Bad news spreads faster than good news. Why is it? Is it the urge for sensation? In Sweden there is good news for the other car manufacturer from Gothenburg. And even for the former suppliers of Saab, not everything is lost. And we learn again: Saab is not Volvo. Let's start with the Gothenburgers.
A little good news for Volvo
Volvo is quite open about the crisis. Presumably one has decided internally to attack and it is better to go to the press than to wait until the media attack the company. Yesterday was the Volvo sales chief on the train, admitted to have made gross mistakes in China. Yes, the distribution network has been built up too fast and unlike the competition one has failed to go to the middle cities and is only represented in the metropolises. Thus, the disastrous China result is ticked off medially.
Today Volvo CEO Håkan Samuelsson was in the media who admitted that Gothenburg has built 25.000 fewer cars this year than planned. And he immediately announced that if sales continue to shrink, which he expects, permanent employees will have to go next year. Which will then probably affect many former Saab employees. That Volvo currently has a negative cash flow and that something has to change - no question. The problems are in the works and the media are full of understanding.
Comparing Volvo vs. Saab, one can see how unequally the press treats both automakers. During the Saab crisis, there were daily reports at Dagens Industri. The media carry a certain amount of complicity at the end of the cult brand, which at a certain point in time also had no media chance. A part of it, of course, had disloyal employees who picked up the phone immediately when something happened in the stablebacka.
If Volvo were Saab, the following headline would have been in the last week: “Can Volvo repay the EIB loan?". But Volvo is Volvo, and the level of loyalty is higher than it was for some ex-Saab employees. The press did not write a word about this, although the situation could easily have been critical. From China, from the China Development Bank, came the good news before Christmas that a partial loan for Gothenburg has been approved. The accounts will receive € 922 million or 8 billion crowns, and the EIB loan can be redeemed in good time. That is around 10% of the hoped-for amount that Gothenburg negotiates with the bank.
At the same time, the Chinese are signaling willingness to make further loans, and Volvo could tackle the restructuring and investment. The next critical years to the complete solution of the Ford licenses would be secured. At least in this regard good news for the future of the car industry in Sweden!
Some hope for the Saab suppliers
The Saab administrators are in the media and suppliers, and not only there, in harsh criticism. One wants to pay 129 millions of crowns for the previous work. At the same time, some suppliers are to return funds that they are unlawfully received as creditor favoritism. 290 million kroner should be, General Motors carries the bulk with 23,6 million US dollars. Opel, Magna and Delphi are also on board. Clear that these things do not meet with enthusiasm.
Exciting the question of whether GM, Opel or Magna will transfer money or the writing of lawyers equal to their own legal department on. Whether the claims are really delivered lies with the court which has the last word in this matter.
Sweden is an unusually transparent country for many things. But not when it comes to the insolvency proceedings around Saab. Then suddenly all the barriers that you never suspected fall. To smooth things out, administrator Hans Bergqvist gave a short interview on Radio PV 4 Väst a few days ago. The Saab creditors can expect a quota, so the announcement. There are 1.5 billion kroner in the administrator's pot, which is a good 170 million.
Of course less the costs the lawyers want to approve. The final word has the court, which on 11. January decides.
It is unclear which of the creditors will get when and what. Because the process continues and a conclusion is not visible. With only € 170 million in the administrator's pot, the question arises, for how much - or how little money - the plant and Saab Powertrain were sold to the Chinese. Including the rights to the 9-3 and the Phoenix platform.
The process is unfortunately not transparent, but the final report and the answer to our questions will come. Sometime…