By on July 7, 2011

I am getting tired writing about Saab. According to the clicks on Saab-stories, you are getting tired as well. Empty promises, missed deadlines, endless wait. There is even dissension in the ranks of Saabsunited, where more and more people are getting tired of waiting. So, let’s make this short.

Reuters reports that the wait will be a few months longer. According to a Saab press release, “Saab Automobile plans to restart production by Tuesday August 9, provided that the above criteria are met.”  Some of the criteria are “discussions with its suppliers on materials supply and commercial terms.”

The Saab workforce has been sitting on their thumbs for close to three months now. They were paid. Two weeks ago, Saab did not have the money to pay the salaries of the idled workers. The company stared bankruptcy in the eye. In the meantime, half of Saabs real estate was sold, and other sources of cash were tapped. Most of that money is going to pay workers for doing nothing. They can’t work without parts. It is a waste of money to pay people for doing nothing. Money Saab clearly cannot afford. If Saab would have paid suppliers on time, cars would be leaving the factory.

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43 Comments on “Saab, The Car For Waiters And Waitresses...”


  • avatar
    GS650G

    It’s a shame SAAB isn’t an entrenched US company, the workers would have been handed the keys and billions of tax dollars used to float them.

    Of course they would have to produce 48K$ electric cars and all that but hey as long as the key is in the center console who minds.

    GM should step in and buy them back, they could use the US government’s money to do so. ;

    • 0 avatar
      PintoFan

      Unfortunately, the Swedish don’t seem as keen to protect their native industries as we are. Which will work against them, but we at least didn’t make the same mistake.

      • 0 avatar
        tresmonos

        moorewr:
        I like it. Re-educating the masses. Textiles isn’t completely dead: Milliken researches materials and manufacturing processes that are used in anything from Navy Seals equipment to Under Armour fabrics. Sure it’s knocked off and copied eventually, but someone has to innovate to progress a product. There was even a denim manufacturer in Pickens, SC that supplied denim to Levi up through the 90′s (quite profitably) and still does production runs here and there for other products. Going back to Keynes: the military will always make sure there’s a manufacturing industry on shore.

      • 0 avatar
        eldard

        “Unfortunately, the Swedish don’t seem as keen to protect their native industries as we are. Which will work against them, but we at least didn’t make the same mistake.”

        Don’t worry about Sweden. It’s so rich in metals that Hitler made it a priority to invade them.

    • 0 avatar
      mike978

      GS – you could have easily cited VW, Toyota and others as receiving aid from their Governments but you didn`t.
      Yes some GM workers are making $41K electric/hybrid cars. But many more are making $20K compacts that are selling at a healthy clip – but that fact would distract you from your bias.

      • 0 avatar
        tresmonos

        Bias, as in the ‘bias’ the gov’t had toward it’s liberal voting union drones?

        The US hasn’t protected manufacturing prior to this BS. What happened to the textile industry down south? Where is steel manufactured? Whatever happened to ‘silicon valley?’ It’s all been bled overseas. Textile manufacturing took such a beating that the region is the reason why the gov’t had to bail out a unionized organization: people will work for an honest wage in the south.

        Not to mention the unfair advantages GM now has over it’s competition. Bias? You have to be kidding me.

      • 0 avatar
        moorewr

        Let me get this straight, tresmonos. You think George W Bush (the president, after all, that bailed out the auto industry) had a FNORD for “its liberal voting union drones?”

        How does that work, exactly?

      • 0 avatar

        Immediately cease the usage of the word “bias” on penalty of losing commenting privileges. See separate notice.

        Thank you.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        @tresmonos:

        And why did the textile industry die in our country? It is quite simple: Americans can’t work for $.10 an hour; folks in places like Bangladesh can. I know; my father worked in the clothing industry for 25 years and this change, along with others in the industry, put him out of business.

        We hear a lot about how uncompetitive American labor is, but the folks who make that argument fail to tell the other side of the story, which is that Americans couldn’t possibly live on what many foreign workers are paid.

