Waiting….. (still)

It’s the beginning of what will surely be another big week in the history of Saab Automobile. I think I can speak for colleagues here at Saab and say that we’ve seen some wonderful things in the last few weeks – the support and happiness of people attending the dealer tours, as well as the recent and spontaneous gestures of support on several other fronts as well. We truly appreciate it.

I just wanted to quickly refer back to something that I wrote last week in a post called Waiting.

There’s no reason why Saab Automobile has to succumb to the circumstances that have plagued it this year. As I mentioned a few days ago, Ford managed to get a similar deal done to give Volvo a future. I think it can be done here, too. We still have a lot of very good reasons to be here in this industry. If there is goodwill in the room, there will be a way to work this out with an agreement that will work for all concerned.

I’d now like to invite you to read the Editor-in-Chief of one of the most important newspapers in the automotive industry, Keith Crain from Automotive News:

….GM should look at how Ford handled the situation when it sold its Swedish company, Volvo. That seemed like a very civilized transfer, and Ford acted gentlemanly the whole time. That might be something GM should study.

I’m not playing favorites. But if Saab is to die, it should happen in the marketplace, not in some corporate boardroom without even a fair hearing.

We have no plans that include dying. We just want to bring our new vehicles to market and knock a few people’s socks off.

——

This week, Saab will have to try to extend its MoU with Chinese partners Youngman and Pang Da, as well as continuing negotiations with General Motors about what will constitute an acceptable deal in their eyes.

There is an important deadline looming with regard to our reconstruction procedure (on the 22nd), so time is precious.

As written above, I hope there is plenty of goodwill in the room. There has to be a way to work this out.

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23 Comments

  1. We’ve been waiting for the outcome of what was a dreadful situation. In my opinion caused purely by the control by GM over the sale of SAAB. SAAB is in this position because  GM used it to develop various tech to use company wide, then to try and stop this tech from being used in SAABs once the brand was sold. It had starved SAAB of funds while raping its tech. It says a lot about how GM was run and about the affection in which SAAB is held by it devoted followers (and motoring writers) I love the 9-5 especially in Aero form. May SAAB live a long and fruitful life!

  2. I am a loyal Saab owner, having restored a Sonnett II, owned 900’s and the original owner of a 1988 9000 that I still drive regularly and love.  After having just completed and exhaustive search for a new car I just purchased a new 9-4x Aero. I obviously believe in Saab and hope that the newest with the Chinese succeed and that Saab continues as the unique, independent and  alternative car company that they are and have been before GM’s intervention.
    I sincerely hope that GM will get over their attitude of domination and destruction and allow Saab to move on.  Saab compete against GM?  Really? Does anybody really believe this or see Saab as a direct competitor to GM?  If Saab keeps selling the 9-4x globally, doesn’t that mean more sales and more revenue for GM?  HMMM. Their boardroom –with the belief that I am GM and uber mighty, tactics need to stop and they need to be a more humble company then they were before the reorganization that the taxpayers of the US paid for dearly.

    Maybe organizing boycotting –or march against GM is in the cards?  Is that what it will take? I hope not.

  3. “We have no plans that include dying.”
    makes me laugh and keep on hoping.
    thank you – once again – for the good wording.

    1. If GM let Saab die I’ll never buy a GM product. Then I’ll buy a Volvo or a Ford.
      If GM let Saab live I’ll buy a Saab with GM parts the next time I buy a car.

    2. not JUST greed, the incompetence was epic in scale and breathtaking in its audacity. As the article says when Ford sold Volvo, it was sent off with love and best wishes and a sincere hope that it succeeded. GM on the other hand actively starved SAAB before cutting it adrift with out oars or a leak repair kit! Not only that but it tired to make sure no one else could save SAAB either. I’ve never seen anything so disgraceful. Luckily for us GM  leaves Holden alone (Australia)

      1. I totally agree – my children and my children’s children will know what GM did, and know there is a Saab – hope I never have to put that in the past tense.

