News spiced with rumors snippets

I have been looking through the news that pop up in the Swedish press today and decided that it would be best to put a few of the more interesting ones together in a snippets post for a quick overview. managed to talk to Zamier Ahmed of Brightwell Holdings. He landed in Stockholm yesterday and will further go to Gothenburg and Trollhättan to meet the receivers as well as his team, which works on site to make due dilligence and work out the bid. This may still take a bit, as he states the the bid will not be made during his stay but it is “not too far away”. Here’s an interesting bit of the interview.

Why do you want to acquire Saab, is not it a huge uphill battle?
“I think it could be a very successful business if it’s led and financed right,” said Ahmed Zamier and get back to what he considers to be a fantastic product and a brand with “a tremendous legacy.”

Brightwell Holdings’ financial muscle has been questioned in the media. But critics dismiss Zamier Ahmed.

“We have been very successful in the acquisitions we have made,” he says, not wanting to name who the investors behind the company are.

“We also have support from the government, that we have in all projects. It is mostly about moral support. ”

How much would you invest in Saab?
“We’re talking about several hundred million Euro.”

Brightwell Holdings discussions with GM, which owns the rights to the critical technology licenses, continuing as Zamier Ahmed.

What do you think about the end, how will the situation be in three months?
“Until then, I think the best man will have won. Whoever does the best for Saab will win Saab. The company must remain intact. If it is fragmented there is no Saab left.”

This last sentence is pretty important if you want to judge their attitude towards Saab. They want the complete package. And don’t get too much on the fact that he is not disclosing his investors. Noone would do that, at least not in this state of the process.

Ttela took a look on the supplier situation. So far only Youngman have been in talks with suppliers regarding a possible restart of production which is no surprise as they already placed their bid and now have some spare time in Sweden. Ttela spoke to Fredrik Sidahl of FKG:

He explains that both FKG with 75 member companies and the European supplier CLEPA organization with 550 member companies are prepared to do whatever they can to facilitate a restart of production of the Saab factory.

– But the earliest point it would be possible, if there is a solution soon, this summer. Actually, it is plate for cars with the longest lead time. Saab has a special mix of metal and it would take about twelve weeks before they can start shipping again.

What has to be mentioned is that there are some suppliers that already went out of business or closed their facilities close to Saab. One example is Lear, who completely disassembled their seat manufacturing site completely. So a number of parts have to be sourced through new channels. But anyway, good to see that the suppliers still have hope.

Now on to another piece from ttela. There have been some rumors about German interest in Saab and so ttela gave it a try by calling BMW and VW asking for a comment:

When TTELA reaches BMW spokesman in Munich, Markus Sagesman, he has this to say.

– It is not the case at present, but I need to check with my colleague in charge of matters relating to Saab.

After checking with the matter again, he says.

– No, there are no such plans currently.

Next: Wolfsburg.

But when TTELA talking to spokeswoman Christina Ritz at its headquarters in Wolfsburg, the answer is negative.

– It is our policy to never comment on rumors, she says, but adds that this track is not something to put energy into.

No too hard to understand why they called those two. Saabs plan was to use a BMW engine for the next 9-3 while Ferdinand Piech himseld once stated that one had to look if Saab would fit the VW puzzle. Ttela gave those rumors a try and got two denials here but of course may be many who have taken a look and but will not show up to place a bid. And even if they are up to something in secrecy, they will not jump the gun just because the local newspaper calls.

For now let’s stick to those whose names we already know. Too many names and rumors are already out there and many are not even wirth the pixels they are made of.

89 thoughts on “News spiced with rumors snippets”

  1. if BMW did a saab it would not look right over priced for the uk marke,t if you look at what BMW did to the mini its such ashame it looks so ugly now and nothing Like the origanal looked in any way

  2. As I have said before, I would love BMW to acquire Saab.

    Saab would not cannibalize to much on BMW’s current brands. Instead it would get potential VW/Audi customers to buy a Saab.