      • 0 avatar
        psarhjinian

        We hear a lot about how uncompetitive American labor is, but the folks who make that argument fail to tell the other side of the story, which is that Americans couldn’t possibly live on what many foreign workers are paid.

        Wage erosion and structural undereployment. We’ve replaced wages with credit and allow technology to stand in for earning power, but it can’t last forever and at some point we’re going to have to actually start generating good jobs if we want the economy to grow**.

        Good luck with that, though. Both sides of the political spectrum in most western nations have pretty much re-framed the discussion in such a way that fixing wage erosion and employment is off the table. It’s all about debt, taxes and globalisation now.

        The Swedish government is more progressive than most and realizes that bending over backward to support a marginal corporation that exists at the whim of offshore investors and offers little or no value to the economy as a whole is fruitless. Better to try and ensure gainful employment in Sweden by viable entities, if not through direct stimulus.

        ** and playing “how low can you go” is not going to do that.

      • 0 avatar
        moorewr

        If wages were the reason, alone, for the loss of industrial jobs, then Germany could not be a major exporting industrial power. And yet it is. The difference is twofold: its industry adapted to supply the high end of the markets they operate in, and the government intervenes to keep those industries operating.

        Look at Airbus (a European combine) and Boeing. Both exist through massive handouts from their parent countries governments, although the form is different. Why should cars be exempted?

      • 0 avatar
        GS650G

        Mike978,
        Aid or a bailout? When did Toyota have to stiff their creditors? I don’t have B I A S , I’m not the union troll here.

        Yes, those GM workers in foreign countries are making plenty of compacts today. How about that?

      • 0 avatar
        tresmonos

        moorewr: point taken. Crow consumed via my stupid remark though what I spoke is the general feeling from the south.
        FreedMike: textile manufacturer’s that retooled and reorganized quick enough survived. Milliken and Shaw are good examples. There were a few more that survived up until the most recent economic collapse. Most died out as they didn’t have the funding to retool, IE no one was there to bail them out while they reorganized and updated tech.

        GM and Chryco got special treatment due to whatever reason you want to pull out of a hat.

      • 0 avatar
        tresmonos

        moorewr,
        please explain the benefits of the gov’t picking and choosing which industries to support. How is this better than a more pure form of capitalism?
        For not getting a bailout in the 80′s, the south sure has the north beat in current standard of living. It wasn’t the case post free trade agreements with China. It was a miserable existence in southern communities tied to manufacturing. Now it’s the opposite. I’m sure there’s many factors influencing this, but like I said, I fail to see how gov’t bailouts help anything.

      • 0 avatar
        moorewr

        @tresmonos

        That requires a very long answer, with a lot of Keynes and Hayek footnotes. In the current circumstances suffice to say that capitalism, left to itself, is transferring wealth and industries out of the US to less affluent societies.

        In the very long run this is good! When Mexico, or China, is as rich as the US we will trade together in a better world. In the long run, however (watch for the keynes!) we’re all dead. The US has to continue to function as an affluent society for all of its citizens. That means cushioning the cyclical shocks that would wipe out whole industries.

        In my view the textile companies should have been lent the capital to retool. That way those industries would still exist, or at least might still exist, if they’d been wise about the money they were lent. Call it a bail-out if you like.

      • 0 avatar
        moorewr

        @GS650G

        You don’t think Japan props up its automobile industry – and protects it from competition in the JDM?

        Amazing.

        Also, note that Toyota and others are threatening to shutter their Japanese factories and make their cars in China. Let’s see how that plays out.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        @Tresmonos:

        The textile manufacturers that survived here are the ones making high-quality, high-cost goods. My $140 New Balance shoes – made specially for folks with lousy feet like mine – are made here, but the rest of the line is made overseas. Ditto for most upscale clothing.