        Subject: [insidesaab] Re: Waiting….. (still)

  4. Here’s the immediate “good” and “bad” of the current deal as defined by the latest MoU.  The deal helped the cause by telling anyone who heard the news that Saab was going to be bought.  It appears that good news gave some confidence to those who may have been in the market for a Saab but were concerned by the current situation.   I suspect those folks weren’t the long-time enthusiasts who know it takes more than the MoU to reach a final deal that will work.  The other good thing is it helped Saab stay in reconstruction for a little while longer.

    The bad thing, but not a surprise, was GMs reaction to the deal.  Victor warned of change of control issues and that’s what happened.  This had to be known by the Chinese as they signed the MoU.  Perhaps that’s why it had a short fuse.   I am reluctant to lay all the blame on GM.  You would think the same contractual terms could be reached with new potential Chinese owners but is the real issue trust and/or prior agreements with GM’s Chinese partners? 

    Youngman, with its planned 60% ownership stake, is the one in search of technology and know-how to build cars.   There had to be an assumption regarding what technology Youngman would be able to use in the first several years of a completed deal to make cars.  Was it based on still licensing any of GM’s technology?  Maybe it was but we on the outside don’t really know.  A key question is can Youngman succeed based on taking technology and know-how they get solely from Saab and getting anything that is missing but needed from elsewhere?  If that can happen, and fast enough, then Youngman should still be interested in making a deal.   And, since Saab’s key technical know-how is integration, this isn’t a far-fetched conclusion. 

    That’s logic talking.   From an emotional perspective, I’m hoping for business innovation and/or a miracle!   Too bad we don’t have a number of intense, loyal Saab fans that are also billionaires that can’t stand the roller coaster any more and want to help solve the money problems.   (I did say miracle, right?)  Lots of money can do wonderful things for solving Saab’s current cash and image problems.   We enthusiasts feel that if they can execute the plan, Saab has a chance on the merit of its brand and vehicles.   We just have to get past Go!

    1. Let me check my wallet! Regardless, there is no doubt the Volvo sale by Ford was in good spirits, and the SAAB sale by GM was not. No matter what happens SAAB is still  bound by ridiculous impositions placed on it by GM. GM should have been allowed to pass in to the annals of history and let SAAB get on with making good cars.  

  5. With you Swade.

    Everybody just wants their pound of flesh and if there is a chance to take another cut then GM wil be first in line.

  6. Steven, fostering anti GM rants on this site isn’t smart.    More importantly, it isn’t ethically or factually right.   

    The anti GM ranters used to say Saab was profitable – but GM covered that up through accounting tricks.   I rather think we know the economic truth of that story now, don’t we?

    It isn’t GM’s fault that a small independent Saab doesn’t work as a business entity.   

    Do we know what agreements GM has previously made with it’s existing Chinese partners regarding other GM products & technology (ie Saab) entering China?     I don’t, but as Victor suspected, they may not allow what deal(s) that have been cooked up so far.    I love my Saab, but these silly rants are starting to make a Chevy look good.   I hope Saab finds a way, but I also hope more Saab fans can be more honest about the reason for Saab’s economic challenges.   They come from Saab, not some outside force.

    1. Hi Keith,

      If you’re familiar with my previous work at SU then I think you’ll know that I’m a long, long way from fostering any anti-GM sentiment with this article.  I was very active in that regard in the past, but not now and I won’t accept your assertion that this post does that.  People are feeling that all on their own.

      The words in this post are true – Ford found a way, and GM can too if there’s goodwill in the room.  I wrote it a week ago and Crain wrote it today.  That’s all I’m pointing out.  I’m glad for GM’s newfound success because it gives us a better chance at the same.

      In terms of blame, if you go through the archives here on Inside Saab (click the editorial tag in the cloud to the right) then you’ll see that we well and truly accept blame for the cashflow situation that has led us to where we are right now.  Unequivocally.  But we have a lifeline here, and we have brand new product ready to go, and nearly everyone I meet wants to see that happen.

      1. Time is of the essence. Expect GM to act in their own best financial interest, period. GM exists in its current form totally because of the US Government. Blame the Swedish Government for Saab’s current corporate structure and situation. I’ll be getting a small warranty repair tomorrow. Current delays at Saab in everything are causing concerns in my family about ongoing maintenance to keep our Saabs running when needed. The Saabs sit right next to the Buicks and Chevys on my dealer’s lot. A fact not missed by my wife.

