in such a scenario, when debts are written down, investors may show up to pick up the company and get it up again without facing such a huge amount of debt. We heared about three interested parties who already showed up. At least they had enough time to prepare for this day. So I hope there will be one among them who can get things up and running. It’s, as before, mostly up to the amount of money someone is willing to invest. If the cash is there, everything is possible.
Yes, I belive there is still a reason for hope. And I won’t give up hope. Not yet.