        That makes sense – the foreign competition can undercut our workers on price, but not on quality. That worker making $.20 an hour in Vietnam might be just dandy at making a cheap stitch on a cheap pair of jeans, meant to be sold for $10 and discarded in a few months. But they won’t have the skill to make a Brooks Brothers suit, or a pair of Johnston and Murphy shoes.

        This is true in many industries. That’s why, as moorewr points out, Germany is a large exporter and commercial airplanes are made almost exclusively in Europe and North America – if you want the highest quality goods, you want them made anywhere but the third world. Their manufacturing base and laborers aren’t “worked up” sufficiently to make something as complex as a commercial airliner…or a car that’s anything more complex than a Tata Nano.

        But the reason why the overwhelming majority of our textile business went overseas is that most clothing is designed to be cheap and throwaway (it’s a fashion business and fashion changes). And that’s where the overseas competition shines. We can’t.

        And the reason why GM and Chrysler got bailed out was real simple: we couldn’t afford hundreds of thousands of manufacturing workers hitting the unemployment rolls in 2009. Right wing political thought these days seems to hold that was a gift to the unions, but the fact remains that the amount used to bail out the automakers was dwarfed by the financial sector bailouts…and none of those companies are even remotely unionized, and that’s putting it kindly. More to the point, if some worker at a bank does a “Norma Rae” and holds up a big “union” sign in the office, he’ll promptly be escorted out with a box. They’ll find a reason. The retail and financial sectors are famously hostile to unions.

      • 0 avatar
        tresmonos

        moorewr:
        I like it. Re-educating the masses (mostly me). Textiles isn’t completely dead: Milliken researches materials and manufacturing processes that are used in anything from Navy Seals equipment to Under Armour fabrics. Sure it’s knocked off and copied eventually, but someone has to innovate to progress a product. There was even a denim manufacturer in Pickens, SC that supplied denim to Levi up through the 90′s (quite profitably) and still does production runs here and there for other products. Going back to Keynes: the military will always make sure there’s a manufacturing industry on shore.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        @psarhjinian:

        The answer to what you’re saying is to create jobs in fields that aren’t even in existence yet, and other countries can’t compete with because they don’t have the technology. Biotech and next-gen energy production could be an absolute boon to employment, and because other countries don’t have this technology, they can’t undercut our workers’ wages.

        If I were president, I’d set aside at least $500 billion to develop workable fusion reactors, workable alternatives to fossil fuels, and cures for any number of diseases…and give the technology away to OUR companies. Think of the commercial possibilities of a workable fusion reactor – it’d be like a license to print money.

        Why we don’t do this is beyond me.

        (Actually, it isn’t – we all know there are too many vested interests in the status quo.)

      • 0 avatar
        tresmonos

        FreedMike:
        I’m a big fan of the blue collar, honest working professional (though I wish my mom had me play with money rather than cars as a child). I was more picking out the disparity between what the rust belt was delt vs the south in the 1980-90′s.

      • 0 avatar
        psarhjinian

        @FreedMike: The answer to what you’re saying is to create jobs in fields that aren’t even in existence yet, and other countries can’t compete with because they don’t have the technology.

        The problem with that is, honestly, that most people aren’t suited to those kinds of jobs.

        “Smart people” have a tendency to think everyone else is a smart person, too, and that with sufficient education and training that we could shift people into knowledge work. They can’t, and if you, say, manage a help desk you’ll quickly become familiar with this situation.

        And that’s ok. I can’t drive a forklift particularly well, nor can I work an assembly line without getting either RSI or depression, not can I field sales calls. You need people who can do this, and it’s nice for all involved if they’re paid well and have job security. The problem is that we’ve debased the value of blue-collar work, and in doing so gutted the spending power the bulk of consumers, and we’ve done so in such a way as to create an awful feedback loop that erodes the blue-collar sector’s confidence: less jobs, less people spending, more cost pressure, more cuts to employees & benefits/more offshorting, less jobs, etc, etc.

