Saab, the recievers and a ticking clock…

All of us who are watching the fate of Saab have been given only few news of what is going on since Saab declared bankrupcy. Somehow this silence is annoying, but on the other hand one might think that this is a sign that a lot of things are going on behind the scenes. But as we learned from various statements not even those who are concerned and threatened directly by the bankrupcy, like employees/unions and suppliers get the information they are looking for. Like them, I am not too happy about that to say the least. Not that I’d vote to make the whole process public but there are some who deserve to get information.

Today ttela published an interview with Fredrik Sidahl, CEO of FKG and Lars Holmqvist, CEO of CLEPA. They go pretty hard on the recievers for various reasons. Again, one is the lack of information, along with the question why the recievers didn’t follow Youngman’s invitation to China. The most likely answer may be that the recievers are still too busy examining Saab’s assets to get an overview and to estimate the company’s value. This took a long time for as I understand it they are just about to talk to the interested parties. True, this is the biggest bankrupcy in Sweden for a long time but if you face such a task you’d have to get there with appropriate manpower. Obviously this was not the case from the beginning as a third reciever was appointed just a few days ago.

This is not to say that the recievers are doing a bad work in general. It is a good thing if they do things step by step but still they have to keep the timeline in mind. Every day makes it more expensive to restart Saab and every day more employees find a new job and are in that case lost for Saab. So it is important to find someone who is familiar with Saab’s case. Youngman would be one who surely knows the details, but according to their own statement Brightwell have also been monitoring Saab for half a year. This might make them another candidate. I have no idea how much info Mahindra has gotten by now. At first sight they might be the best option but it may take too much time to get a deal done. But still, you never know…

I’d tend to believ that each of those three possible suitors would be wise to keep production in Sweden. If they spend lots of money on a heritaged brand it does not make sense to move production and spoil the image. Of course Youngman for example could start production in China for the local and some asian markets but even Mercedes imports everything above a base E-Class into China because it would be considered not worthy enough if not too cheap.

But still, even if we see a relatively quick sale of Saab we have to face the reality that it won’t restart by just pressing a button. This will take time for various reasons. You have to re-employ people, get the line ready, re-engage the supply chain and dealer network to name just a few. A huge task that could easily take a year. Still, this is not the big problem if a suitor brings on enough money. And honestly, I’d prefer a later, well organized restart to a hectic action that brings us back to where we are now within a few months.

The other stumbling block still is GM. In order to have models to build anybody would have to get licensing. I personally could imagine this may work with an old model like the current 9-3 but I have some doubts that GM would ever give licenses for the 9-5 ot 9-4x, given how they acted in the past months. The right buyer with deep pockets could even overcome those problems and put all efforts in future models. As much as I’d like to get a 9-4x personally, a real, complete restart could have many benefits, too. And if you wanted to do this, the moment is now. Sure it would cost a lot of money but those who want to take over Saab now must look at the long term chances. If you transform Saabs heritage into modern cars you will surely sell enough to make profit. In a world of boring cars there is definetely a space for Saab.

There is still alot of hope for Saab and I honestly have no favourite suitor among the three that were mentioned up to now – until we know better, I think we all should be open to all options. Never ever give up. Saab may be different when all this is over but after all, this does not have to be a bad thing.

13 thoughts on “Saab, the recievers and a ticking clock…”

  1. Thanks for a good writing and summary of the situation. I agree in your conclusion and like your sentence about a space for Saab in a world of boring cars! 🙂
    I will try to keep up hope, still some time!! 🙂

    • I’d like to think there is a space for Saab in a world of EXCELLENT high quality cars that even the middle class can afford!

  2. A well-known Swedish lawyer told me at the time of the bancruptcy that he was very surprised to see the quality of the appointed recievers.
    Accordscentralen would have been the ONLY wise partner in a bankruptcy this size. It seams like he was right.

    The question remains how was behind the appointments…. guess we will never know.

  3. Hi everyone, new to the comment area but a long time reader of saabsunited.

    I really do belive that saab will survive and prosper in the future, It just have to.
    They allways hav done so and will continue to do so :-).

    I think the best thing for saab now is to find a suitor that is prepered to leave gm behind and focus on the new phoenix platform, cut all ties to gm once and for all.
    Whitout gm saab has a chance to prosper once more. I think youngman is the choice to have since they will likley put all effort on phoenix. If a suitor keep some ties to gm that will only mean problems in the future.

  4. Till, I really think you should write a book! Your writings are always so spot on with very well balanced views and sensible opinions. Never a bad word and always very perceptive. Keep them coming!
    And a good morning from the UK too!

  5. Doubt it would happen but I’d like to see Youngman and Brightwell go into Saab in a partnership. Youngman would give Saab access to the Chinese market and Saab would return the favour by allowing Youngman to make use of the Phoenix platform. I don’t know much about Brightwell, but they have the backing of the Turkish Government which is a good sign and I believe that they are a rather environmentally aware company, so they would be a good fit for Saab on that front.

  6. I think here in the U.S., the term “Sunshine Laws” refers to orders that mandated openess with any meetings impacting the public. This sort of thing might have to be open to the public—-transcripts at a bare minimum. The problem with not allowing public access to meetings like this is simple: It opens the door to corruption. If there is no transparancy, God only knows what is being said in those rooms—if money is changing hands—-if decisions that are not in the public interest are being “bought” by somebody with their own motives. If I understand this correctly, upwards of 3000 people are losing jobs with the factory closing. And the businesses that are supported by the employees (diners for lunch, local gas stations, etc.) also pay the price when a big business goes under. Is there anyone who WANTS this to happen? Undoubtedly, yes. Whatever is being discussed—-needs to be public.

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