For months now, we’ve heard GM spokesman James Cain come out and say things like this:
TT: Why did you not agree to meet them?
– We stand by our policy not to sell technology licenses to a new owner for Saab.
TT: Not in any way?
TT: Typically in business, everything has a price tag.
– Not in this case, says James Cain.
So…… They stand by this policy and from earlier in the original article at e24, they responded to Brightwell’s requests for discussions with a big, fat “not interested”.
Not according to Brightwell’s President, Alphan Manas.
We have to rely on a Googletrans from Manas’ own blog here, but it sounds very much like they reached some agreement with GM in relation to the 9-4x before GM demanded a $73million “tooling fee”. This was apparently an unexpected development and it’s quite possible that tactics like this are part of the reason that Brightwell dropped out of the race to acquire Saab.
Of course, it’s not the first GM has done something like this, either. Back in December 2009, GM halted negotiations with Spyker – quite suddenly – and announced that Saab was to be liquidated. Later they backflipped once more and ended up selling the company.
What does all this mean?
Not a lot, really. The changing of terms in business deals is commonplace and GM are as prone to it as anyone else. The fact that a Saab fan might find it distasteful doesn’t alter the fact that it happens (nor that PR people would ‘forget’ such things in public statements).
Perhaps the ‘tooling fee’ is a blessing in disguise for a Saab fan. If I’ve interpreted what Manas has written on his website correctly (a significant “if”, but I think I have), it means that GM might actually be willing to negotiate with a possible purchaser of Saab Automobile under the right circumstances. I’m sure they’ll charge a massive fee for such access, but it’s a glimmer of hope if ever I saw one. The 9-4x deserves to be produced for longer, and as a Saab, too.
Again, I have to stress that I’m relying on a web translation of Manas’ blog. I tried to get in touch with Manas via Twitter last week but got no response. The translation is all I’ve got to go by at the moment. If you know Turkish perhaps you can clarify things a little for everyone.
Thanks to Gregg for the tip.