        It takes all kinds of people to make an economy “work”, and President Obama’s desire to “out-think” other nations is really just feel-good nonsense. Knowledge workers are just as much a commodity as blue collar, if not moreso because the startup costs are lower: what we should be focusing on is making the economy sustainable and giving that huge swath of underemployed people some sense of confidence in their economic footing. Right now, they don’t have that, they’re not spending.

    • 0 avatar
      Pig_Iron

      I would advocate for a VAG merger, but only because I think it’s the least worst fit. I expect Aug. 9th will come, and things will be worse. I think they can survive as an engineering design and development firm, but without a partner, auto manufacturing will be lost. Many times otherwise excellent companies have been dragged down by a branch of the business that couldn’t get traction. Many great people are scattered to the winds and never acheive what they could have if they’d stayed together.

  • avatar
    NormSV650

    It’s summer time and people are busy.

    I enjoy a full headline even though I might not keep abreast of the latest. I did enjoy my 2000′s 9-5 Aero sedan and wagon and will look for another wagon to do antiquing with in the near future.

  • avatar
    Domestic Hearse

    Bertel (and any European/Swedish market experts reading),

    I guess I missed this in all the Saab coverage. But when it comes to the government of Sweden, why?

    Why won’t the Swedish government help Saab?

    VW, Toyota, GM (to name a few, as you have) all get various forms of help from their governments; everything from laws written in the home team’s favor, currency manipulation, to all-out cash bailouts.

    What is it about Sweden, or its government, that prevents it from using taxpayer money (loans, if you will) to help Saab and its workers?

    Is it a cultural thing?

    Is it against Swedish law?

    Is it because they’d like to, but cannot justify it, given the current business realities Saab faces?

    Is it because it really isn’t a Swedish company ever since it was acquired by GM, and is now based in Holland?

    Everyone rails about Saab’s situation and gets into shouting matches praising/denouncing Saab product, but this big question never gets asked. Nor explained (or at least, I wasn’t attentive enough to catch it), and I really am quite curious….

    • 0 avatar
      GS650G

      Maybe Sweden doesn’t have the money. Maybe they realize SAAB is only a niche player without enough ability. maybe they don’t care about having a national automaker any longer.

      • 0 avatar

        That’s the point. There simply is no long-term business model for SAAB. It’s just a long and painful death of a marginal car brand. A niche brand, as you called it.

        Sweden’s neighbor Norway, for example, was, is, and will be fine without a domestic car brand.

        I doubt that SAAB is that important for Sweden, as GM, Chrysler, and Ford (as US-based multinational companies) are for the US to maintain a manufacturing industry base.

        IMHO, a country without solid manufacturing businesses is bad off, in the long term (certain small countries like Monaco, Luxembourg, Liechtenstein don’t count here).

    • 0 avatar
      ZekeToronto

      My sole qualification for commenting is that I was once a Volvo dealer … back in the good old days (’85-’96). I think that Volvo is the answer to your question tho. Specifically, I suspect the Swedish government might care more about Saab if the future of Volvo was still in jeopardy. As long as its new Chinese owners continue to make nice noises about maintaining Volvo’s engineering jobs and production presence in Sweden, Saab’s on its own.

  • avatar
    mtymsi

    I find it very hard to believe anyone would even consider buying a Saab under their current circumstances. If ever there was a dead brand walking (more like barely crawling) it’s Saab.

    • 0 avatar
      GS650G

      I was very interested in a Suzuki SX-4 but fear Suzuki won’t be in the auto market here for long. warranties are rather useless when there are no dealers, despite promises to reimburse repairs at other shops.

    • 0 avatar
      salhany

      I wouldn’t buy a new one, but certainly there’s enough 9-5s and 9-3s in my neck of the woods here in New England, plus a large number of independent shops that service them, that I’d feel pretty comfortable in buying a used 9-3 or last generation 9-5. Plenty of parts still around for those.

