Guy Lofalk is to cooperate with the receivers

ttela.se yesterday talked to Victor about the confidentiality agreement between Guy Lofalk and SWAN:

Guy Lofalk now has no reason not to cooperate with Saab’s bankruptcy trustees and has to disclose his compensation. This says the former Saab CEO Victor Muller who so shortly before 14 o’clock on Friday tore up the confidentiality agreement between the Swedish Automobile and Guy Lofalk.

– Mr. Lofalk must cooperate now, says Muller via SMS.

– For SWAN and for me this means that Mr. Lofalks salted bills are coming to the light and he has allowed to stand for what he did.

How much did Lofalk paid for their mission?

– He got 1.2 million! (10.6 million) but he wanted more. But he did not get the sum from SWAN because we felt he demanded too much and did a disastrous job, says Muller TTELA.

Was it Lofalk who wanted to move money to SWAN instead of getting paid directly from Saab?

– Of course, I am sure of this because he did not want his exorbitant fee to be in Saab’s accounting or have an unpaid bill for Saab if they would go bankrupt.

For the current process this is of course only a sidenote but it is good to see that someone is taking a closer look at the issue Lofalk. H has been one of the main drivers towards the 100% Chinese deal and to a huge degree sealed Saabs fate through this. Once Saab is saved and in good hands this will be a story to tell but for now we’ll leave it to this and watch what happens to Mr. Lofalk.

SweGov involved in discussions with Asian consortium?

Simon Warburton published an article on just-auto.com saying that SweGov shall be heavily involved in the discussions with the BAIC/Panasonic consortium. He quotes a reliable source – judge this for yourself but he is generally pretty well informed and I’d put more trust in this than I did if it was di.se.

The article states some genral facts we know and claims that BAIC/Panasonic are the third party alongside Mahindra & Mahindra and Youngman. Now to the most interesting part of the article:

“It [consortium] is a really bad thing for Saab and will be a threat for Youngman and Mahindra,” the source told just-auto from Sweden. “They are planning to build electric cars in Trollhattan using the 9-3 as a first car and producing batteries.

Read moreSweGov involved in discussions with Asian consortium?

A Sad Sight in NJ

I wanted to update any readers here who haven’t seen it elsewhere yet, several hundred Saabs are sitting in port waiting to be sold. Up until this point, they were waiting for a court decision on who was the rightful party who could sell them, and last week the court in Delaware sided with Ally Financial to let them manage the sale.

Over at foundourownroad, you can see the post Saabpocalyptic sight of the hundreds of cars sitting in the Newark port. There’s a bunch of 9-3s, many are Turbo4 XWD with dual exhaust, no 9-5 Aeros, mostly BioPowers (4-Cylinder). Some are sitting outside in the elements, some are inside a warehouse, but all are being exposed to the nasty sooty air along the water in NJ. There are even more in California and Georgia. I’ve driven past the Newark port when the 9-4xs were waiting to be shipped to dealers in more promising times, this is downright depressing.

I’ll have an actual interesting read up on the site soon related to the sale, but for now I’m going to keep quiet, just like the bankruptcy administrators. The situation for Saab is anything but ideal at this point, so we need to focus on the long term picture, while trying to minimize the short term sting.

Saab Parts UK Welcomes New Authorised Repairers

SAAB PARTS UK WELCOMES TWO NEW AUTHORISED REPAIRERS TO THE NETWORK

Following a successful first quarter trading, Saab Parts UK is pleased to announce the appointment of two new Saab authorised repairers.

Saabtech Welwyn, situated on 36, Brownfields, Welwyn Garden City, opens for business on Saturday 31st March, 2012, and will offer full servicing facilities, MOT testing, body shop repairs and an extensive aftersales department supplying parts and accessories.  This new authorised repairer is no stranger to Saab owners in Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire as it was previously an independent Saab specialist located in Stevenage.

Saabtech Welwyn takes over the former retail site of Squire Furneaux, and looks forward to welcoming all Saab owners to its new premises.  Saabtech Welwyn Directors, Ian Ward and Jenny Eldred, both previously worked in Saab dealerships, set up Saabtech UK Limited as an independent specialist in Stevenage in January 2007, and offer owners a one-stop shop for all their Saab needs.

Jenny Eldred, said: “We are absolutely thrilled to be moving our business to Welwyn Garden City and the former Squire Furneaux site. We have a very strong and loyal Saab customer base in the area and will continue to provide the very highest level of care and service that our customers expect.

Read moreSaab Parts UK Welcomes New Authorised Repairers

Graeme Lambert – “Saab Turbo’s forced infection”

Graeme Lambert, our Saab mad friend who used to work at Auto Express, has written an article at Retro Classic Cars about how his affection or affliction with Saab was started.
Below is an taster of his writings, the link to the whole story is below the picture.

It’s a cliché, but Saab owners are a terribly loyal bunch, often appearing misguided and blinded by their love for the brand. The bug has bitten many, myself included, and no matter what happens with the company’s future you can guarantee it’ll continue biting.