    I’m not interested in anything BMW can offer as a replacement for my not yet built 9-5 SC, I respect their cars but they don’t appeal to me. I would however consider something from Audi. I have a couple of friends that went with Audi instead of waiting for the new 9-5 SC (they did that already when the factory was up and running but not ready to produce the new 9-5 SC yet). They are happy with their choice but would get back in to a Saab the minute their lease expires.

    BMW would strengthen Saab’s image in a way that no other potential buyer can.

    • Oddly, my family was driving a BMW from 1999-2003, 316 E36, 318 E48, 320 E46(love the VANOS engine), made the switch to the previous gen S40 T4, and in 2006 to the 9-3 2.0t, i gotta say, BMWs are great, but a Saab just offers much more value and fun for the price(got mine low priced as it was a showroom test car).

      What pisses me off is the fact that BMW, who never believed in Turbocharging technology is currently pushing its Turbocharged engines, as though they were the ones who pioneered the technology. If they take over Saab, it causes more harm than good to us. We can no longer count on small turbos as a selling point.

      Just hope Saab gets back quickly, we would love to get any new Saab ASAP.

          • I have an E36 BMW (325i). It’s a wonderful car, really well made and amazing to drive ON DRY ROADS. It stays in the garage if snow is in the forecast. As far as the video goes—-the guy is actually lucky that the M5 got stuck where it did. If he made it out of the driveway, no doubt he would have wrecked it. If you need a year round car—-buy a Saab.

            • Yes, it probably would have been better to make ads about Swedish driving characteristics or special metal mix in Saab body parts, instead of using all that ‘She’s not for you’, paper plane flying ants on ice cubes stuff… but what do I know 😉

      • Metalhead said:

        BMW actually beat Saab to market by 5-6 years with a production turbocharged car; the 2002 used a turbocharged version of the M10 engine that BMW raced in DTM. The cars ran like crap so BMW sought help from Bosch, and engineers from both developed the engine management system (although crude) that later became Motronic. The early turbo model 2002s had scores of issues, so few were sold and BMW stopped making them after a few years.

        BMW went away from turbos because they started putting larger displacement engines in the cars, and the cars themselves started getting bigger. Now that the reverse is happening, and carmakers are wising up to market forces, I believe small turbocharged engines will actually be a MAJOR selling point.

    • Audi’s are for people who aren’t tall… at 6’2 , and 225 lbs I feel like I am in a clown car in any Audi…I don’t get the appeal…. but then its the same feeling in a Honda/Toyota/BMW.

  3. plus: Aircraft heritage all over the place….not only Saab was born from Jets 🙂
    Well….if BH has all the money they are talking about PLUS they get GM to licence production this would be great. BMW can still be a supplier for New Saab 🙂

  4. With all of the debate and disagreement over who—–I do think there is a concensus of “WHEN” and that is “as soon as possible.” Realistically, for Saab to survive as a whole—-anything close to resembling the company they have been—-a sale must be executed within weeks. Has anyone heard any of the receivers talk about time? Deadline? Goal? Isn’t it true that if they want to sell in pieces, the longer they can string this out, the easier it will be for them to say “We tried to sell as a whole, but it’s now impossible.”??? We’re watching an unnecessary death in my opinion. I understand their need to keep some details confidential, but I also fear that they are able to influence this process and push the outcome to one that we might not like—-without being intellectually honest about what they are really doing.

  5. I happen to have some experience with the process of making requests for bids and answering them (contracts in the millions of dollars, though not hundreds of millions). For those of you who think deadlining prospective respondees isn’t possible because of the legal work involved, vetting, etc.—-wrong. If those receivers issue a public statement saying bids for Saab as a whole are due in 4 weeks—-they will have competitive bids in four weeks. When a company wants something, they move mountains with their lawyers and executives to get it. If we end up hearing that “Too much time has passed, it’s now more realistic to sell Saab in pieces.” we are going to know that we (along with thousands of people out of work) were, pardon the French, “screwed over.”

