Brightwell Holding on the road in Sweden

While traveling south, the Brightwell Holding delegation traveled through Sweden. The Turkish investor has not yet made an offer and will not do so during his stay in Scandinavia. But we're close, said Zamier Ahmed, Brightwell spokesman for the press.

Yesterday, the interested parties from Turkey were in Gothenburg and Trollhättan, the day before in Stockholm. Like all serious buyers, Brightwell is also looking for a quick fix. Best in February, when the administrators award the contract. Zamier Ahmed's team also sees the timeline as crucial, as do other potential investors.

We know little about Brightwell Holding. The capitalization and the shareholders are still unclear. Saabsunited's friends wrote a few things yesterday, but there are still no reliable facts. We neither know the long-term strategic direction nor the true company philosophy. Is Brightwell a grasshopper in classic sine or an investor with an industrial background? Financing from Far Eastern (oil) sources also sounds more dubious than trustworthy. In an interview with Dagens Industri, Zamier Ahmed said that they wanted to invest a few 100 million euros in Saab. Literally "flera hundra miljoner euro".

Some hundred million euros? Lean back, think of Tata, think of Youngman. Tata invests 5 billion in Jaguar and Land Rover. Tata builds the brands a new, own engine plant. Jaguar and Landrover are brands that are in much better shape than Saab.

Or youngman. Not that the Chinese are my personal favorite. They are not, to make that clear. Youngman wants to invest a billion in the first step. That as a start and certainly not enough to build a brand. Because to bring Saab where the brand could be, it takes a long breath. A decade, 10 years, will be needed to find results and market acceptance. So 10 years of investment without income.

Let's remember Audi. To Ferdinand Piëch, who is positively car-crazy and who has continuously and persistently pursued his goal with Audi. Audi Quattro, fully galvanized body, Audi V8, a long, difficult, rocky road. A few hundred million won't get Saab any further. Saab would ideally need an industrial partner. Mahindra & Mahindra for example. Another automaker. Not an investment company. A few hundred million? Too little, Brightwell Holding.

There is nothing Brightwell has to say about the current negotiations with the Americans. Also about possible jobs you keep covered. Still, because also the question of jobs will interest the administrators. The decision is not only about the purchase price, the future viability of the concept also plays a role.

Brigthwell, that's for sure, wants Saab completely. This is not new, but it is stressed again and again. The great Saab heritage will be preserved, the brand should evolve. The cars are safe, they save lives. And Saab will remain a Swedish label. I like to hear such statements and I believe that the intention behind them is a good one. Even if there are some unanswered questions behind Brightwell.

The numerous interviews that Zamier Ahmed gives are shallow and full of phrases. Even between the lines there is nothing to discover. Nearly nothing. For in one of his last interviews the professional then made a small slip of the tongue. Yes, there is one bidder for Saab whose name has not yet been named. Which, however, except Brightwell of course, would fit well with Saab. There he is again, the unnamed bidder X. Confirmed by Zamier Ahmed.

The next two or three weeks will show what substance is behind Brightwell. It will be interesting if the Turks have a long breath in the race with the other applicants.

In the next few days we know more. Confidentiality is agreed. But Brightwell loves the game with the media. Information flow is guaranteed.

Text: tom@saabblog.net

10 thoughts on "Brightwell Holding on the road in Sweden"

  • Complete agreement. I just interpret a strong CEO like this:
    - can delegate
    - He leads
    - he implements strategies in the company
    - He can differentiate between management / so-called overhead, support and the core process and knows where he is moving in the process landscape => delegate / lead

    He does not necessarily have to wear a pinstripe suit and set the world record in fluent English quick-talking. (Similarity with living persons are purely coincidental and not wanted

  • Unfortunately, my comments have such style flowers from time to time. My iPad is just creative. The correct letter typed omitted or wrong dialed and already created the spelling correction from a gated

    Quote: Assertiveness towards GM = 0

    That was good. I've probably missed something. JAJ was the tolerated brand manager. The financial control was then at GM and also the control of developments (eg Saab Powertain AB was under GM to GM Powertrain AB, all developments had to be tuned with Opel) as well.
    JAJ presented in a different light what I had read between the lines at that time. He planned the demolition of GM with a small team at an early stage and with the filed bankruptcy he did it a good two years ago in a skilful move and GM took control withdrawn. He has again provided Saab with its own structures and provided the skeleton for the new owner to start here. Unfortunately, everything changed. There were not enough funds available with the new owner, the EIB loan became an unpleasant corset. VM then made GM nervous with independence sayings, the BMW deal for Phoenix and the expansion cravings in China. Although VM spoke of a good relationship at its last press conference (until Lofalk appeared), I do not want to believe that.
    Under VM there was the new design boss from America with Italian roots. Saab has no bad designers.
    But as it really was in detail, we will probably never know.
    Let's say Brightwell would be able to take over Saab and a new management crew would be set up. What happens in such cases mostly? From my experience, very clever people are hired on paper who are used to working in much larger organizations / structures. Often, such a job is usually just the springboard to the next job. It counts short-term successes and not the long-term. Most of the time, you reorganize and provide for frustration (new advertising on the newly created positions), friction losses and interrupted workflows.
    For me it makes more sense to hire a seasoned Saabianer for a job. He knows the company, he lives for it. In addition, it is now important to have the structures active again as soon as possible and to go forward with continuity. Saab now has no time for any manager games or other secondary theater scenes.

