The complete silence that again surrounded Saab was two weeks ago broken by Spyker’s announcement of a lawsuit against GM. Most of us, me included, welcomed that. It feels like some rightly revenge for the things that GM did while Victor tried to save Saab through a cooperation with Youngman, Pang Da or both. While the failure of course had multiple reasons the main stumbling stone always was GM’s no to everything that came on the table.
Admittedly I feel it’s sad that this case will be held at a court in the US because in Europe it would be even tougher for GM. But still I do not feel that a US court will automatically jump on GM’s side. Being a lawyer himself Victor would not have come up with such a case if he wasn’t sure to have a good chance to win this. And one thing is for sure: this case could not have come at a worse moment for GM for two reasons.
One is that right now they would be busy enough as GME with Opel and Vauxhall is in serious trouble. Overcapacities, falling sales, a resigning CEO and political pressure are just a few points here. I’ve already read some experts who said that Opel cannot be cured anymore under GM rule. One of the main reasons is that the Opel models get competition from Chevrolet who offer more or less the same cars at a lower price. Just like it was with Saab and Opel back in the days, the difference being that Opel is the loser this time.
The other, and for us Saabiacs more interesting reason is that this lawsuit could stir up a lot of dirt that GM already tried to bury through the wind down of Saab. As this did not work because there was too much publicity so they played their game underneath until Saab stumbled into bankrupcy. There must have been some relief in Detroit on that day but now things come back again. And even worse for GM, on a court level where it is hard to hide away facts. I don’t know if this drives GM to rather agree on a settlement but I know that this could be pretty interesting if it ends up in court. And I have been told Spyker has very high chances to win this.
I obviously won’t go into any of the details here as this lawsuit is pending and I surely don’t want to interfere in any way. But what I can say here is that there are many eyeing on the progress of this case, ready to bring up their own. This could truely be a big bang for GM.
When Tim first posted about this some people immediately suggested to create GM-hate-groups on Facebook again. While this is not the sensible way, it in a way supports a quite important thing the community can do in this: to create as much publicity for this case as possible. GM may be a big monster but if there is one thing they fear it is negative publicity. So keep this topic alive. It will surely not hurt a good case.
Most of you may remember that I was always a strong supporter of Mahindra & Mahindra troughout the bidding process and I am until now. The main reason for this is that more than one reliable contacts told me that M&M realize the full potential of Saab and have the vision and potential to develop Saab to a brand that we all were longing for for a long time.
I’ve been called a dreamer for still insisting on a M&M involvement even now. My view has not changed so instead of I’ll look at some other aspect in this: what is the potential, the big value of Saab?
One obvious thing is the brand. While for us in the center of the storm it is a synonym for many troubles, I still meet people who have no idea of those or of bankruptcy. So it still carries a positive heritage for many. Still the brand name is hard to obtain unless you got the right concept and contacts.
But there is much more, a fellow blogger called it the crown jewels of Saab. One is a small Saab, based on the Mini platform. The contracts with BMW were signed and while we always heard it was not in the business plan, at least two prototypes were made. Having talked to a guy who had the chance to drive it, it was pretty impressive in both fuel and hybrid version.
That 9-1 as I prefer to call it would have been a perfect volume maker for dealers. I talked to many and whenever I asked if they’d prefer to have a 9-1 or a 9-5 on sale a vast majority went for the small one. Rest assured that those prototypes were not scrapped, they were much to valuable. On the contrary, they were closely investigated and I would not exclude the possibility to see one of those on the road one day.
The other big value is the Phoenix platform and the next 9-3. Of course both were not finished before bankruptcy but in a state where a ambitious team of engineers can continue and finish it off to a really great product. A lot of knowledge has been preserved in the Trollhättan area through engineering companies like Lean Nova so anyone can buy in that knowledge in addition to their own team. There is quite a bit of life again at Saab Powertrain and in some other places. And indications I got show that it’s a bit more than just finishing off Chevrolets.
Connecting all the dots I get from various sides I am pretty much sure that NEVS is one part of Saabs future but definetely not the whole story. I feel this is not over. I feel there is much more to experience than we can imagine today. I feel I can see a strong Saab brand under the wings of an understanding mother that is strong enough to withstand evil stepmother GM. My love towards Saab drove me here and I won’t leave now that the best is yet to come.