When Paul Akerlund, mayor of Trollhättan commune, talks about the current situation, he likes to say big words. There is talk of national effort, and he likes to refer to the now 100 companies, which are developing under the umbrella of innovation. Trollhättan is a future location for him, and not only mobility solutions should come from the small town in Västragötland in the future.
He is combative, he is busy. But it sounds like the whistle in the forest. Because the current situation in the Saab city is gray in gray. It is hopeless. Unemployment is at its highest in the whole of the Kingdom of Sweden. The rate was 19.9% in December and 20.4% in January. Ascending trend!
Spanish conditions in Sweden
These are Spanish conditions. On the Iberian Peninsula you are fighting with a quota of over 23%. A quick solution is not in sight. The well-trained engineers are taking refuge in start-ups, because the European auto industry is also careful with new hires. But what is left for a skilled worker who has worked in the automobile factory for 20 or 30 years? He can only do one thing: build cars. It looks bad right there.
Trollhättan and the neighboring municipalities are in the car trap. The Saab factory is closed, the Pininfarina / Volvo plant in Uddevalla closes. As a consequence, many micro enterprises in the region are now closing their doors forever. Often there are unknown service providers with 4, 5 or 10 workstations, whose end nobody takes note of. Yesterday again such a small entrepreneur announced the end of his company. The 4 employees worked for Volvo and Saab in the rectification. No more Saab, soon no more Volvo.
The bad news doesn't stop. Bad news for job seekers also comes from the neighboring region. SCA Hygiene Products - the company also produces the well-known paper handkerchiefs in Mölndal, a suburb of Gothenburg - dismisses more than 90 employees. The biscuit factory in Gothenburg 70 employees. This continues on a daily basis, the economic downturn leaves deep skid marks in Västragötland.
What should become of the region without Saab? A whole generation, that of the 40- to 50-year-old automotive specialist, would be difficult to convey in good years. The prospects are bleak in the crisis.
Saab must produce again so that the small businesses around Trollhättan have a chance to survive. It does not help to create a few 100 workstations for the production of some electric cars. Many jobs, Paul Akerlund spoke in the first step of 1.500, there is only one full-range.
A white knight?
An investor who seamlessly continues the brand would be the white knight for Västragötland. He would be greeted with applause. The loyalty and love of the residents would be assured. Saab has the BioPower Concept, which is more interesting than ever. Cars with bio-ethanol drive are the chic alternative at the current gasoline prices. Saab can also be diesel and Saab can also be electric. A patent was filed for a vehicle with a range extender. There is only one decision for Trollhättan and the region to come out of the crisis!
The work has to go to a reputable investor who does not just have electric dreams. E-mobility is good, no question. But only e-mobility is a mainstay on which nobody can stand. The cool expertise of administrators and politicians in Stockholm is in demand. I trust the Saab administrators. Good friends, who are now in personal contact with the administrators, convey a competent and committed image.
I am less confident with the politicians. But I hope for a wise decision! Because for the region and the Saab brand there is only this one chance. The very last one. If the lights finally go out at Saab, then Trollhättan has no chance either. That would be a shame. Because the small, charming town in Västragötaland deserves it.