Jonas Fröberg: Restarting the production is not enough for Saab

Kampen om Saab - The fight for Saab continues
Kampen om Saab - The fight for Saab continues

Saab's perspective from the perspective of Jonas Fröberg, the author of “Kampen om Saab”. Fröberg is one of the “Saab - friendly” authors, is considered an intimate connoisseur of the brand, and writes for Svenska Dagbladet. He published today what he thinks of the situation in Västragötland.

Jonas Fröberg writes:

All signs are now on start for a new start of production on Friday or Monday. Where the trend is clear: The suppliers have not withdrawn the pronounced termination and wait for the long-term financing of Saab. And that can take time.

On the surface, it has become unusually quiet in the last few days but behind the scenes in Trollhättan raging the bloodiest battle ever.

It's about rebooting a factory that stood for seven weeks. It's about more than convincing 1000 suppliers to start delivering. Although Saab is currently unable to secure even short-term financing.

And it seems to be a success. Let's see the "battle" as a multi-stage missile for Saab. Stage one was to raise short-term capital in order to be able to process the order block of more than 6.500 vehicles. Stage two was to convince suppliers to agree to payment plans for existing debts and to negotiate reasonable terms for new deliveries.

Muller himself has said that he 800 * million (* all sums in the translation are Swedish crowns) needed to restart the production. He is now close to 550 millions, plus 40 millions from the GEM fund to extremely unhealthy conditions. But he has no choice. He has already tried to sell the plant in Trollhättan to other investors after the EIB stopped selling to Antonov.

The goal is to start production on Friday when the new China partner Pang Da, who has bought Saabs for 270 and will probably buy more for 130 millions, comes to visit. And that seems to work that way. Important partners are Plastal, which supply plastic parts, and IAC which supplies instruments. One after the other signed the supplier contract. This is one of the most important and necessary victories of Saab. Against all reason.

The risks for the plagued suppliers are considerable. This is clearly visible. IAC kat recently announced 200 terminations and Plastal has terminated 50 employees. And they will not withdraw the redundancies before the long-term financing is ensured and a clear ownership structure becomes visible.

The next step is long-term financing. It has to be in that direction. Pang 600 wants to invest millions and find a new manufacturing partner in China when the powerful super-ministry, the NDRC, agrees. This is currently very uncertain.

Vladimir Antonov wants 29.9% of Saab and wants to invest nearly 1,0 billion, would like to come to a meeting with Maud Oloffson. Presumably she will listen to him. But he'd better get on his private jet and head for Luxembourg and GM to Detroit. Because there are the real string pullers.

After all, it's all about selling Saabs again after a return to the automotive world when Saab pulled himself out of the swamp.

- Author: Jonas Föberg -

Mot alla ods - contrary to common sense, Fröberg writes. Apt, because the restart goes against all reason. But we're not talking about any factory, we're talking about Saab. And in Trollhättan you have a strong will to survive. Fröberg thinks Antonov should rather meet with the EIB and GM. He is right. Antonov should address the "Luxembourg problem", because this is the only way he can get on - including Saab. The Swedish government is only an actor, decisions are not made in Stockholm. Even well-intentioned signature campaigns are of little help.

Text / translation: tom@saabblog.net