As a 12-year-old petrolhead who had grown-up around a series of Volvos, the announcement that my father fancied a change of brand instilled a sense of brio in me. The prospect of trawling round the local dealer network, scooping up scores of brochures as we went, was one of pure un-rivalled excitement.

It didn’t take long to end up in the Saab dealer, and after examining various 9000 hatchbacks and saloons I sat back thinking my job was done. Until the weekend after when I discovered a sales sheet for a Volvo 460GLEi. Betrayed, there were tears before I informed them they’d made a mistake. Two years later my tantrum was justified, and the ever-troublesome Volvo got the boot, replaced with a black Saab 9000.

Click this link for the full story http://retroandclassiccars.com/2012/03/25/your-cars-graeme-lamberts-saab-turbos-forced-infection/

Just Auto Article On The Swedish Government

For a long time now we have all heard or thought to ourselves that the Swedish Government should have or could have done more to help save Saab. Being in North America and watching what the North American manufacturer’s went through with bailouts and how committed the Government’s in Canada and the USA were to ensuring the continued manufacturing and support of jobs, it’s always puzzled me how the Swedish government seemed to not even recognize what the impact of lost jobs could have. Now one of the editor’s at Just Auto, Simon Warburton has done a good job of covering this with key people involved. Below is some of the highlights of their article.

One view rapidly gaining ground in Sweden is the government could have done more – a lot more – to come to the rescue of bankrupt Saab.

At the end of the day argue the critics, Sweden has lost an icon that is instantly recognisable around the world, with a resulting flight of manufacturing competence out of the country that will be increasingly hard to replace.

I would even add to the above that it would be more than increasingly hard to be replaced, for Sweden, I would say it would be impossible to replace.

But in an auto environment increasingly suffering from chronic over-capacity, does artificially or otherwise trying to keep a failing brand afloat make any sense?

I’ve been in Sweden this week taking the auto temperature, talking to suppliers and politicians, as well as visiting Saab’s windswept and empty plant in Trollhattan. The very firm view expressed to me was that it most definitely did make sense to have done more to save Saab.

Remember that this is not one of us at SaabsUnited saying that it makes sense to have done more to save Saab, this is an independent view of ours and for me it is nice to see a source other then myself seeing it this way.

“The [Swedish] government could have done a lot more then they have,” Trollhattan mayor Paul Akerlund told me in his office.

“When the crisis started in 2008, there was a crisis everywhere in the whole world. Every government tried to find a solution to help their car industries, but our government does not do that.

“They have a very, very strange position. For example [German Chancellor Angela] Merkel is not a social democrat and neither is [French President Nicolas] Sarkozy, [while] the US – the biggest capitalist country in the world helps its car industries.”

Just how big of a problem is all this? Mr. Warburton digs deeper into the jobless rate and impact on the area when speaking to the Swedish unions. To think that the number of qualified worker’s in the auto sector that are unemployed is just unbelievable.

Indeed, Swedish unions tell me of a jobless rate approaching 25%, while workers in Trollhattan related just how hard hard the town has been by Saab’s collapse. Take this from one restaurant-goer in the centre who, when I asked him if he knew people who had been made redundant, he replied: “Just go outside and pick anyone.”

That one line there “just go outside and pick anyone”, that hits pretty hard. I don’t think many of us can imagine or even comprehend what that would be like or feel like. If you look at your home town and think that it’s main industry shuts down and just how badly it hurts everything around it. I personally can’t imagine because where I am we don’t rely so heavily on any one industry. From what I understand of the area, you have shop owners who are struggling to keep their business because people aren’t buying and it goes so much deeper to even daycare providers who have no kids to care for because the families they were caring for are now out of work.

There is obviously substantial fall-out from any bankruptcy but in town the size of Trollhattan and in a country the size of Sweden – population wise – 10,000 newly-redundant workers is an enormous figure.

10,000 newly-redundant workers? In a town the size of Trollhattan, with a population last recorded in 2010 of 55,027 people, everyone knows someone affected. That’s almost 20% of the entire city being out of work. Look up population records for small towns around you and you will be surprised at how a 20% unemployment rate could cripple such a town.

The Swedish government argues it underwrote a huge Saab loan made by the European Investment Bank of EUR400m (US$527m), but this is met by short shrift by Scandinavian supplier body FKG, whose managing director, Fredrik Sidahl, I met in his Gothenburg offices this week.

“The [loan] guarantee – what is the risk?” he told me, adding pithily: “The [Swedish] government did not understand the value of Saab beyond Saab as a company. They [government] are restricted by rules, but they could have interpreted the European rules in a more positive way.”

Intervention is a highly-emotive word – especially when taxpayers’ money is involved. But could the Swedish government have done more, should they have done more to help stricken Saab?

There is a rising tide of opinion they absolutely should have done a lot more.

I think he sums things up quite well and I fully agree that they should have done a lot more and it’s never to late to do something. I tire of governments trying to make it look like they are only doing what they can or are doing everything in their powers when to me it appears they are doing nothing.

The full article from can be found here at Just Auto, it is a subscription site so you may need to register to read it all.

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