  6. If Chrysler could have pulled it off with their inferior products, there is no reason – other than the Swedish Government meddling and lack of assistance of GM and after when when those entities needed help – that Saab could not stood the same position.

    • With the exception of the Chrysler 200 and minivans, what’s left of their lineup is VERY impressive. I had the opportunity to drive the new 300 while my Viggen was getting repaired, and actually fell in love with the car. Its an excellent vehicle. In fact, its on my short list of replacement vehicles… I’m waiting out to see what eventually happens with Saab because if I don’t go with a new 9-5, a 300s will certainly assume its place.

      The Dodge group probably has the best portfolio of vehicles right now out of Detroit’s Big 3… and people are noticing. Dodge group (Dodge, Chrysler, RAM, Jeep) sales were up 44% in January. The Dodge Charger, Dodge Challenger, Durango, Dart… all excellent vehicles. Jeep has a grand slam with the all new Grand Cherokee, and they can’t make enough of the 300s.

      • The upcoming Dart might be a class leader—-import or domestic, in the U.S. Also—-I think what FIAT did with the 200 (Sebring) was a small miracle. Yes, it’s the same basic car—-but if feels more expensive. I sat in one at the car show. The minivans still sell quite well.

  7. How much would you invest in Saab?
    “We’re talking about several hundred million.”

    So…? So there won’t be any billions? I wonder if that’s enough.

    • Yes Euros. Youngman’s bid always was reported in Kronor so it got multi billion…

      Those Google monkees typing the translations have a habit of removing currencies. Missed it this time.

    • No, it will not be enough, especially not if it get smeared out over a couple of years and has to provide for new product development.
      I’m sorry, but I’m getting more and more the feeling that Brightwell just sees this as a short term investment. If successful, great, if not, well just recoup your investment. My crystal ball(s) tell me that, if Brightwell takes over, Saab will end up in the same dire situation 2 or 3 years from now.
      What is needed is a new mother company that is in it for the long run. This company should make Saab part of its company structure, so that they cannot just drop Saab without serious consequences. The only serious consequence that an investment company like Brightwell faces is the loss of a couple of hundred million Euros.

  8. The supplier situation looks very dire indeed. I especially felt bad about Lear when I read it – the seats were one of the most important components in Saab cars to me. It was my understanding the seats were in a meaningful way different from what other automakers ordered, at least they felt like that.

    I do hope Lear is prepared to go back into the business should a buyer be found, and restart production of Saab seats at another locations, or resume local assembly.

    • I think Saab should make the seats themselves in order to stay the best in business and never ever having to compromise. It’s always been their USP. It can’t cost that much to have a small shop near the factory?

      • As per seat assembly. Heard a rumor regarding another company not being Lear. I summon 1+1=2, thus this rumor gave me the sense of another company might be working on a plan for building the seats, if/whenever a new company starts building cars in Trollhättan. So I am confident the seat issue is “solved” and should be working out fine if so needed. Fingers crossed for all parties involved in getting cars to roll out of the Saab factory again, no matter what they will be called. Saab is surely the preferred name, but Phoenix maybe also could do as a symbol of a new era.. And with the Saabs united site I am confident that in sooner than nothing, the entire world would be aware of that the Trollhattan built cars to come are actually
        “camouflaged” Saab cars now renamed…
        Fingers Crossed!!

    • I don’t know the technical reasons for it—-I won’t pretend to be an engineere by any means—–but all I could say is that after long trips in my 2004 9-5, I feel great. The seats are supportive, comfortable, sized generously (I’m six feet tall). I never find myself moving around trying to get comfortable. My 1988 Peugeot 505 also had spectacularly comfortable seats for long drives. I’ve owned several Cadillacs as well as many other cars—-still have a BMW 3 Series. The Saab and Peugeot are the two best and it’s not close.

