The last few weeks have been incredibly trying for anyone with a soft spot for Saab. Tensions are at an all time high, and considering what a rollercoaster these last few months have been, I’d advise everyone to take a trip to their cardiologists once a plan is released. That plan is just about ready for it’s moment in the spotlight.
You’ll notice I carefully chose not to use the word deal. There’s reasons for that, mainly that there are many definitions that differ depending one’s viewpoint. While many commenters here loathe the word MOU, the main reason that the ones in the past have faltered is because they were set up in a vacuum of reality. Had a properly vetted MOU been agreed upon, there would only have needed to be one and we wouldn’t be suffering through the fatigue we’re experiencing now. Many people here won’t be satisfied until a final deal is signed. That’s fine, but understand that any agreement going forward has been checked and double checked with relevant parties to make sure that there are no remaining snags. The parties have been working non-stop behind the scenes to ensure that the agreement is as solid as possible before it moves forward.
All that work seems to be nearing it’s logical completion as this is being written. Whatever you want to call it, the souffle that is Plan B appears to be rising well. Whereas all the other MOUs deflated nearly instantly after being pulled from the oven, this one was crafted from the beginning with a much better chance of withstanding the cold reality of the approval process it will be subjected to. People have guessed the deal on their own in comments yesterday, it hasn’t been that hard to hone in on it. If you still can’t figure it out from all the hints, dig through them, you’ll find an approximation. I’m not going to violate anyone’s trust who have confided in me to keep details private– SU isn’t the place for that (edit: DI is apparently the place for that, as after I posted this they’ve spilled all the info they have about the deal- though their unnamed source has some of his info wrong since he can’t get an actual meeting with GM, I’m not shocked). The moment we can give details not only will we explain the process but we’ll have the deepest coverage of what the terms mean and why they’re the way they are. Know that it’s the best offer that could possibly be crafted for the company to regain stability and get back on its feet given the circumstances.
Understandably, we’re all nervous. Weeks ago, I told everyone that SU would do its best to remain as clear as possible and steer away from the minefield of coverage that is being hurled at concerned dealers, customers, and creditors and try to provide as much of the real story as possible. From the very start of the Chinese deals, we cautioned not to put too much stock in a 100% transfer of ownership to eastern parties. We raised warning flags about shady behavior on the part of the administrator. Despite being accused of playing sides, we went out of our way to interview everyone at the table, not just one particular group so we could draw our own conclusions at the most likely outcome. Contrary to popular belief, our primary sources have not been Victor, and some might even be surprised if it was ever revealed where we gleaned the most reliable information. Needless to say, it’s checked and double checked before we report.
Through all of this, it hasn’t been easy to maintain a united front as writers here with a consistent approach to coverage, and for that I apologize. I only can control what I write. My stance has always been that I don’t care if SU is first to report a story, just that we get the story right. I’d rather post once a week and have readers get an accurate picture than post every single news article that’s published. At other sites and news outlets today, you’ll no doubt read an article claiming that Pang Da is looking at trying to come up with new ownership structures (way off) or that there is some hope in GM approving a deal with majority Chinese ownership (say what?). Perhaps we’ll have another installment in the unfolding travel series Guy Lofalk Tours the East Coast (ugh). As we read this morning, Saab has communicated that they expect Youngman to cover salaries with a payment today (this confirms news I found out about two days ago, a good sign). Rapport spoke with Lars Holmqvist who as far as I know is the first to publicly confirm the percentage GM will allow for an OEM which we’ve known for some time– 20%. The only thing that is clear right now is the plan involving the players we’ve discussed for some time is firming up. Hopefully you all appreciate me trying to provide only the most salient commentary I can as opposed to flooding you with info for you to decipher on your own.
Some commenters here like to play armchair quarterback, assuming he or she could craft a better solution to the problems Saab faces than the current management. Many are quick to blame Victor Muller for the situation, and no doubt he shares a fair share of criticism. What’s frustrating is to see those same voices then write him off on the basis of those mistakes. I’m of the firm belief that it’s not about how you fall down, it’s how you pick yourself back up. And pick himself up he has. I can tell you first hand that I’ve never witnessed a harder working person with as much ingenuity and improvisational ability as Victor Muller. We’re often criticized at SU for being a Victor Muller fanzine or worship site, and obviously while that’s hyperbole, I’ll be the first to admit that he has gone above and beyond to ensure that the company pull through. The partners he has chosen are not some fly by night entity. Please be cautious in your criticism without knowing the full story. Everyone at the negotiating table has been vetted several times over, and all are aware of each others capabilities and interests in pursuing this deal.
Having said that, I’m closing comments which will surely upset many of you (awwwww). The reason I’m closing comments isn’t to avoid criticism– I can handle whatever you want to sling my way, feel free to email us directly even. I also appreciate reading comments and believe they’re important to the spirit and tone of the site. But just this once, I’m asking for some restraint by turning them off. Please don’t take this as an invitation to go invade another post to reflect on the contents of this article. Instead, I’d rather you read this over and reflect on your previous comments, and save your constructive insights for the announcement. As I’ve said many times this week, thank you for your patience through this ordeal. Use the day to to take a moment to think about why you come to SU in the first place. Is it to vent anger or frustration at this process? Is it to gain an inside perspective? Or is it just to feel part of a community of other like minded people who want to believe that Saab still has a future? As we reach the final stage of negotiations, I hope that it’s the latter, and that we can all get back to sharing the pride and love we have for our cars very, very soon.