Another week has passed that leaves us with more questions than answers. We know a few interested parties, but not all. We know there are bids, but we don’t know all the names, let alone details from them. Even that interview with Mr. Pang left did not feed us too much. Though it is hard for a blogger to live on information diet I have to admit that in a way I like to see the busy silence as it means something serious is going on.
Last week I picked up the known (and some unknown) bidders and gave my opinion on how I see them. I’ll more or less do the same this week under the impression of the developments we came across in the last few days. A lot of things are happening right now behind closed doors. The bids that have been handed in seem to indicate that there are some parties who are really interested in this. And as one of the administraters hinted a while ago it may even been possible that one of the parties in the game joins forces with another, new, party. Right now it seems to be an extremely busy and highly sensible process that could maybe lead to a surprising but good outcome.
The big man of Youngman, Pang Qingnian, sat for an extended Interview with SvD. It was a good read but most likely due to those confidentiality agreements he did not reveal too much of their plans for Saab. You may call me overly sceptic but to be honest I am still not sure about their intentions for Trollhättan. From a business point of view I wonder why a company that has a huge overcapacity in China would set up a production in Sweden. May be big plans for the future. But on the other hand the recent bid that Volvo placed showed that moving the production facilities to whereever is not totally unthinkable. Still, I’d think their bid belongs to the “parts only” bids that only come into play when the six or seven parties that want to revive Saab have not been able to strike a deal.
Another company that I’d like to mention here is BAIC. They stated that they have now a fully functional prototype of an electrical car. What they showed was a facelifted 9-3 with Chinese badges just as they did on a few motor shows since they acquired the old Saab technology. I bet that this is one of those 7 9-3s MY 09 (or so) they bought from ANA back then. I don’t get at all why they always came up with those cars as their prototypes as they have the licenses for the older model. And why are they looking at ePower when they have a fully functional technlology themselves. Their rumored partner for electrical cars, Panasonic, has enough financial troubles to sell three buildings of their headquaters. The other big question is how much do they want to get. Is it still just the factory or more now? And is there enough demand for electrical cars to use the capacity of the Trollhättan factory?
Recently the receivers have stressed that what they are looking for is not just a big cheque for the takeover but also a proper plan for the future of Saab. There are a few obstacles to overcome in this, one of those is GM the other is the cracked supply chain. For the latter companies like Mahindra&Mahindra or the european automotive manufacturer would of course have benefits because of their automotive network that will help to close the gaps and to regain the confidence of the remaining suppliers. It may not be crucial for the takeover but it is surely a piece in the puzzle that helps them.
Brightwell don’t have that huge experience in the automotive sector but they have buying power and most likely a plan, a vision where they want to take Saab. They have been pretty quiet recently which I would take as an indication that they are deeply into the process. I would not count them out in any way.
I am pretty sure that some of you wonder why I did not name that european automotive manufacturer. Let me put it this way: the initial indications we got were not wrong but did not paint the whole picture in this. Those indications we get from various sides are seldom a clear statement. You get many dots, add some more yourselves and connect them. So in some cases you aim at the right direction without hitting the center of the target.
We are working hard to get the crucial information out to you and to judge the rumors but still in some cases we have to step back and respect a certain amount of secrecy that is requested by those involved. Tough for us as well as for you but if it helps the outcome I’m all in it. Most involved parties are reading along, checking the state of the community. Let’s show them that we are still standing behind Saab and any new owner that wants to get things rolling again. Don’t be too picky, beggars can’t be choosers and noone can make it right for everybody. But still we can be happy to have such a great field of bidders at the table.
There is no need to loose hope in any way. Through this past week I got even more confident that we can see a solution that enables Saab to start up again. Personally speaking I’d prefer two of them for I see special opportunities in them. But in the end I’ll be happy with any new owner who can fund Saab properly and get cars rolling off the production line in Trollhätan again.
Use this weekend to enjoy your Saab and dream about a great future. We’re still on the home stretch. And it still looks good.