    • I worked for Lear for several years before they went bankrupt in 2009. Their european operations were taking a big hit from the meltdown of GM and Chrysler/Ford, not just in the US but also in Europe (think Opel, Jaguar, LandRover, etc). They were winding down operations in most european markets by 2009 when the company folded. Most of their operations are focusing in Honduras and Asia, thanks to strong growth from Hyundai/Kia group and China. We moved to a JIT model because maintaning operations for a specific vendor is prohibitely expensive. What happens now is that the seats (TRIM operations all in Mexico) are made then shipped to the vendor site, where they are assembled. It seems contradictory but we were able to save millions a month in operating/labor/etc cost. We made seats for all the Ford and GM brands, and I have to say that the SAAB seats are the most comfortable and best made seats that we made back then, probably next to the seats made for Porsche and BMW

        • Well there are tons of variables. One is if the supplier channel gets rebuilt, will Lear want to engage in a contract with the new owner. Second, depending of the terms of the contract, will the new owners want JIT or not? Third, will they agree to have on-site (or near site) manufacturing and distribution? Labor contracts (Lear is unionized) etc then come into play. Then setting up tooling, production lines, IT infrastructure (my former division) and many more things come into play. It is possible, it all depends on money. From experience, working with Euro unions is very expensive, so given the current state I would guess to venture that they wouldnt at this time. But again all this is speculative.

          • Somehow I feel Saab owners would be willing to cover the extra costs from an onsite operation if they’d be able to customize the seats a bit more -colors and materials. I’m still puzzled that you couldn’t get high(er) quality textile in a premium NG 9-5 at any cost from the factory.
            There was no cloth option for the Aero seats at all, even though leather is not automatically considered the better choice in Europe.
            Maybe the former Lear staff should get together and start a new company if Saab production continues in THN.

            • I would have to say impossible. Launching an operation of that scope is tens of millions of dollars. When we were booming with the SUV craze in the 2000s, we opened about 10 plants in Mexico. Aside from labor costs, each plant, on avg 150K sq ft, 30 lines and 20 docks, ran about $15M USD. And this is Mexico, where materials and labor is much cheaper (building materials, shipping, etc).

              • Would it, perhaps, be viable to produce all seat components in Mexico (or someplace like that), have them shipped to THN and have a Saab department (maybe ex-Lear people working for Saab?) assemble them into ready-to-mount product? That way Lear could circumvent the union aspect.


  9. Some suppliers will be a problem but Lear can supply seats from their other factories. The cost of shipping will be higher.

    Curiously, Lear seats were previously made by Saab. Saab sold their seat making department to Lear 10-20 years ago.

    • Correct, this was way back when Lear wasnt known as Lear but as the Automotive Group, then FAVESA, then Lear Seating Systems, and finally Lear Corporation

  10. BMW and Saab? Just doesn’t make sense for me. Why would a premium car maker with excellent reputation buy a bankrupt semi-premium car maker with questionable reputation? Unless they keep the assets but get rid of the brand…

    • BMW and Saab does make sense. BMW has a gap between the MINI and BMW. There is no larger than MINI FWD car. Some think BMW shouldn’t build FWD cars under the BMW name but having a MINI that doesn’t look like a MINI Cooper is odd. Saab would fit in.

      On the other hand, BMW probably just wants the Saab name, not the factory and past debts. BMW would probably be more interested in buying parts of Saab, such as the factory building and some tooling. They would want to use their own engineers so that the new 9-3 would be similar to a BMW 3 series except FWD.

  11. Pure speculation really. Oh by the way, they should have each party, be privy to the bids of the other parties, so they can place a counter bid, instead of having to deal with confidentiality agreements.

  12. It has been reported that BMW maintains relatively high profit margins on its cars. SAAB has not maintained very good profit margins. Most companies are not interested in adding a product line that diminishes their financial ratios. SAABs have sold at large discounts for years, so SAAB customers will have to accept paying higher prices that result in high profit margins if the brand is going to be attractive to BMW.

