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.

Read moreMove Your Mind

Why Tata Makes Sense* UPDATED

UPDATE: Chairman Ratan Tata himself denies the report. I think that’s pretty damn definitive. This will go down as yet another reason why I’m disheartened in the Saab sale.

GENEVA — Tata Motors Ltd. Chairman Ratan Tata Tuesday denied a news report that the Indian car maker has made a bid for the assets of failed Swedish auto firm Saab AB.

“No we didn’t,” he said on the margins of the motor show. “But I know another Indian company has: Mahindra.”

Indian newspaper Financial Express reported earlier in the day that Tata had made a $350 million bid for Saab’s assets.

Its rival Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd. has confirmed its interest.

As you can read below, The Indian Express has indicated that Tata has placed a bid for Saab’s assets. I heard that they were snooping around a few weeks ago from a very reliable person who would be in a position to know, but promised the source I’d keep my mouth shut (even to the crew, but they might have picked up on my hints when I started telling them how much I enjoyed the Evoque test drive). At the time I just kept my fingers crossed and hoped that it would come to fruition. This is the first public confirmation of this fact, and I’m waiting for confirmation from other sources to make sure it’s true. I’m cautiously optimistic. (Now I know why they’re not returning my email as the story has been shot down).

Quite frankly, this whole bankruptcy process has been depressing. I haven’t posted much because there hasn’t been much for me to hope for. While it’s fun to speculate over potential owners, none of them have really been a home run to me, so I’ve kept my nose out of most of it. A fact that has been clear as the bankruptcy process unfolded is that each party is coming at Saab’s assets with their own interests at mind first, not Saab’s or the faithful Saab community. No one is buying a brand out of the goodness of their heart or because they think Saab is a great going interest on its own, they want to use the people and resources of the company to leverage their own company, and Saab the brand is a bonus. So in the eyes of the Saab fan, what would be the perfect owner given these conditions? What potential owner would actually have the most incentive to keep Saab Swedish and build cars that we would consider true to the heritage of the company? Youngman’s interests have been clear from day one– their business model has been amalgamating whatever parts and resources they can license to create their own brand. Saab would be a crown jewel for them, but more the means to an end to their own ambitions in China. That German automaker would actually be a very good fit and find incredible efficiencies no doubt, as was studied by Swade in an excellent post. But as has been pointed out, is there really room for Saab in that portfolio? Wouldn’t Saab take the back seat to BMW at every turn? Mahindra and Mahindra has vast resources and seems to have good intentions to make it as a global automaker, and Saab has key pieces of that puzzle that will help them get there. It appears they’re looking to follow their countrymen at Tata who led by example with their acquisition of Jaguar Land Rover (JLR), and I hope if they’re successful that they do just that. But Tata themselves? Now that’s something, and here’s why.

Read moreWhy Tata Makes Sense* UPDATED

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