The new boss of the Swedish auto supplier, Fredrik Sidahl, gave the DI an interview last week on the subject of Victor Muller, the Saab Future and the perspectives of the Swedish auto industry. Of the events in Trollhättan, this article has been somewhat overrun, so it is only published today.
About Saab CEO Victor Muller: Fredrik Sidahl thinks Victor Muller is a fighter, he doesn't think Saab's business plan is “crazy”. Muller is very committed and, he says, exactly the type Saab needs now.
However, he sees a credibility problem for Muller, but believes that Muller could significantly increase his credibility if he had a CEO and expert team at Saab.
Note: This is what Muller is working on, as we already know, there is a candidate with a very high qualification who could relieve Muller in the future.
About the Saab future: Sidahl sees several hills, he says, that Saab must overcome. He does not say mountains (!). Saab now needs some luck with the funding. The financing must be on time. Youngman's bridge financing would fulfill the most important requirements. He sees opportunities that after the bondholders' meeting with a payment plan to restart the deliveries.
Note: The license payment - or bridge financing from Youngman of over € 70 million is the current bottleneck. It is currently uncertain whether Youngman still stands by the contracts.
About the start of production: Victor Muller says production will start again this year. Sidahl does not think so. He is tapping a production start in January or February.
About the Swedish auto industry without Saab: Saab and Volvo stimulate each other with innovations, which then quickly flow into the supply chain. If Saab fails, Sweden loses this synergy effect completely. For international suppliers, Sweden without Saab will be uninteresting, some suppliers could move the seat to other countries or disappear completely. The latest technology would no longer be available locally, the Swedish auto industry would no longer be competitive.
Sidahl sees this impact in the long run. Also with regard to studies that see the disappearance of Saab as having almost no impact on the Swedish economy. These figures, he says, do not take into account the long-term effects. In the short term, however, he says no supplier would go bankrupt because of Saab.
The thing with the heart, With his heart, says Sidahl, he is in Trollhättan. I feel with them in Trollhättan. But in his job he has to be highly professional.
If we ignore the looming problem with Lotus Youngman, Fredrik Sidal sees the matter very realistically. His assessment of the start of production is certainly very close to reality. Even though we all want an earlier start.
He is the boss of the Association of Suppliers and he is the specialist. For a successful completion of the reconstruction he gives Saab good chances. But only if the financing promises from China are fulfilled.
One of the rare articles at Dagens Industri, where the translation is worthwhile and which one can also read as a Saab fan and which is still largely positive for our brand.
In Sweden, the rumor mill around Saab has been seething for 48 hours. Conspiracy theorists and doom fetishists will like the speculation. So far, not a single reputable source has confirmed this, so I abstain from publication. It may be that the next week starts with a big bang. As soon as reliable facts are available, we will report.