  13. bmw and saab? in this case bmw = premium and saab = what?
    vw and saab? in this case saab will ba a sort of skoda
    i think i like brightwell

  14. New to the Board! Question for those smarter than me. I have 2011 9-3 Aero in US. IF Saab is able to survive with a buyer, does anybody have any idea if we’d get our warranties back or are these out the window due to the bancruptcy??


  15. Brightwell only wants to invest several hundred million Euro? That’s not nearly enough to get Saab back up and running, not to mentioned developing a new range of cars.

    It would be a dream for BMW to buy Saab, they would fit perfectly between Mini and BMW and BMW wouldn’t have to go FWD on it’s smaller cars.

    • Indeed, you need big bucks. The only companies that have hinted at spending MAJOR dollars is Youngman and Mahindra. Honestly, anything under $1B in relatively short term commitments wouldn’t be enough.

      I don’t see BMW buying Saab, as doing so would easily cannibalize and overlap throughout BMW’s portfolio. Only enthusiasts would really bother with the FWD vs RWD argument. Here in Miami, ALL BMWs are RWD. However whenever I travel to Chicago, Boston or NYC for business, those winter wonderlands are flooded with AWD BMWs.

      But I could be wrong…

      • I don’t think it’s very likely that BMW would buy Saab either but I don’t agree that there is much overlap, BMW is a large step above Saab in the eyes of most consumers, having a brand at the lower end of the premium price range, more in competition with nicer VW, I think would be a perfect compliment to the brand, and help bridge the large gap between Mini and BMW. I agree the FWD/RWD debate is more enthusiast oriented, especially since they did that study where most 1series drivers think their car is FWD, but bringing in a lower cost FWD brand could allow BMW to stay true to their routes. And as someone who grew up in Chicago and school in NY, there are a lot more RWD BMWs than you might expect.

        • Alex: I like your points—-I agree that keeping BMW as the premium brand and slotting Saab closer to VW would be a great business plan and could be very profitable. But regarding the FWD/RWD debate: I’m far from an enthusiast. I drive at the speed limit (give or take a few MPH!) and I don’t race. But it’s hard to imagine that a driver couldn’t tell if their car was FWD or RWD. I’ve been driving since 1979—-generally, I can tell when I accelerate into a turn (especially a bumpy one) if the front wheels are pulling the car. The sensation of being pulled or pushed—-but especially feedback from the steering wheel after a day driving—-hard to believe they wouldn’t know.

  16. The Brightwells are in Sweden, BAIC are in Sweden, Victor is in Sweden.
    Youngman and Mahindra, are they here too?
    Three weeks left of february and the battle are about to begin…

  17. I think that Brightwell is the best fit. They’ve the money. But most important they can fill in, with existing models, the time which is needed to produce real new cars. If we have to wait on others with no licenses from GM, all suppliers, all dealers, the complete chain has moved somewhere else, before the first new SAABlikes enter the market. We are not waiting for that, is my opinion.

    • 1) I think they have less money available than Youngman or Mahindra. Didn’t Brightwell just talk about committing 300 million dollars? That is less than the figures others have claimed to plan for.
      2) We don’t know if they can fill in with existing models. My opinion is that if for some reason, GM is willing to play ball with them (but not the others), there will be conditions that most of us won’t be happy with. For example—-GM might let Brightwell produce the 9-5 and 9-4, provided they are not offered for sale in markets where General Motors is selling the Lacrosse and SRX.
      Short answer is that we don’t have enough information to make accurate proclamations here—-but enough tidbits to have gut feelings. My own gut feeling is that Brightwell has plans for Saab technology that might not translate to cars for sale around the globe—-also, I see them as painfully inexperienced and possibly underfunded. When I heard the 300 million dollars figrure tossed out—-I had a vision of what we’ve just been through the past two years—-not enough money to get the job done.