  • avatar
    CurtInFalcon

    BS, you’re correct that if Saab had paid its suppliers on-time then production would be rolling. But, it’s hard to pay anyone when you lose 500,000,000 dollars (41.6 million per month) in 2010. Saab is hemoraging money whether it is making cars or not. Unfortunately, I don’t see things changing. Even if all deals are approved by the various agencies and Vladimir Antonov is allowed back in as an investor, Saab cannot sustain these losses for very long. I think we’ll see the end of Saab in the next few months and then you won’t have to write about them any more. From a personal perspective, I enjoy the articles that TTAC writes about Saab even if I don’t always agree with your perspective. Keep em coming.

  • avatar

    “Im getting TIRED of writing about Saab”. Just as we are tired of hearing you whine about it. Jump in your germobile and go for a good long drive…and tell us AGAIN how truly wonderful the under warranty german auto driving experience is and how many cars you saw that were JUST LIKE YOURS.

  • avatar
    NormSV650

    How is Volvo different?

  • avatar
    GS650G

    @moorewr
    The Japanese government props up most of their industries. I lived there before and know how it works all too well. Our government is at odds with companies until the bottom falls out then pols rush in with our money to stop the bleeding.

    We’ve been propping up LOTS of industries, through tariffs, defense contracts, you name it.

    Maybe it’s time for it all to stop.

    That’s my position on the matter. Others like Mikey 978 think it’s OK just because other countries do it. Flawed logic that costs everyone billions.

  • avatar

    I am reading all the time how the Japanese government props up their own and makes the life of imports miserable. Where is the proof? Import duties on cars are zero. And from talking to Japanese manufacturers, I hear that they have the feeling as if their government doesn’t want them anymore. They complain about

    - High taxes (common complaint everywhere)
    - Unsustainably high exchange rate
    - Foot-dragging on free trade agreements
    - An electrical power crisis which is getting worse

    The Japanese industry would like a little help to get through these hard times, but the government is doing nothing. Nobody wants bailouts or trade barriers. They want the lights to stay on, and production at home to be viable, that’s all.

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      I am reading all the time how the Japanese government props up their own and makes the life of imports miserable. Where is the proof?

      The European Commission claims that it is a problem:

      (Japan’s) tariff barriers are generally low, though there are exceptions for specific goods. Still, the trade volume is large and significant gains from tariff reductions can be expected. However, non-tariff measures (NTMs), or regulatory issues, constitute a more important obstacle to EU-Japan trade…

      …We find that tariffs are low and that there are few de jure restrictions on trade. Factors such as distance and language differences provide some explanation for low import penetration. Still, we are left with an amount of missing trade that cannot be explained by distance, language difference and tariffs, and since there are few de jure discriminatory restrictions, we find this to be a conundrum of missing trade with Japan. We conclude that de facto nontariff measures in Japan could be the key to understanding and potentially solving the Japanese conundrum…

      …Some studies have indicated that the impact of NTMs is up to four times higher than the impact of tariffs. Other studies have pointed to price effects of NTMs of more than 30 percent in Europe and more than 60 percent in Japan. The OECD analyses also point to the barriers in Japan to include barriers to entry into network industries, barriers to entry in other services industries, and point to a large amount of direct control over business enterprises and to restrictive discriminatory procedures. The restrictiveness of the overall regulatory environment in Japan also ranks low according to the Global Trade Enabling index…

      …NTMs in Japan create new costs, but they also (and perhaps more importantly) have an impact on the capacity of foreign companies to offer their complete portfolio of products, and their ability to offer new products quickly. Japanese consumers attach at least as much importance to having the latest and most fashionable product than to the cost of the product….

