Judicial dates are the time of settlement. The opportunity to find answers to open questions. In Vänersborg there will be a lot of open questions starting in January. The last months of Saab Automobile AB are being worked up. Chief Prosecutor Sahlgren brings via DN in advance heavy artillery in position.
4,8 billion € loss over the years 1990 to 2010. That sounds like a lot of money and it is. A headline that is very striking. It sounds at Saab after a company that would never have had the chance of profitability as a hopeless case. But it is not even half the truth.
Saab financed the flops of GM
During the GM period, costs were often socialized in the high tax country of Sweden. The Cadillac BLS project is a good example of this. Saab paid for the development of the flop. In contrast, earnings went to American coffers. The development costs for other brands in the group, the construction of prototypes - that was booked to Trollhättan. So you saved taxes successfully. In 18 of 20 GM years, profits with Saab losses could be expected to be small.
But the real big drama is the Spyker years. There are unanswered questions here, and most of all they will have to answer Jan Åke Jonsson. Since joining 1973 in various positions at GM, he knew the situation at Saab long before he was appointed CEO. He missed some bitter pills on behalf of GM before his years in Trollhättan, his relationship with Saab was not always relaxed.
Jonsson, a seasoned, competent manager, stayed on board when Spyker took over. A buyer, with no financial backup whatsoever, pounces on a brand with high capital requirements. And he stayed on board after March 1st. The black day when GM finally pulled the plug on Saab. No more deliveries without cash, that was the end. Because the supposedly independent Saab Automobile AB was still completely dependent on the Americans.
Saab in dependence on GM.
Production control in the factory - a license from GM. Saab 9-5 and 9-4x, licensed by GM. Finished products automatically became the property of GM's financial subsidiary. The distribution network depends on GM; Efforts to become independent got stuck in the early stages. In this situation, a person would have been assumed to be self-employed.
The 1. March 2011 was the date of death of Saab. GM had the mark after two previous reconstructions so for the third time and especially finally taken out of the world. The question is why? Why now? 220 million Swedish kroner (23 million €) of liabilities can not have been the reason. What Saab produced went automatically to GM through a blanket assignment. The claims were covered, the least risk was in Detroit.
But for Saab the decision was fatal. The dependence on services from the GM / Opel environment was complete due to the long membership in the group. It was like suddenly turning off the power. Jonsson remained in office as Saab CEO until May 19, 2011. He, the veteran GM manager, must have known that Saab wouldn't even have a chance in the medium term without a potent partner. That without GM in the background there would be no next month, no next week, no tomorrow.
In 2010 and 2011 there was a rumor that Muller Saab should only have passed on to GM partner BAIC. With a surcharge as a commission, of course. The rumor lasted a long time. Jan Åke Jonsson could have played Detroit's minder at Muller's side.
That's the only explanation that makes sense to me. In January, questions will be asked in Vänersborg. Jonsson's answers are particularly curious.