      • Angelo: yes, they may have less money, but show me how to overcome the time-gap of SAAB-emptyness – whithout GM licenses – for the next periods to come. (do you unserstand what i am saying). If we find that answer, i’ll be in for others. And sure i agree, “no more GM steering on the weels”, let that be clear, but…..
        I rather gamble for Brightwell for this moment than a world without SAAB, or what ever will come of the mark.

        • Do we have confirmation then, that Brightwell has license from GM? I believe there can be a world with Saab if Mahnidra or Youngman were to get the brand—-and a much stronger and longer future. Instead of making it an electric boutique brand, I believe these two companies would make it a multi-car line and sell other brands in the Saab dealerships—-something that is sorely needed for stand alone Saab dealers, now or in the future.

        • Also, with all due respect to Saab’s previous owner, now in bankruptcy: There was an apparent miscalculation of how much money it would take to bring Saab to profitability. I hear lobbying from said owner for Brightwell—-and I hear a number thrown out by Brightwell—-300-350 million dollars—-and I fear another miscalculation—-this time terminal—-is about to happen.

          • I’d rather say there was a huge error of judgment how many cars they could sell from the starting point they had in 2010 but probably kept the budget like they were selling twice the numbers for 3 quarters. After which the expenses simply crushed any chance of success when new capital wasn’t/couldn’t be brought in.

            If I were the new owner I’d be very careful with any public statements about any projected sales, profit margins and other estimates. The Swedish press will jump on anything negative in regards to Saab also in the future.
            IMO the whole Saab operations in general needs to be trimmed to withstand and reflect whatever sales figure until the PhoeniX line-up is complete, as no one knows how many Saab buyers would turn up even if GM suddenly decide to license the 9-4X and 9-5 production.

            Spyker/SWAN’s weakness was the fact that they didn’t have any other cash flow than Saab which made it impossible to have a strong brand image or customer confidence unlike a conglomerate that can have 2/3 of the business making huge losses and still do financially fine.
            The bigger and stronger the new owner is the better.

      • BH wouldn’t need so much money if GM plays ball with them. The production of the NG9-5 sedan and the current 9-3 series could be resumed as soon as the supply chain is back in place. No or hardly any adaptations needed here except perhaps a diesel engine for the 9-5. The production of the 9-4X in Mexico can be resumed as well at no or hardly any extra cost (except possibly that diesel but I somehow doubt it will ever materialize), unless GM scrapped the tooling and body part dies. And the 9-5 SC is fully production-ripe, a hundred or more cars have already been built. It only needs assembly line tooling (or maybe that is already there given the number of cars already built) and its various road-going certifications. All these cars would generate turnover for years (only just introduced), especially the 9-5 SC which, I’m pretty sure, would become an instant hit in Europe and specifically in Scandinavia and Holland where everybody wants a station car. The only serious out-of-pocket expenses would be required for the finishing touches to the development of the Phoenix platform and, of course, ensuing development of cars based on it. But until then there would still be money coming in to cover day-to-day operational expenses.

        Other contenders would be faced with much higher capital requirements: the plant and the dealer network must remain operational with only the old 9-3 to sell for at least 2 years and maybe even that would require a lot of extra R&D funding if GM digs its heels in and another powertrain is needed. With only the OG9-3 line-up Saab is sure to operate with huge losses until the new Phoenix 900/9-3 is ready. And even then Saab would still have only one model line (the NG9-3/900 will replace the OG 9-3) so a lot of additional money would be needed for the design and R&D for smaller and/or bigger model lines.

        Anyone who gets GM to nod will be the one who can make money from Saab pretty soon. Without that nod it will take the new owner many years to amortize his multibillion investment, if he ever does.


          • He was actually a lot more vague than that. But who the he!! is James Cain anyway? He also said that GM isn’t talking to anyone about Saab. If he’s right then I wonder who those Turks are talking to in Detroit. And the Turks (in fact, the BH guy Ahmed is from India, it seems 😉 ) said that they weren’t talking to a GM PR officer so no wonder he doesn’t know anything.


