Saab News: The no solution day ... and the Saab factor

Victor Muller & Pang Quinghua
Victor Muller & Pang Quinghua

Saab problems and no solution in sight. Yesterday, alongside the terrible events in Norway, Saab was the dominant topic in the media. Today it is striking that nobody has a solution. Maybe no one wants. Because the problem with Saab is primarily a “birth defect”. Caused by GM.

The Saab CEO

Victor Muller is in China. Is he really? We have no official confirmation, because Muller has become very media-shy. He used to play with the press and let his charm work, so he retired completely today. A sign of frustration? The nerves of a Victor Muller must be very tense, the pressure on each side of him is enormous. Does he give up? No, he is fighting.

He has made many mistakes and thus lost a lot of valuable time. But he tries to get Saab to what he says is a safe haven.

I'm not a Victor Muller fan, admitted. But the rough sound in Sweden surprised me yesterday. Let's hope that Muller saves the situation and that with Chinese help the Maleur comes to an end. And hopefully bring a viable, promising solution home.

Antonov is not a solution either ...

Lars Holmquist, European supplier association CLEPAS, told the press that the EIB had stopped Antonov and his Fond Gemini. For Lars Carlstöm, the Antonov spokesman, there is a secret agreement between the government and the EIB. Allegedly, the government has a secret agenda, is on the way to the service society and have written off the car industry. Conspiracy theories.

More and more you have the impression that many amateurs are at work, everyone gives their mustard, but no one has a solution.

The birth defect ...

The problem is at the very beginning of the story. Totally out of sight one loses a fact. The Saab sale of GM was operated entirely hastily and irresponsibly.

The automaker was sold to the wrong people, from a financial standpoint. Ford has shown social responsibility, has taken his time, although the Ford Group as well as GM was under pressure. Today, Indians and Chinese are investing billions in the former Ford daughters.

This "birth defect" is the source of all Saab problems. GM is responsible. The loan from Luxembourg only made the situation worse.

What do you want in Luxembourg ...

Time and again I wonder what role the Luxembourg bank plays. More and more, one gets the impression that European industrial policy is being made in Luxembourg. Investors with, perhaps, a questionable background should not invest. Mind you, Saab is a mid-sized company with just 3.600 employees. No global corporation, no defense contractor. A licensed car maker to be exact.

Loans are not allocated, but collateral released when it comes to questionable transactions such as real estate sales. A sale that does more harm than good to the business. The properties are gone, the money is spent, the production is over. Saab is further weakened by the substance.

Will you dispose of Saab and clear the market? It would not be the first time in European industrial history that small, innovative companies have been taken out of the market by banks.

The Saab factor

It sounds strange, but the “Saab factor” exists. We Saab fans always knew it. But Dagens Industri, a passionate Saab skeptic, has rediscovered the “Saab factor”. The Gothenburg newspaper interviewed “bankruptcy expert” Marie Karlsson-Tuula today about the Saab case.

Ms. Karlsson-Tuula said "it may sound strange - but there seem to be no rules for Saab". In fact, she said, "the company is insolvent, but it keeps going." All the more astonishing since “only Victor Muller is standing on the bridge”. So Saab is a “one-man” show.

She is also astonished that for months more than 3000 employees are on hold, paid and no layoffs take place. Saab is amazing. In every sense.

It's really amazing, even the future planning continues. Even though we have not seen any new Saab roll off the hinges for four months, the development department continues. Lo and behold, the electric Saab 9-3 ePower is here.

How it goes on…

The Chinese will not let the Swedish fish off the hook. I have repeatedly written that and still think that it is so. But the Chinese have strict rules to follow, can not invest as it would be desirable from our side.

Presumably, on whatever path, another injection will come until the administration in China approves the entry. The hanging section would continue for weeks or months.

Desirable would be clarity and running tapes. And a reliable investment plan.

Only with much luck will we see this condition soon. But, we will need strong nerves for some time.