Move Your Mind

We have seen a lot of ups and downs in last years attempts to find a suiting investor for Saab. We gained hope many time only to be brought down again for example by GM. So it is no big surprise that we got even more critical towards parties that are in this process, not matter if they are rumored or a fact. In some stages it even feels like people demand those parties to disclose their bids to us so we can judge them. But really, why should they?

Since the 19th of december the whole process has moved behind closed doors which I see as a very good thing. It was maybe easier for us before as we had more things to report on but for the goal itself, is will surely be helpful. Those parties have to convince the receivers, not us. Still, we were able to get in contact with several parties who are there and they of course understand the value of the community. But right now it is business time.

So what is left for us right now? I already used the term of the dots we are thrown and that we have to connect to our best knowledge. But as always, there is not only one way to do that. Sometimes you just draw a sideline to see what happens. And sometimes you sep back a bit to get a better view of the big picture. In the end this is nothing else that the out of the box thinking we all like so much about our favourite car company and that we demand from a future Saab.

Looking at the discussions in comments I tend to feel that this different way of thinking got lost among some of us somehow. Quite a few tend to look at interested parties with a certain degree of bias, thinking a lot of possible backsides of each party – once bitten, twice shy you might say. But while doing that you may miss the chance to see the opportunities. And there are many as I’d like to point out on a few examples.

The news that Tata should have placed a bid yesterday almost started a perty. That party ended as Ratan Tata denied that report today. While I was happy to see the news about Tata yesterday it also left me surprised that both big Indian companies would enter the process. Looking at it from a different angle there is a good chance that Tata and Mahindra & Mahindra had talks about Saab back in India. The know each other and have certain ties, they even cooperate in some fields. And from what I have heared about the Indian business guys it is quite likely that they decided that only one of them should enter the bidding process. It is a very expensive process you can easily spend several million Euro on and even more if you end ub in a real bidding war. No need for both to spend that amoiunt. Of course that does not mean that they can’t use certain synergies between JLR and Saab. Saab would fit perfectly in a maket segment just below Jaguar so there is no too much interference here. It may be a win-win scenario for M&M and Tata just because they handle things a bit different.

Youngman is another example where a lot of fears come up. Of course China has quite a track record in copying everything they could get their hands on. But things are changing. Through the change of economy they had to learn that this won’t sustain their economy forever. Last year I read an article about a small toolmaker from the heart of Germany that has been bought by a Chinese company a few years ago. While production in China is of course up and running they also kept production of the high quality stuff and development of the company in Germany because they know about the value of the work that is done here and the reputation. I have been quite critical about Youngman several times but I don’t believe that they will start up Trollhättan which will consume a huge amount of time and money just to tear things down again in five years to move everything to China. From a business view this would be outright dumb. If they start up Trollhättan they are here to stay for a long time. Even more, because their home market is getting more and more difficult through the new regulations Youngman may be pretty happy if they get a foot on the ground in Europe.

One thing that really annoys me is that when it comes to BMW it is so often stated “look what they did to Rover”. Forget about that. Different time, different position, different circumstances. They got out of the Rover adventure with a black eye and I am pretty sure they learned their lesson, most of all to look properly what they are buying. If they should be in this they are looking for another chance to archieve the goal of two million sold units per year (which is believed to be nessesary to stay independent) or they want to sell stuff from their parts bin. As I stated before I do not see them being the leading party in a bid so the latter seems quite likely.

The list of examples could go on. I know we have through tough times but still I want to encourage you to look at things from one more angle, ask yourself one more question. In every situation there is an opportunity. You may have to look twice but it is there and the fact that so many parties are there trying to acquire Saab is a good sign in itself. We all have our preferences but there is more than one shot. And those who got that far won’t leave before this is done. They have simply invested too much.

Let’s show them that we are still that open-minded, enthusiastic community that a new owner who works to restart Saab can count on. When it comes to me my love for the brand grew a lot in those troubled times, maybe even more than it would have if things were smoother. Tata was mentioned and sent a denial. This is no reason to loose hope. They would have been nice in this process but they are not the messiah either. Keep going. The best is yet to come.

31 thoughts on “Move Your Mind”

  1. Honestly, it’s not the bidders I’m worried about—-at least not the ones bidding for the “whole” Saab (presumably to make Saab cars again). Ironically, what you see as the strength in this process, I see as the weak link. When things are done behind closed doors, liberties are taken with no oversight. It concerns me that perhaps the final “solution” won’t be in the best public interest—-if the public has no idea what is going on. As far as “paying creditors” goes, I know that’s the objective, the best deal. Again, oversight keeps things in check. I hope the Receivers are a sincere group who won’t be swayed by….for example…oh, a “counterpart” of Saab in Sweden wanting to buy some “big things” and put them on a boat to China.

    • The receivers have a clear agenda. And that includes that this “counterpart” will only get a chance when all parties who want to revive Saab could not make a deal.

    • Re; ” When things are done behind closed doors, liberties are taken with no oversight”.

      Unfortunately, until any of us can or is prepared to put up the asking amounts, then we are simply over enthusiastic, enthusiasts & have no right to demand or see anything that the Administrators’ are saying or what is being said to them.

      Just keep up the hope that Saabs’ will roll again @ THN.

      • Terry: Isn’t this now out of private hands and in the public domain? Aren’t the Receivers appointed by government? I’m not sure I understand your statement. I don’t have a right to attend business meetings (or have minutes of the meeting) if it’s between private concerns. But a public bankruptcy court?

        • Angelo,

          Maybe, if you were a shareholder in Swan, you could have a right to see certain things.

          In most cases the ‘public’ are allowed to sit in Courts [ I assume this includes Bankruptcy hearings] & listen to what is said, but with no right to participate.