        1. How long can you stay “100%Saab” under such conditions? 🙁
          I am 50% ovloV and 50% Saab, and I fear that will change in the wrong direction. 🙁
          I hope that I’m wrong!

    2. Keith:  I think it’s the opposite. He’s shown remarkable restraint and in my opinion, probably hasn’t gone hard enough on GM.  I understand his position and I know that he can’t express disdain for them as those of us not working in the automotive industry (particularly as close to the situation as he is) can do.  The fact is, I won’t use this site for my REAL rants against General Motors.  But suffice to say, if they succeed in killing Saab, plenty of us are going to be more than a thorn in their side for many years to come.  The internet is a wonderful place for mobilizing and doing a little persuasive truth telling.  The irony is that counting my 2004 9-5, I currently own 3 GM products.  I’ve lost count of how many I’ve owned since I began driving—and my first car was a Chevy.  They will lose me if I lose Saab.  I always have multiple cars—-and I’d love to have GM as an option.  Unfortunately, if they kill Saab, I’ll never own another GM and I’ll work tirelessly and permanently to convince others to go that route and to spread the gospel.  Payback is a ….

      1. Angelo – I know you believe what you are writing.   The basis, the
        premise of the GM anger, is that if Saab fails it is GM’s fault.   That
        simply isn’t rational based on what we know.  

        You’re asking GM to ignore their own obligations and agreements with
        their existing Chinese partners (not to mention to their own employees
        and shareholders) – and place above that Saab’s desire to sell the
        company to a Chinese entity.   Imagine how important China is to the
        future of GM.   Now imagine you are a GM executive – would you
        intentionally hurt your own company and it’s partners?

        The comparison with the Ford situation has been trotted out here and
        elsewhere.  In one case, Ford was SELLING Volvo.   In this case, GM
        ALREADY sold Saab.   A rather huge difference, but conveniently
        overlooked in an attempt to make a point.   Do you presume that selling
        Volvo caused Ford to violate it’s existing agreements, but they just
        ignored that because they are nice?   Or perhaps in reality they sold
        Volvo because it was in their best interest, and didn’t violate existing
        agreements.

        And now the Swedish govt is calling on GM to sacrifice to save Swedish
        jobs.   This wouldn’t sound bad, except with the knowledge that the
        Swedish govt has done little to save Saab jobs themselves, but now
        expects GM to step up where they have not.

        GM’s obligation is to GM.   In the end, I am truly hopeful that Saab can
        find a different deal with it’s Chinese buyer’s that GM finds it can
        agree to.   But the onus is on Saab, not GM, to make that so.

        1. Not too long ago, I WAS a General Motors shareholder—until their stock dropped to about a dollar, at which point I cashed out, right before it became worthless when they went Chapter 11.  Of course, new stock was issued after they were “rescued.”  Right now though, I’m looking at it from the viewpoint of a General Motors customer.  I bought a Saab from General Motors in late 2004.  They made the determination to sell Saab in 2009/2010, knowing full well what they were doing—-in essence, taking themselves off the hook and dropping their Saab customers somewhere else.  From what I understand, they are now more obligated to Pontiac, Saturn and Hummer owners than they are to GM Saab owners.   Now they will be obstructionists as another company attempts to buy Saab.  As a GM customer, I am angered at GM for potentially damaging my car’s resale value and making it more difficult for me to get parts and service.  That is the basis of my anger at General Motors and I think it’s justified.  I don’t have to understand the nuances of the Ford/Volvo deal or GM’s agreement with their own Chinese partners to realize that I was shafted by GM and now they’re adding insult to injury. 

  7. My Durango is on it’s LAST LEG!  I am so pro-Saab, yet my husband is on the fence…he had a 88 White Conv and I had a 86 900 with a crank sunroof.  The new 9-5s are gorgeous, but at this stage of the game, I’m reluctant to buy.  The dealers are talking about not having parts in the future if the company folds.  HELP!  I see a 6-speed Saab in my future and want to ensure my purchase is warranted.  With $4 gas on the horizon, I want a car that’s fun to drive, something I can LOVE once again.  I’m saying my prayers and hoping for good news on the 22nd.

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