  18. BMW would never buy Saab as BMW are already developing a FWD 1 series. Saab needs a few billion dollars to have a chance at succeeding IMO.

  19. I don’t get this ethnicity critics, no offense but still… Some say Indians are best the solution to this picture so that let me remind you Zamier Ahmed himself from BH, shareholder and director, is also an Indian living in London.

  20. BMW is the antithesis of SAAB ….. overt, look-at-me styling and performance. Ultimate Driving Machine …. maybe, but we’re (SAAB) calm, cool and collected, we’re quietly confident and don’t have to compensate for “anything” [grin]

    IMHO, if FIAT bought SAAB and positioned it alongside Abarth and Alfa Romeo; above Fiat, Lancia and Chrysler Group, and below Ferrari and Maserati, wouldn’t that be good ???

  21. Sorry to say this, but ‘the new’ Saab-Spyker had a major problem during its first year – it was not selling enough cars to earn money. It didn’t have anything to do with the products, they were pretty good stuff, maybe it had to do a bit with overpricing, but the major reason was lack of confidence in the company’s sustainablílity (and the related really bad press reporting).

    So question is, can any of thecurrent bidders contribute to Saabs credibility by beeing a safe and trustworthy financier in the long-term so that Saab will remain in business ‘forever’ ? Which company do you think give customers most confidence in the next generation Saab:

    Brightwell Holding?

    • This is an excellent question. And I agree, Mahindra is the only one we know of that could easily convince the automotive press (and thus consumers) that Saab will be around for awhile.

      If it is to be Brightwell, they will have to do some serious public relations work to get the word out about their long-term financial ability to sustain Saab. To be convincing they’re going to need to provide some hard data about who they are, their track record, and how much money they have.

    • The way I see it is this: Saab needs a couple of years to develop their own Phoenix platform. Once they cross that hurdle, Saab will be much less dependent on GM than what is presently the case.

      In turn, that means a future Phoenix-possessing Saab will be more attractive and I expect there will be more potential buyers.

      A year ago, VM faced the challenge of bringing more capital on-board. His job would have been much easier without having a menu filled with stakeholders continuously demanding a word in edgewise.

      All those stakeholders (bar GM) are now gone. The EIB has been paid off. SweGov now owns Saab Parts, but are very eager to sell that operation to the new owner. Hemfosa owns half of the property, but they seem to be reasonable.

      The entity we are discussing now is completely different from the entity we saw a year ago, and it will be completely different from the entity we will see two years down the road. All in all, the challenges are different.

      Those lining up now to bring the business forward are well aware of the challenges and would not want to waste several hundred million euros on something that is likely to fail.

  22. I have worked with Turks, and they are first class people. I have worked with Indians and they are first class people as well. I don’t think that should ever come up in the minds of Saab enthusiants. I think the only issue is who can buy and maintain Saab until it can turn a profit. I would think that would mean 3-4 years of losses. Impression at this minute would be that M+M can do this, and Brightwell might be looking for a buy and flip situation. I hope the court appointees can see that as well. As the Austrian economists said, the true value of a asset should be greater than it current value in the future, or why buy it? If Saab is sold off in pieces, will those pieces be of greater value to the Swedish people in the future, than a whole living Saab?

      • As I understand it, such tactics are not part of BH’s philosophy and there is nothing in their history that indicates they would. In a high-profile investment like this, a buy and flip (assuming you mean the buyer will sell of the parts to earn back his investment plus a nice dividend) would taint their reputation accordingly. Everything indicates that they seem to care about their reputation.

        I understand the desire to try and look at all the angles, but please… Let us refrain from negative speculation just for the sake of being negative. Skepticism — yes, but unfunded pessimism belongs elsewhere ( forums).

        • Sorry, can’t resist to kick this already wide open door even more………..:)

          Although you seem to have a problem with unfunded pessimism you seem to have less problems with condoning unfunded optimism.

