What has happened around Saab in the past 14 days without blogging, what moves the previous owners Spyker and GM, and what is happening in the Swedish auto industry? And there is a somewhat sad Saab story about the PheoniX study. With the next article we look again at what is happening in Trollhättan. Now first our review. It starts with the Saab PhoeniX study by Jason Castriota.
The fate of the PhoeniX study
The PhoeniX study has somehow disappeared from our focus. Where it currently stands is not certain, and in what condition the study may be is also uncertain. Ex-Saab Blogger Swade has promised fans a final Saab story for Christmas, and he has delivered. The last appearance of the PhoeniX was at the SCNA fair and at some US Saab dealerships.
Back home to Sweden the PhoeniX came with broken wings. Visibly damaged and a symbol of the state of the brand. The story and the pictures are available at Swadeology.
Muller and Guy Lofalk
The story of the rivalry between Muller and Lofalk continues and becomes an unending story. It's about the salaries of Lofalk as Saab administrator, which are too high in Muller's opinion. The local court in Vänersborg refuses to examine the legality and therefore the ex-Saab CEO is now bringing the highest court in Sweden. The story continues, and Muller will also engage us in 2013.
Muller and Youngman
At an extraordinary general meeting just before Christmas, Youngman CEO Pang Qingnian was elected to the Spyker board. There he now steers with Victor Muller the small manufacturer, who wants to build new luxury vehicles based on the Saab Phoenix platform. As a first step, a stock-cut was now closed, because the price of the Spyker stock was at times less than 5 cent. In the year 2006 the price of the share was still at 22,40 €. Capital destruction in luxury format!
GM cleans up
The Americans are cleaning up in Europe. On 24.12 (!) Announced the sale of the transmission plant in Strasbourg. A Belgian investor takes over the traditional factory with approx. 1000 employees. The future is to be secured by a long-term supply contract with ZF, and GM promises to stay with 2014 / 15 customer. In the good days gone by, the GM transmission company had companies like BMW on its customer list. The times are over, the technological backlog is too big.
Unnoticed by the public, Americans are loosing more and more components from the Opel network. For the replacement of an 2.5 billion euro loan, which would have been due at the end of 2014, the Americans will receive an engine plant in Hungary, gearbox production in Austria, a development center in Italy, a plant in Poland and further activities in the UK and Russia. Only the German works and those in Zaragoza (Spain) and Ellesmere Port (Great Britain) still belonged to Opel. The factories sold served GM as a pledge for the loan.
If you suspect behind a long-term plan, that could be right. Because with Thomas Sedran is a proven liquidator or redeveloper, depending on the interpretation, at the Opel peak. Sedan's previous employer, Alix Partners, was quite effective at handling Saab before Spyker took over the business with Victor Muller.
Does GM sell Opel?
GM again. Yesterday the French daily “Le Monde” reported that the French government is pushing PSA to buy Opel. This should create an alliance against VW. “Volkswagen has decided to get PSA out of the way,” “Le Monde” quotes Hollande's environment. This could be prevented with an alliance. It is unclear where the money will come from to take over Opel from GM ownership.
The car industry in Sweden
The Chinese owner has sent a clear signal. Volvo plans to invest 5 billion US dollars over the next 11 years, providing a good long-term perspective. Allte, decommissioned Volvo models are to be built in China in the future as a secondary utilization under a new brand name.
In the short term, the prospects are not so good. Although the Gothenburg came in December in the United States a brilliant final spurt and with an increase of 15.1% increased sales 2012 by 1.3%. But in Europe it looks, as generally, bleak. For the Volvo plant in Torslanda the Swedish press expects redundancies and also the automaker sees 2013 shrinking production figures. In China, the problems are tackled offensively. The Volvo dealer network is being massively expanded and the first results should be visible in 6 months. Then, the biggest car market in the world should report good news to Sweden.
The press is unanimous for Trollhättan and Saab. It's going to be a quiet year and little will be heard from Saab. Everyone expects ongoing developments on the Phoenix platform and nobody talks about the production of the "old" Saab 9-3. We have known since yesterday that the press made wrong bets. Saab will be delivering interesting news this year and it will be exciting.
Image: Saab Automobile AB