          The Goverment may well control the Justice department, that oversees Sweden’s Bankruptcies’ but as such, it does not give a citizen a right to participate in that situation, unless, maybe as said above or you are a creditor or similar.

          Saab Automobiles AB, was a private Co, owned by a Public PLC [Swan] & the effect of bankruptcy is no different to when GM went Bankrupt. The US public had little say in what happened in that, beyond what was on public record.

          The administrators are appointed, by the Court to deal with the situation & has a duty [as instructed by the Court] to report back to them any point that the Court ask’s about. But again the situation is Private, although the Bankruptcy is in the Public domain.

          Any potential buyer of Saab [bits’ or the whole] surely would prefer to remain confidential, as if a competitor knew what you were doing or saying, would try to beat you to it.

          Once the process is over, then much will be within the public domain, if it is of interest then.

          • I’m not asking that the public have any right to participate—-only asking if they have a right to information that can be shared. In the U.S., reporters often have the right to look at transcripts or summary/minutes of what is being discussed when the public interest is at stake—-and if public courts are reviewing things like bankruptcy—-particularly if they are also charged with making decisions that will impact the community. Regarding bidders—-I’d be very surprised if in Sweden, bidders for public works are treated as confidential for fear of their competitors knowing what they are interested in bidding on. I totally understand that amounts of bids or details about their businesses be kept private—-but typically, by this point in the process, we would know which companies submitted bids. I work for a large international company that bids on contracts all the time—-our name, along with those of the bidders, is often made public after the deadline for bids to be presented. I was just wondering if that was the case in this instance.

            • I think the two word here that are being confused is ‘Private’ & ‘Public’ situations.

              As the administrators only mentioned in their latest ‘Press conference’, if a buyer was to approach them now, the door would probably not be closed, so the bidding is not over & nothing will be shared, till a deal is done [whatever that is].

              As far as Swedish law is concerned, probably Timr or Trued could help more.

              • I didn’t read that latest press conference news. Wow—-that is sobering. It’s simply amazing to me that they haven’t offered up a firm date, no exceptions—-a DEADLINE at which time no additional bids will be accepted and mention of a date at which time an announcement will be made at which bidder is awarded the assets or the whole of Saab automobile. It’s remarkable that this process could be that open ended with no apparent discipline of timetables and dates. Frankly, the deadline for bids should have been Friday, March 2 and I believe the Receivers should be able to give a final disposition within 21 days beyond that date—-late March, who owns Saab.

  2. Yes, just ‘move your mind’ onto other matters until the final new owner is officially announced…(at least that was my first thought when reading this article’s headline).

  3. We shall sit back, relax and enjoy this roller-coaster ride. We all have our preferred buyers, for any possible reason, sometimes just irrational. But we are a bunch of irrational people, so hardly connected to a car brand, that is a looser in the car world, maybe more a prodigal son.
    Our opinion probably doesn’t matter but I bet that this bunch of irrational people are one of the reasons that so many really attractive buyers are stepping into the battle of SAAB. If someone had told me in the morning on December 19th that there would be Youngman, Mahindra and even BMW fighting over SAAB corps I would have told him that he was crazy! That is why we have almost a duty to keep this spirit!
    And whoever buys SAAB (of course SAAB as a car manufacturer) deserves our support and respect! After all this time of negotiations it would be just crazy to pack the machinery and ship it to India, China or wherever else! Whoever buys SAAB is in Trollhattan to stay!

  4. Jings! Do we have to keep reading these ‘Keep Calm and Carry On!’ blogs.

    OK. We get it.

    But if you are going to post ‘rumours’ or ‘comments from sources’ then members on here are going to either comment, have their say or not comment as they see fit.

    I don’t see the point of this post. You are not saying anything that has not already been said.

    • According to this article, BMW is a player which has enough of bargaining power to influence somehow to GM at their possible negotiation regarding Saab in order to get all nessesary licenses for 9-5 NG production. If this is a case I am going to keep waiting for my new 9-5 SC.

      • I’d like to infer that from the article, but I think you’re taking it a step too far.

        Also and I’ll probably get blasted for this, but…if Youngman gets Saab, I’ll be taking a long, long break from the brand. It would take years for me to reignite my interest.

  5. I just got back and logged on—-fully expecting to read that a sale had closed and resumption of production of the 9-3 was scheduled for September 17. Imagine my disappointment that I have to stay calm and carry on instead.

  6. To help us all relax whilst we wait, I’ve created a meme of the hyper-addictive PiratePigs tile game. So skip along to Pirate SaabLogos, take a deep breath and think inside the box for once!

    Click or tap on vertically or horizontally adjacent tiles in such a way as to make three or more of the same tile in a row. Like the Saab saga, just when you think there’s nothing left, off you go on a roll again! The main picture is my 93SW at “Rest and be Thankful” on the A83 in Scotland.

    enyojs . com javascript framework recently open-sourced by HP
    enyojs . com / samples / piratepig
    NME over at haxenme . org
    Apologies for the poor graphics.

  7. I personally mentioned BMW and Rover affair purely because of the similarities and I think a few are hoping they will come in on their white charger to save the day.
    BMW are a famous well respected company that make quality products but, they have to have a ruthless business strategy to remain independent and as the car market shrinks will they have the volume to develop Phoenix I truly hope they do.
    But looking at their immediate needs, as has been reported their factories are over capacity and need facilities to build their existing models.. I like BMW and maybe if the unthinkable happens it may be my next -( not a VW Audi fan).
    I agree that we just have to put our trust in the admins that they have the SAAB bug like us and will secure the future with true Saab innovation.

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