          What triggered my skepticism toward Brightwell is their statement that they are prepared to invest a couple of hundred million Euros. I think this is a bit on the low side. Even when they can have GM’s blessing to produce the current models, well, these were hardly selling like hotcakes. With the imploding distribution network it will take a couple of years to crawl out of the hole. A couple of million is not going to sustain this recuperation period _and_ developing new models. That’s my opinion after closely following the Saab story over the last couple of years. If you call that unfunded pessimism then I’m sorry.

          • The articles I have read so far talks about the size of their bid. I do not recall any of them mentioning what BH’s total investment would be limited to.

            Occam’s razor.

            It is unlikely that they would buy what is left of Saab Automobile only to hire some random CEO off the street telling him “here is 20 Euro for a coffee and a bagel, now go make us some cars!”.

            I think everybody understands this, and hence we end up speculating whether they could be vultures instead, wanting to sell the parts separately to gain a profit that way. Which is why I explained that this does not seem to be the way BH do things and I see no reason why they would change now.

            IMO, the burden of proof rests solidly with the nay-sayers on this.

            That does not mean I am not worried nor concerned. I see a pattern in GM’s decision process, and I would love for them to break out of that pattern right about now.

      • As I wrote earlier, Brightwell wouldn’t need nearly as much money to sustain Saab if they can make a deal with GM to continue building the NG9-5 and the 9-5SC alongside the OG9-3 and -possibly- let the assembly of the 9-4X go on in Mexico. If someone has to keep Saab going without the GM models to complement the operational income then they will have to crawl up a -very expensive- steep uphill road.


    • Nope. Mahindra have yet to utter their first public word about Saab. The EV plan would, in my opinion anyway, signify the death of Saab as a car company.


  23. 1. Mahindra has the financial size to restart saab, convince suppliers and customers that Saab is back to stay.
    2. M would gain technology, global brand, sales and distribution network in a complete deal, and more importantly it would also get access to a European R&D cluster to compete on a global stage.
    3. Comparing to the JLR / Tata, Volvo / Geely example, Saab is bought on the cheap, but the investments needed are higher in regards to the expected returns and risks. How many more European premium brands will be up for sale…….
    4. The Ssangyong / Korea connection is an exciting opportunity to grow in Asia.


    • But Mahindra are also a pretty sharp business enterprise who are interested in making a profit first and foremost. They aren’t philantropists who just want to help to make the world a better place or to save employment in the south of Sweden. They are in business to make lots of money and are rather succesful at it.

      Why are so many assuming that they will just continue Saab in THN as a going concern (which it is not anymore)? Who says they aren’t only interested in acquiring the engineering and R&D know-how for their own production activities in India and South Korea? Because they already have some rather giant car building plants in places where industral production is a lot cheaper than in Sweden. If production in western Europe is what they are after because of the logistics factor then they wouldprobably be better off economically by buying the Nedcar plant in the Netherlands which is being given away by Mitsubishi for 1 euro, is more centrally located, very up-to-date technically and capable of producing more units than Saab THN just as quickly. The only aspect that gives me hope about the Mahindra involvement is that they are in need of a global distribution network for their products. That Saab still does have but it is gradually going up in smoke as we speak.

      We simply have no idea what Mahindra see as the best strategy for them in this specific business case. It is being assumed by many here that technology and know-how is the main or even sole goal of a Chinese company but why wouldn’t an Indian concern be after the same thing? I do have some nagging doubts about their intentions, the more so as they, unlike Brightwell, have been keeping silent from day one and never ever uttered even one word about what their plans are with Saab if they will be the ones to buy it.

      So far, Brightwell seemto be the best option to me. But, like everybody else, I’m just speculating.


      • I think a lot of people like Mahindra because of the similarities with the takeover of Jaguar/LandRover by Tata. In how far you can compare Mahindra and Tata I don’t know. I do know that I personally would prefer a parent with some passion for automotive stuff rather than just a passion for money.
        Hm, yeah, the NedCar plant is another sad story.

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