Deck chairs on the Titanic

Well, that were quite eventful last few days last week. One moment I am in a taxi returning home from a business trip to Ireland, the next moment I found myself in an ambulance. SAAB-related announcements. NEVS wants to start the production line again. Yet, where is the euphoria in the media and on the different forums on the web coming from?

Deck and Deck Chairs on the Titanic © Corbis
Deck and deck chairs on the Titanic © Corbis

New 9-3's wants to be produced again!
Mattias Bergman's statements that NEVS is planning to start production line in Trollhattan again very shortly. The plan to produce another 100 9-3's is obviously good news; why have a car factory if you're not making any cars, right? The first catch is in the fact that the 9-3's are going to be modeled on 2014 and are not expected to have any updated features compared to the previous year. Bergman uses the term "complete" ("fullföljer") Rather than manufacture. So more MY14 9-3's will see the light of day (which is great as IMHO this is the best 9-3 ever built…), but this is by no means the restart of regular production process as some media were suggesting.

NEVS Saab #1
NEVS Saab #1

Money, Money, Money
So why would anybody consider making more than one out of date car in the previous attempt last year only had limited success in the market (only a few hundred 9-3's were sold) and without a working reseller channel? ABBA's most famous songs are: money, money, money. Bergman was clear in his statements to the Swedish press last week that the 100 9-3's completion of the completion of the XNUMX XNUMX's what to generate cash. Not a surprise as such, as this is the target for any manufacturer, now in NEVS's case the cash is urgently needed to avoid immediate catastrophe.

Rearranging deck chairs
The English Expression "rearranging deck chairs on the TitanicPopped into my mind when I am reflecting on the announcements. Of course, the one hundred 9-3's will eventually pay off, but the problem is both imminent (ie cash is needed now) and much bigger.

To keep the Titanic analogy, NEVS is heading for the metaphorical iceberg as there is no concrete progress to report on the negotiations with Mahindra and D, When in December the Vänersborg District Court extended the reorganization processMahindra board decision about the matter which is expected by the end of the same month. I actually do not know what the board of directors is going to do 1st deadline wants to be really hard, let alone lead to an outcome that is both positive and sustainable.

Brand identity, the key

© 2014
SAAB logo's throughout the years © 2015

Reportedly the core remaining problem that is the delays is a simple and familiar yet significant four letter word: SAAB.
More specifically, the negotiations with defense and security group SAAB AB to secure the usage rights of the SAAB brand with the new potential owners. I do not think I can not tell you what's new in the SAAB brand. In fact, throughout the SAAB history discussions at different levels have taken place to agree on logo, font types and other crucial ingredients of the brand name Scania in 1969, the GM era at the end of the last century and more. More recently, the negotiations with SAAB AB were reported to be a significant obstacle with the takeover of SAAB Automobile AB by Spyker Cars, but also NEVS struggled in 2012. I consciously wrote "struggled" as I can not imagine that Kai Johan Jiang wants to have been happy with the fact that SAAB AB limited him quite a bit in the use of the SAAB brand by forcing NEVS to use a black background (vs. the familiar SAAB -blue) in the logo and refrain from any references to the aircraft heritage. SAAB AB's bad experiences with the market mixing up a bankrupt car builder with a prospering defense and security group. This time Mahindra is SAAB AB to license the SAAB brand.

What next?
There are 15 working days left until the March 1st reorganization deadline. Mattias Bergman NEVS needs more time and will be available for a 3rd 3-month extension, but for this to the light of the court concrete evidence of progress against the reorganization plan, sufficient funding and thumbs up from the creditors need to be shown again. Mahindra wants to have enough to satisfy the former, so what are you waiting for? 14 9 3 3 does not cover the actual costs of another 3 months so if anything more short-term funding is needed. Then the question about the creditors: it's been remarkably quiet on this front given the turbulence in December. Svea Ekonomi and LeanNova wants to be joined by more naysayers this time around.

So do I think "Captain Bergman" has just ordered the deck chairs on his ship to be rearranged? I sincerely don't hope so because I do NEVS to succeed and SAAB to live on. However, time is really of the essence. NEVS wants to be able to last long as at least money, trust and credibility want to run out then.

7 thoughts on "Deck chairs on the Titanic"

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    One has just come to the Wallenbergs 9-3 Saab, from Sweden only for Europe. A funeral should not be the last common link.

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      The Wallenberg family have reportedly been involved in previous talks about the future of SAAB but that's been a while.
      BTW they are still connected anyway as supporters of the SAAB Museum.

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    There is a rumor going on the Internet since a couple of days that may be getting into the car business. A statement on becoming a Tesla competitor (allegedly by an Apple employee) So what reports, cf eg Appleinsider.

    Makes me wonder if you want to buy a modern assembly facility in Sweden that is just now developing electric-drive cars.

    Incidently, of course, Apple would have it all, to satisfy not just Saab AB demands re the use of the brand (though Apple would probably not need the brand "Saab" anyway), but also the Analysis at Saab United that led to the conclusion that Saab AB might have the high tech required to come up with a modern car. That would probably apply to Apple as well.

    Not to forget that Apple has the money. Lot's of it. Piles. They could probably buy Mercedes. Buying Saab / NEVS would be a rounding error for them.

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      Interesting thoughts. Tesla has been recruiting people from them and how unsuccessful Apple has been to the same back.
      Not sure if this was necessarily related to them wanting to get into car manufacturing themselves but who knows (having said that, there were a ton of rumors earlier about Apple releasing their own TV sets and that didn't materialize either). Yet even if they were interested I would doubt it that this would lead to them acquiring the Trollhättan facilities.
      I guess the most realistic option at the moment is still NEVS 'current plan to get a new majority owner in (Mahindra) supported by a second major investor (Dongfeng).
      As for the "analysis" you referred to- I am afraid this is yet an example of wishful thinking / pure speculation.

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        Very unsure indeed. The rumors, however, circle around those camera equipped cars, the holder of which turned out to be Apple. And more.

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    Get well soon!
    Thank you for the article makes it easier to understand the last moves in the Saab drama.
    kind regards

  • blank

    you have been to hospital? krya på dig! hope you do much better again. that is important. the rest is business we have no influence on

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