SAAB News: Frustration in the supplier warehouse

Jean-Marc Gales, CEO CLEPA

Saab lacks the Swedish auto industry, and many suppliers want the manufacturer from Trollhättan back into the active business. The industry has benefited for years from the fact that there were two manufacturers in Sweden. Because many innovations arose from the interplay between Trollhättan and Gothenburg and the healthy rivalry between the two brands.

After Saab has disappeared from the scene for the time being and Volvo must drive a rigid austerity course, it is for many small businesses closely. The prediction by Svenake Berglie (former CEO of the National Subcontracting Association) that the departure of Saab could jeopardize the whole industry in Sweden proves to be correct 10 months after bankruptcy filing.

Volvo called on suppliers to cut costs on Thursday, 20% within the next three years, and Volvo is cutting jobs. In addition to the already announced deletions, 300 to 400 posts will be discontinued at the end of the year depending on the source, so that more than 600 jobs around Gothenburg will be canceled altogether. Because Volvo is struggling with the problems that have brought Saab to its knees. Ford's engineering licenses are about to expire, the new V40 was Ford's last product, and Gothenburg needs to learn to stand on its own. The next 24-36 months will be tough and exciting for Gothenburg. Automobile specialists in Sweden advise to cooperate, but see only the Fiat-Chrysler Group as a potential partner.

The auto suppliers met for their annual meeting in Gothenburg last Thursday, and as you can imagine, the mood was not the best in the current era. Last year, Vladimir Antonov (who remembers the investor from Russia?) Was on the guest list to talk about the future of Saab. Antonov is a footnote in the history of Saab, and neither the Russian nor the Trollhättan brand has been hoping for the past few months. This year, NEVS had been invited to learn more about the plans in the near future. Many companies that lost large sums of money due to the departure of Saab hoped for good news and were disappointed by the absence of NEVS representatives.

The echo from the auto industry was right, and if you see it very clearly, it was devastating. A quick glance back helps to understand the frustration and the contexts. We once had a potential investor named Lotus-Youngman, who moved around the country talking to the suppliers. The Chinese, whatever they thought of them, put the plans on the table and tied the suppliers at a very early stage. With the still fresh remembrance of visitors from China, suppliers are now facing a wall of silence at NEVS.

NEVS has not had a local representative, and even with the umbrella organization of suppliers there should be no contact, believes what was said on Thursday. Everything the investor does is subject to a secrecy that does not go down well and which is strange when you plan to build cars in 18 months. The new CEO of the European supplier association CLEPAS and former PSA brand leader, Jean-Marc Gales, also found clear words that we did not like. It's sad, Gales says, that Saab did not survive. But what Spyker and Youngman are currently working together, he finds right, and he admits the future plans of Victor Muller. Muller and Youngman want to build vehicles based on Saab technology and offer them in the upper price segment.

Whether the statement from Jean-Marc Gales is based on hunch or inside knowledge, or whether it was the return coach for NEVS, everyone can decide for themselves. One thing is certain: the atmosphere is icy!

The predecessor of Jean-Marc Gales at CLEPA, Lars Holmqvist, became even more explicit towards the press. Everything is a secret, so Holmqvist, the purchase price, the business plan, and that is incomprehensible, since many companies have lost millions. These companies have a right to information. The real scandal, however, according to the former CEO, is that with Lotus Youngman an investor would have been willing to buy. Lotus Youngman would also have taken Saab Parts AB for 2.2 billion crowns, although the company was not worth the sum. Now, however, the Reichsverwaltungsverwaltung is taking over the company from Nyköping, because NEVS is not prepared to pay this sum. Tax money as a price for the acceptance of a strange investor.

The disappointment of the supplier companies is big and understandable. The suppliers are not alone. The local newspaper in Trollhättan gave a stage to Holmqvist and Gales and was the only publication in the country that extensively criticized NEVS. An indication of the mood on the ground. Because NEVS has so far only the announced job offers, it should be about the 75, out. More did not happen.

The sale of the work and the use of trademark rights by NEVS raised more questions than it answered, and the process does not seem very transparent. Who cooks a secret soup, which must be surprised about lack of enthusiasm and harsh criticism. NEVS is a construction that we keep under observation. Whether this will be a future for the brand, or whether we only write for youngtimers, that shows us the time.

One thing is clear: even with all negative signs that the suppliers see ... as long as the production facilities in Trollhättan have not been dismantled and money is flowing into maintenance, there is hope for the location. For whatever.

Text: tom@saabblog.net

Photo: Clepa

17 thoughts on "SAAB News: Frustration in the supplier warehouse"

  • Also fits a message from Sweden:

    "Swedish company SSAB falls victim to the steel crisis"

    (where I first read SSAB-> SAAB)

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    the situation is very inscrutable. The behavior of NEVS compared to those in Sweden
    resident and there producing suppliers can also be interpreted as meaning that one
    does not need, because one does not produce in Sweden at all (if one produces at all?)
    And SAAB Parts, if no Saab s are produced and re-launched
    Sooner or later only very few parts will be needed and then the shop will not be profitable any more, and also do not forget, a lot of the spare parts are from the
    Supplied by NEVS.
    So it's best to handle our SAAB s very carefully

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    You don't have to be surprised. As has already been said, the whole thing is highly political. From my point of view, neither the Swedish state nor the new society want to have anything to do with the old 'gasoline vehicles'. You just want to be GREEN, because all the others are written off anyway !! You can already see in many places that these green ideas are doomed to failure, such as on http://www.eike-klima-energie.eu/ and other forums, which look at the whole thing a bit more critical.

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    Oh, hello Hr. Gales !!

    Opel / GM sends its regards ..., you know the gentleman well ...

