Watching the Saab reorganisation reports

Tis the season to be jolly nervous…..

The Examiner is posing some Dear Santa questions from various stakeholders in the car industry:

Saab Owners: A glimmer of hope for the future of their beloved, quirky sport sedan.

Actually, I think most people are wishing for a future hatchback, but that aside….

Yes, people are indeed looking for hope for Saab Automobile. This weekend’s going to be a crucial one as we have a very important court hearing on Monday afternoon and some key events leading up to that hearing will go a long way in determining the short term future of the company.

The Examiner’s info is a little bit outdated (not uncommon) but there is plenty of hope for this company if we can overcome a few short term, not-insignificant obstacles.

Naturally, I keep a pretty close eye on what’s being reported in the motoring press about Saab’s current fight to survive. It will come as no surprise that many commentators wrote Saab off a long time ago.

e.g. The Truth About Cars:

all these delays have only made it more likely that Saab will die on the week before Christmas.

Those are probably the kindest words uttered about Saab by TTAC in the last six months.

The news services generally report events as they happen, with a little bit of historical context thrown in. They rarely make predictions about what will happen next, most likely because they’ve learned from prior experience that with Saab, especially in 2011, you can’t tell what’s going to happen next 🙂

Commentators, on the other hand, are paid to provide commentary. They interpret and they use their varied levels of experience to predict what they think is going to happen in the future. That’s reasonably easy when it comes to most companies, but not with Saab, and many commentators had Saab dead and buried well before December 2011.

They’re generally a proud bunch and don’t like to change their predictions – egos are just as prominent amongst commentators as they are amongst auto executives and a reputation for reading the wind correctly is everything – but it’s good to see that some writers are at least recognising the incredibly gutsy fight being put up by the Saab executive here in Sweden.

Paul Eisenstein:

It’s proving a lot more risky than most folks might have anticipated to bet against the struggling Swedish automaker Saab.Just ask administrator Guy Lofalk.

Barely a week ago, he had recommended that the courts end Saab’s voluntary reorganization, which would have meant the collapse of the company, which has been struggling to find investors – or a buyer – since last spring. Instead, Lofalk has been fired and replaced with what appears to be a more willing administrator while Saab itself will have some more time to pull together a deal.

By the way, some reports (like this one at Reuters) might leave readers with the impression that Guy Lofalk won’t be allowed to resign his position as administrator. My understanding is that Lofalk has to stay on until Monday – the court hearing, again – which will give our creditors the opportunity to approve the change of administrator. So he will be able to leave the position, just not quite at the time of his choosing.

But back to slightly confounded journalists 🙂

From Just Auto:

Every week for months now, I expect to be writing a small obituary for Saab, gone to join the likes of Pontiac, Saturn, Oldsmobile, Rover, Austin et al in brand name heaven and, every week, another rabbit gets pulled out of the hat.

That’s the quote that started this whole post, actually.

The reasons that people write us off are understandable given that they’re not privy to all that’s happening at Saab. We’re a small fish in a big ocean, we’re in financial trouble, etc etc. We have some key stakeholders that have made decisions about our future for us and we’ve had to work around those decisions, which has made the process even longer.

But the key thing to remember here is that we DO have a lot of things going for us as a company. Perhaps the key thing going for us right now is the significant interest we have some from some well-resourced investors and the support we have from our closest stakeholders.

They key question is whether or not a structure can be found and put into motion quickly enough to reassure the decision makers. It’s quite literally a race against time. A valid solution is in place and should be presented on Monday. It’s a matter of whether or not we’ll be allowed the time to execute it.

From a media-watcher’s point of view, it’s just good to see some recognising that we’re working our butts off to achieve a good result here. And that we’re not doing it without reason.

Have a good weekend. No prizes for guessing what’s on our Christmas wish list this year – a speedy positive outcome for our employees and a bright future for the Saab brand.

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10 Comments

  1. Hmmm.  My morning started with a stop to admire a Saab 900 hatch in the hotel parking lot.  I could be per-SWADE’d to pass up 9-5 Combi dreams for a hatch.  BBTH!

    Good luck, Saab.  Get well soon!

    1. Likewise, I was checking out a really nice classic 900 this morning parked by the bike shop.  One of the best I’ve seen of its vintage. Looking forward to brighter days, 9-5 Combi stateside, and new hatchbacks!

  2. I’m always astonished by the presumed “supporters” of Saab who come to the online forums to write “This is it, Saab is dead” which they have been doing for the last couple years.  They’ve been proven wrong so far—-and hopefully Saab will march into 2012, alive.  And hopefully Saab will march into 2013—-alive and well.

  3. I am a supporter of Saab… Granted my little 9-3 has gone to the great parking lot in the sky… I really hope that Saab makes it. I have the most faith in the company. I really just hope i get the chance to get my hands on a new 9-5. To the underdogs! May we all achieve greatness!

  4. Me, I’m just looking for the light at the end of the tunnel. Both my 9-3s are running flawlessly. And, by the way there are still a lot of Pontiac, Saturn, and Oldsmobile cars on the road in Lubbock. The cars don’t just disappear.

  5. I guess the possibility to appeal any court decision exists, so there should be that lifeline come what may on monday. Personally I doubt that the Chinese are willing to part with their monies right now. I’m worried by what appears to be a “as little as late as possible” strategy by Saab in regard to hard evidence for the court. Seven months of preparation for a deal which was in direct disagreement with GM’s change of control -clause may come and bite Muller in the arse now. Court may be doubtful whether Saab actually know what they are doing, and without cash for proof, for court it can look like a case of “fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice…”

    All that said, I sincerely wish the survival of this brand. Had to bite the bullet and cancel my order earlier this year, and now I’m driving a big Opel. Kinda wish this was all a bad dream.

  6. Been driving SAABs since 1970…currently a 2000 Viggen, 2002 9-3, 1967 96 V4…certainly hope Saab servives the current troubles. A new small hatchback would be most welcome and give me incentive to trade. Plus maybe a new 96…thats “ninety six”, not “nine-six”   🙂

  7. On days like this , to put some of the grey out of my mind I get out the 86 900 T 3 dr. and go for a drive . Today will take me to the  far corners for about 5 hours and I’ll enjoy the drive . The 86 is special to me because it’s one I connect with  , I’ll not have the radio on , nor use the cruise just me , my lovely wife , and a quarter million miles of good memories .
      Bob Sinclare was a wonderful man and I often was able to talk to him at various events , and I often wonder what  Uncle Bob whould be doing at this time of grey for SAAB  cars . I did find a great Vidio on youtube in dedication to him after his passing and after seeing the vidio , I can only belive that he and Ann whould be having fun ……. driving or riding somewhere but his love of SAAB whouldn’t be far away mabey this will be a sunny day for that drive .   

    1. And 12 hours later  I got home  and all was good on this sunday drive , and I had fun , Monday is now soon , however today in my small life of SAAB all is well for a bit .  Dave

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