  • I see that very similar.

    If SAAB management was bad in itself, we would not have seen this incredible commitment of employees at all levels over the last few months.

    In the end, good management means that the numbers are right. On the other hand, SAAB lives from its “Spirit of SAAB”, which makes the brand special. This spirit runs through all levels of the company and it will be a real challenge to maintain it. If that doesn't work, SAAB is dead inside.

    People don't change overnight, and it will therefore be very difficult to find managers from a different corporate culture who are honestly involved in this “Spirit of SAAB” and possibly also abandon old behavior patterns and ways of thinking. I have some problems with that, imagine the typical German car managers at SAAB ...

    For me, the best way would be to find a strong, experienced CEO who can achieve ambitious goals with SAAB management.

  • Jan-Ake Johnson was on board long before VM and has not achieved any outstanding management achievements during this time either - assertiveness towards GM equals 0!

    What is meant by “gated”?

  • Saab has not had any bad people in management - just no one could develop under VM - my personal opinion. Leadership is not or shouldn't be person based.
    The term business conduct is a little tough. Everything was gated.

  • How should management come from within? A new owner will approach the matter as he literally sees it most sensibly and most effectively. The previous SAAB management in particular was not really useful (including Jan-Ake Johnson) - products very good but management grade 5!

    You can't deny Brightwell emotions for SAAB either - with what justification?

    The current trio of trustees will certainly focus on financial strength and future planning. It should not be too difficult to find the most suitable investor here.

    In your comment from 9.02 PM it was mentioned that the business conduct of BMW does not correspond to the SAAB clientele - what is there to criticize in the BMW business conduct?

  • BMW shouldn't be misjudged. BMW as a partner / system supplier is OK, but the BMW way of business does not correspond to the Saab clientele / Saab dealer. Stabilization, not destabilization, is needed, especially in the retail sector. How high is the “fluctuation” at BMW dealers?

  • Nice that Brightwell is in Sweden. But what is the output? We can not expect a bid for Saab as long as Brightwell is in Sweden, so at least one comment on SU.
    I do not quite see that Brightwell has the experience of running Saab. It's so nebulous at least right now (who is Brightwell really, what does VM do later, who are the investors really (if they come from the Middle East and made their money on oil).
    It would be really interesting for the insolvency administrators to see the offers and to rate them, to ask questions and then to see:
    - who is actually in the race
    - What is his mission statement
    - how does he start Saab again
    - How do you create trust in employees and the developers and keep them on board or bring them back
    - Which markets are approached with which priority / are new markets addressed in the first phase or do you focus on stabilization, Phoenix and calculate a loss for the next 3-4 years
    - But above all, how do you finance the project and what are the reserves and critical paths

    It is not the Powerpoint stallions / the “doers” that are required, but rather the calmly acting seniors who define the paths with experience and understanding. Saab management has to come from within and you shouldn't make the mistake of setting up an external, wildly thrown team - each one a top shot, but the emotions for Saab and the conveying of emotions are missing.

  • Hello Joachim,

    how right you are. For many years we hope for independence and financial strength. Unfortunately, in recent years, we have either gained financial strength or independence (although with Spyker actually had neither the one nor the other!).

    Any investor who wants to invest several hundred million euros in the purchase and at least the same amount in the future of SAAB can be right. Because it secures our little whimsy: SAAB automobiles. This hope was not realistic on 19.December 2011.

  • We are all more or less in the fog when it comes to applicants for SAAB automobiles - with regard to the exact plans and the actual financial strength that is available in each case. With applicant X, you don't even know exactly which company it really is.

    You cannot, therefore, judge the Turkish investor worse than your fellow campaigners from the outset - as you know, he might even give us all the models right away if there were positive negotiations with GM. This would be better than having to make do with only the variants of the 9-3 model under Youngman-Lotus (for a certain period of time).

    Nobody knows exactly what Mahindra + Mahindra is up to - but here the financial strength seems to be sufficient in any case ...

    Thus, there are probably positive as well as negative sides for all applicants. If it really concerns the German conglomerate Volkswagen or even better BMW, so would probably be the most suitable investor.

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