      …The majority (60 percent) of EU exporters in our survey replied that they have a smaller or much smaller product range in Japan than other markets in Asia. Almost 40 percent said that their firm offers substantially fewer products on the Japanese market than other Asian markets. A minority of 12 percent have a larger product range in Japan than in other Asian markets…

      Something from the same report that is specific to car importation:

      According to our survey estimates, EU exporters of motor vehicles pay an extra cost of 10 percent. EU producers therefore face a serious disadvantage since the costs of TBTs fall disproportionately on exporters compared to Japanese producers. To reduce these barriers will require that the Japanese authorities streamline and simplify the certification process and find procedures for revising standards and technical guidelines to better accommodate innovative products. Most importantly, Japan should adopt international or UNECE standards, in particular with regards to emission, noise and safety. In many cases Japan has agreed to do so but has not yet implemented much of the necessary legislation.

      Not all of the NTMs can necessarily be removed. According to the responses from the managers in Japan, costs corresponding to around 9 percentage points of the 10 percent can be reduced by reducing barriers related to standards and technical regulations. In addition, 7 percentage points can be reduced by eliminating barriers related to conformity assessment requirements. If both types of NTMs are eliminated it would therefore be possible to stimulate EU export to Japan even more than our simulation results predict.

      The majority of respondents call for an increased use of international standards as a tool for lowering the barriers in the Japanese motor vehicles industry related to standards. Alternatives could be the harmonisation/convergence of rules and regulations or the mutual recognition of conformity assessment procedures.

      A speedier certification process is listed by responding managers as a means of reducing barriers related to conformity assessment requirements. Next follows the use of international standards and the simplification of certification procedures.

      http://trade.ec.europa.eu/doclib/docs/2010/february/tradoc_145772.pdf

      Many of the complaints about “currency manipulation”, etc. are completely bogus. I doubt that the elimination or harmonization of rules is going to cultivate an intense craving for Impalas or Calibers among Japanese consumers. Americans have been buying Toyotas and Hondas because they have been better than the domestic competition, and the solution to that problem is to improve Detroit’s products, rather than piss and moan about the Japanese or rekindle WWII.

      But that does not mean that Japan is an easy market for importers. It isn’t, and at least some of that difficulty is by design. They just don’t use tariffs to do it; the approach is more passive-aggressive, but the end result is the same — importers are stuck with uniquely high costs that discourage sales and that create a pricing disadvantage.

      • 0 avatar

        I see that my friends in Brussels also are at a loss when it comes to proof of trade restrictions.
        I also see that the EU resorts to “we don’t export as much as we would love to, therefore, there must be trade restrictions, somewhere.” Previously, I thought this line of reasoning was used only by the UAW and certain senators.
        I have worked for more than 30 years for the largest car importer to Japan, Volkswagen. I know a little about that topic.

        - Japan, being an export nation, is VERY careful about restrictions on imports to Japan. Why? Because a tit-for-tat can be very damaging to them.
        - Japanese customers are quality-obsessed. In order to become the largest importer, Volkswagen had to install a large PDI operation (not what comes to mind – it’s Pre Delivery Inspection) in Japan that goes over every car with a fine comb. There is your added cost.
        - Japanese customers have an abundant choice of domestically manufactured cars. There is no rational reason to buy an import, except for the BMW/Mercedes luxury segment, maybe. There is a market of less than 200,000 import cars annually. They are bought by people who like to be different. In the words of a high Japanese exec, “the trouble is, not many people want to be different.” Especially not in Japan.
        - As for the regulations, the EU has its standards, the U.S. has its standards, China has its standards, Japan has its standards. If you want to play in those markets, you have to comply with their standards. I can understand that the EU would like nothing more than everybody going to EU standards. Just like the U.S. would love it if everybody would adopt FMVSS and EPA standards. It’s not going to happen. The U.S. actually is a huge outlier when it comes to standards. The EU, Japanese and Chinese standards are pretty similar. Actually, Japan is a member of UNECE (something the EU mentions in passing.) However, they have adopted only a small number of UNECE rules. (Also alluded to.) Yet, the door is open. Mention UNECE in the U.S. and you get doused in holy water.
        - Lastly, the style of doing business is different in Japan. If you can learn the style, you will be fine and respected. If you ignore the style, you will be ignored.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        I also see that the EU resorts to “we don’t export as much as we would love to, therefore, there must be trade restrictions, somewhere.” Previously, I thought this line of reasoning was used only by the UAW and certain senators.

