It was a quiet weekend when it comes to news. Time to lean back and relax a bit while some teams around the world are surely working overtime again. There are just nine days left until February ends, until the day whwn the receivers aim to take a decision. Honestly I am not too sure if we will see a final deal on that day, because up to now we have just seen indicative bids with the exception of Youngman. More likely by that day there will be two or three serious parties who have to go through the last details.
For all of us it has been an exhausting mix of absolute highs and lows in the past 12 months. Geneva 2011 was maybe the absolute high with the presentation of the Phoenix, the 9-4x and the 9-5 SC. I’ve been there and felt the optimism and positiveness at a peak just before the production stop brought us down again. As we know now this was only the entry to an even bigger rollercoaster than in 2009/2010. What we ended up now is a very unfortunate situation as it is bankrupcy but there is another side to that. I feel that we have a stronger field of bidders than ever and through that a huge range of opportunities where Saab could go.
First there is Youngman, They’ve been with us for a while, tried various deals and did not get it done. Their biggest problem so far was GM and while they were creative in their adapted plan they brought on another hurdle with BAIC. Not the best starting point but they will of course continue their efforts as they already spent quite a bit of money into Saab. They are said to be back in Sweden today. Despite their statements I am not too sure about their startegy for Saab and Trollhättan.
Then we have Brightwell. They have been talking quite a bit to the press, with the most interesting statement being that they are talking to GM. The other interesting statement is that they have strong backers. I think they are honest about that and in combination with Alphan Manas’ aim to make the world better through the investment in future products they are of course very interesting. No use for them to move from Trollhättan, they understand the connection between brand and origin. It’s a completely different entry than our next party.
Mahindra&Mahindra. Also very interesting. Don’t follow the conclusions that they only want technology or just want to build electric cars. They want all of Saab to solve many needs they have. A boost in R&D, a heritaged brand that opens them the doors to Europe and the US, a distribution network. I said it before, Saab would fit them like a glove if Saab is able to integrate itself into the organization. The reward would be new opportunities to take huge influence on M&M’s automotibve sector and grow to their top brand. The suppliers within the M&M group can step into the cracks in the supply chain. No need to move the operations from Trollhättan as they already are a worldwide organization.
Here is where we leave the known bidders. “A car manufacturer from Europe” is the next on the list. It has been said that they want to produce their own cars together with Saabs on a shared platform in Trollhättan. Could be an option that may work if the technology centres are to a degree kept in friendly competition to diversify the brands. Common core values are ok but still there has to be a difference. Interesting scenario for sure but the question is how much of Saabs structures is needed when similar things are already there.
The most vague thing on the list is the Swedish consortium. It appeared in a few articles but they seem to have experience to remain under the radar as they never really were hinted. I’ll leave it up to you to draw your conclusions how it could be. And no, it’s not Volvo.
Those were five, the receivers talked about six or seven interested parties. It could of course be BAIC and I have heared about other possibilities but I’d not want to start more rumors. There are enough already. This is also a reason why we here tend to leave out a report that pops up here or there. But if there is some definete misinterpretation we will step up to correct it. But a few parties in that game want their secrecy and to a degree we respected that and we still will. This whole process is very sensible and we don’t want to interfere in a negative way. You get your hints, don’t worry but with only nine days to go please be patient stay buckled up and hold tight. We’re on the home stretch and it looks good.