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    A little on the sidelines, but has to do with the spare parts for SAABs and for information: Last WE saw a SAAB customer center in the industrial area Mülheim-Kärlich near Koblenz.

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    The decision is actually not that completely incomprehensible. Since it is complete nonsense from an economic point of view - no insolvency administrator with more than a day's experience who knows a bit about the automotive industry would rely on a newly founded financial consortium with steering companies in tax havens - it is more politically justified. Why? Why should the Reich Debt Administration now allow itself to be fobbed off with 200 million euros if it could earn a lot more with SAAB Parts in the next few years without much effort? There comes a bidder who doesn't want SAAB Parts, that's just right. And car spare parts are something like a license to print money - they are always required, so there is a market that is almost exclusively available (within the scope of your brand); there is no need for research and development, so all you really have to do is let the factory run. There is hardly an easier way to make money.

    There could be another reason that NEVS is holding back in this way - maybe they already know that they don't even need to introduce themselves because they might be demoted to the SAAB department in six months anyway?

    Certainly NEVS has no obligation to inform the former SAAB customers, but alienating the supplier network in this way can also take revenge. Except for phrases, there was nothing so far. And at least one could have explained the business plan to the suppliers in camera ... if there was something to explain.

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      That's how I see it too. So far I thought that NEVS has something up its sleeve that will later cause a surprise in the automotive world in terms of SAAB. But so ... No!

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    Really all just a sad undertaking, what's going on in Sweden for this car brand. Soon nothing surprises me anymore. Loans from dealers and customers for months. And before that, everything was sold or pledged that was somehow still halfway worth. Just a shame, a shame, a shame …….

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    What's going on in Sweden is a tragedy. People, savor your SAAB as long as possible, we'll do it too. There is nothing left!

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    I hereby call on all SAAB friends to buy the only antiquarian book "The Spirit of SAAB - more than a car" by Rolf Bleeker.
    You will have a lot of fun with it and you will soon notice that this spirit - the Spirit of SAAB - has passed away once and for all.
    The bad thing is that it is so similar in many other areas - in excess in Sweden - and here too.
    The old swing is gone - and to speak freely after Valentin; If it continues like this, it will soon stop. At least not in the way we would like.
    Greetings from a “former” SAAB driver and currently somewhat frustrated automotive mass product user.

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      I bought the book over 20 years ago, when I drove an 900er of the first series. A beautiful book describing the story of SAAB.

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    I think awkwardly. Even if you do not want to say anything, representatives should at least have been there. I read that NEVS justified the move by not being ready yet. That begs me to wonder how many more months they will need.
    I interpret this as meaning that no big investor is in the background (more?). Similar to the BMW lawsuit (rightly or wrongly stated), it should be in the interest of a future manufacturer of anything to build good relationships with any prospective contractors.

    @ SaabRedJ should inform about everything from my point of view also not. However, there are possibilities to take former Saab business partners or customers (if you want that).

    (To judge: I am neutral to NEVS to date, but at the moment I recognize in their work also no connection to Saab, but only see a group that has bought (exaggerated) a platform and a work).

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    The Swedish automotive industry is z. Not very good at the moment. I guess that's FACT. What VOLVO does is one thing, what NEVS fails to do is another. Simply ignoring top-class contacts with suppliers borders on arrogance. Even if NEVS does not want to let the cat out of the bag, contact with future partners is the minimum! Apart from NEVS later on in the "Far East" ..., a sobering thought!
    If the owners of NEVS have already invested a lot of money and got the name SAAB and the factory, these gentlemen (?) Surely know what they want to do. Why do not you talk about it? Anticipation is the best of all pleasures !!! And, there are only plans! They can always tilt again, every businessman knows! So Fa. NEVS: Courage for openness!

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    I assume NEVS simply seriousness. But you do not want the dealers, not the spare parts sales and not us customers. One would like to do his thing as undisturbed as possible in order to surprise the market in a year or two with a new product. No wonder the Japanese financier left the kamikaze party on this plan because NEVS seems to be a suicide candidate. The jobs described by another blog with a lack of language skills as existing are in reality only offers, so it is also on the homepage of NEVS.
    Sorry but I think that is lazy spell and not anymore. We drive our SAABs as long as possible, I can not believe in a reboot.

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    NEVS does not have to inform us about what they intend to do.
    NEVS is a newly established company that has bought a car factory and the rights to the name Saab. This is their first beer what they do with it even if we do not like it. But as I have already written it would be time for the insolvency administrators to explain why everything went the way it is now

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    It was certainly not a straightforward situation for suppliers at the time, but if CLEPA had put some pressure on Saab to restart production before the summer, we would not be more likely to talk about NEVS now.

    The sale of SAAB to NEVS may have more political than economic reasons, but now everything is just history, and we are now just spectators.

    NEVS will present a car at the beginning of 2014 or not, but until then you will be patient, because they will not tell, but who of us (for example) knows what's happening with the BMW brand? Will i3 and i8 exist or was it just false promises?

    The automotive industry is full of secrets, and NEVS will do the same. And NEVS will then talk to the suppliers if NEVS finds it necessary. NEVS is not the old SAAB.

    I'm not trying to defend NEVS, but I can not understand this claim from the Saab fans that NEVS should inform us about everything.

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    When will the insolvency administrators finally declare their decisions and their actions? When it comes to so many jobs and a lot of money, then one can expect from these gentlemen that they also give their reasons for choosing this NEVS structure and not a higher-bidding and financially strong automobile company. I think it can't be true that no one has really pushed them hard to finally find out the truth. Is there no law in Sweden that requires an explanation in such a case from the insolvency administrators, or are they allowed to do what they want with impunity?

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