        Did you not read through the attachment? It identified over 200 specific items that it alleges are impediments to trade. It wasn’t a throwaway propaganda sheet ala the UAW, it was a fairly detailed survey of European firms that engage in foreign trade.

        These European companies find Japan a more difficult country into which to import than others, including other Asian countries. Of course, there are always issues when doing business abroad, but doing business in Japan involves more problems than is the case elsewhere.

        When unique but unnecessary “standards” are used in order to make it harder for a foreign firm to enter or build a market, that’s an example of a non-tariff measure that effectively reduces competition without any sort of tax. You’re trying to claim that this doesn’t exist, but European companies that conduct business abroad do see that such things exist.

      • 0 avatar

        Agree 100% with Bertel. I dealt with Japanese and went through Japanese cultural courses at work too. Japanese are very sensitive to many things to which we do not pay much attention and are very polite not to mention it. They will not accept something designed by Westerners until they can reproduce it and improve because they consider foreigners second class citizens even though of politeness will hide this attitude. Japanese do not trust foreigners, that’s all. So they would rather trust local brands made in Japan than import brands. And it makes sense IMHO – Americans – most open minded people in the world – trust more to anything designed and made in Japan rather than domestic analogues, even if domestic may be objectively of higher quality or better designed. Generation who went through depression is gone and new generation have no idea how miserable life may become if economy seriously falters or US defaults. If there were a new depression attitude of most Americans would change toward supporting local industries. But it also may happen that America would etnically balcanize since America became multicultural country like Soviet Union or Yugoslavia.

        Regarding success of BMW and Mercedes – it is high quality well designed and well regarded brands and rich people usually are less patriotic and after all it is a status symbol around the world. Same with Leica and other German brands. German engineers are simply the best in the world in anything regarding mechanical design and precision and everybody knows it even Japanese.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        Japanese do not trust foreigners, that’s all.

        It sounds as if you’re saying that you agree with the findings of the European Commission survey, and that you concur that it is more difficult for foreigners to do business in Japan than it is elsewhere. But whereas the survey identifies various non-tariff mechanisms that create the difficulty, you’re attributing the problem to xenophobia.

      • 0 avatar

        Exactly. Japanese do not need regulations to prefer domestically made products over imported. It is part of culture and is similar to Germany with difference that German products are more expensive. Made in (or designed in) Germany almost automatically means uncompromisingly high quality of engineering and execution. Japanese advantage is in ability make high quality products for affordable price. But it is based on compromises of course. German cars and optics are better than Japanese but less affordable because people are ready to pay higher prices for German products. Meticulous execution and attention to details is part of German and Japanese national character.

        American culture gravitates more to owning more junk for less money, sale events, discount pricing, buying cheap food and so on. No wonder Walmart and fast food concept was invented in America and successfully exported all over the world. No matter what French will tell you – they like it too. I can attest that French guys who work with me regularly buy hamburgers and similar unhealthy stuff during lunch and eat it with great pleasure what always made me scratch my head. Well they also smoke and prefer Walmart prices. Is it funny after all?

  • avatar
    Its_Magic

    Saab Automobile’s debts to sub-contractors are far greater than previously thought. New data tells a couple of billion kronor.
    http://www.affarsvarlden.se/hem/fordon/article3216524.ece

  • avatar
    GS650G

    Selling foreign products in Japan is easy, just partner up with a Japanese firm and you are in. If you care to do it yourself you will soon find out just how tough they make it to practice in country.

    I watched my company’s products get marked up 250% by the distributor, removing any advantage a cheap dollar might have. Any movement in the exchange rate bought new cars for the execs, not lower prices.

    As for SAAB, there is a large SAAB-focused repair and parts center near me. Quite a collection he has, I’ll have to get some photos of the yard and post them. As they say, take a picture it lasts longer.


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