The Truth About Cars » Antonov http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Fri, 12 Sep 2014 23:54:53 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.2 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars editors@ttac.com editors@ttac.com (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » Antonov http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com Our Daily Saab: Lurid Crime Stories And An Unwelcome Bank Wire http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/12/our-daily-saab-lurid-crime-stories-and-an-unwelcome-bank-wire/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/12/our-daily-saab-lurid-crime-stories-and-an-unwelcome-bank-wire/#comments Sat, 10 Dec 2011 15:40:02 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=421929 Actually, we shouldn’t even mention Saab before the court in Vänersborg renders its verdict on Dec 16. The court will decide whether it follows the suggestion of the court appointed administrator Guy Lofalk to lift the creditors protection on Saab.  But it’s a slow newsday, and Saab is always good for a story.  No, we […]

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Actually, we shouldn’t even mention Saab before the court in Vänersborg renders its verdict on Dec 16. The court will decide whether it follows the suggestion of the court appointed administrator Guy Lofalk to lift the creditors protection on Saab.  But it’s a slow newsday, and Saab is always good for a story.  No, we don’t mean the €3,322,993.13 allegedly transferred by Youngman. No, we are not referring to the latest round of hamfisted censorship at Saab’s enthusiast site. We are talking about a story that is making the rounds on websites that specialize on the activities of the Russian mob. They insist that Saab’s darling Antonov “has been involved in a number of financial scams before.” The mobster tracking site Rumafia says:

A few years ago Antonov moved almost all Snoras’ liquid assets, $400-500 million worth, to foreign accounts. He disguised the fraud under a series of loans which the bank allocated to front companies with no real asset backing.”

Hmmm. No real asset backing?

The same site also alleges that the money to buy Saab from GM came trough dubious channels under hair-raising circumstances. Let’s join the story right after Antonov’s father was gunned down in Moscow:

“Alexander Antonov who received five bullets, remained the invalid. They were not going to come back to Russia any more, therefore they asked the chairman of board of “Investbank” Maxim Skachko and his assistant Igor Dubina to transfer abroad $400 million. Money transaction was carried out under the pretext of delivery of credits to various structures and without approval of board of directors of the bank. According to the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Russian Federation, $200 million from this sum went on acquisition of motorcar giant Saab. Officially firm Spykers Cars became its buyer, 30 which % of actions belong to Antonovym.”

We don’t know whether these stories are true, but they are out there. Follow the links above, or peruse Google for a healthy dose of crime stories. We only quoted the tamer stuff to keep it SFW in case you are working over the weekend.

Now for the €3.3 million. Saabsunited today proudly presents a scan of a wire transfer instruction, in which Youngman tells its bank to wire €3,322,993.13 to Swedish Automobile Coöperatief  in Zeewolde, The Netherlands, via the Rabobank, SWIFT RABONL2U. The Coöperatief is the Special Purpose Vehicle that had been set up in September to put the unfinished  PhoeniX platform in hock. Back when, we wrote:

“Judging from the oblique language of the press release, this whole sale and licensing business is nothing else than a security for a loan that will probably be coming from Youngman.“

Administrator Guy Lofalk is taking the same position and reported to the court in Vänersborg that

Saab Automobile AB incurred new obligations during the reorganization, in violation of the instructions given and the provisions of Chapter 2, § 15 Act on corporate restructuring.”

That’s a big no-no under Swedish law. Can’t be protected from creditors and pile on new debt. Saabsunited quickly defends the accused:

This payment is part of a technology purchase made by Youngman Automotive Group from Saab Automobile which should help to pay salaries for the month of November. This technology purchase contract singled back in september. Of course this money is not enough to pay the complete salaries once it arrives at Saab’s accounts but it is one step on the way.”

How an innocent enthusiast website comes into possession of a wire transfer copy which usually is sent from accountant to accountant only to show that the funds are on their way remained anybody’s guess – - – until  Saabsunited Chief TimR proudly wrote:

 “It was sent from Martyn Shilte, CEO Spyker China to Guy Lofalk with a cc to people such as Rachel Pang and Kristian Geers at 10:30 on the 9th of december. I have seen the original e-mail with the original attachment!”

Consider TTAC in awe. We have never been on the CC: when wire transfers between international auto giants were confirmed. A superb piece of investigative reporting.

Sending the document to Guy Lofalk however was not smart. On the same day, Guy Lofalk asked the court to throw the book at Saab. With that, we’ll bid adieu from Saab until Dec. 16 (unless something interesting pops up).

PS: Advice from someone who routinely sends and receives bank wires in China: The wire instruction is worthless. You want to see the actual confirmation by the bank that the money was actually sent. As exhaustively discussed here, transferring money from China requires a certain amount of really red tape and extra documentation.

PPS: Due to the untimely passing of the page in question, we provide a link to the original document for the convenience of our readers. (Just in case the picture will be completely exorcised from SU’s computer, hat tip to Gruhm.) According to the metadata, the scan was taken retouched on 12/10/2011 at 10:24 AM with Photoshop CS4 Macintosh.  As for the original webpage,  unless a reader has a copy, it’s gone. Even the Waybackmachine has given up on Saab  - -  last picture taken on July 15th 2011. Before, the archiving robot visited The Church Of The True Saab twice monthly. Advice from a dinosaur automotive propaganda operative: Crisis PR is a subtle art which is better left in the hands of trained professionals.

PPPS: I appears as if TTAC has picked up a good number of former (disappointed? disillusioned? shunned? banned?) Saabsunited readers. Make yourself at home.

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Our Daily Saab: No Salaries (Blame The Chinese). And A Duncecap For Saabsunited http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/11/our-daily-saab-no-salaries-blame-the-chinese-and-a-duncecap-for-saabsunited/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/11/our-daily-saab-no-salaries-blame-the-chinese-and-a-duncecap-for-saabsunited/#comments Thu, 24 Nov 2011 14:04:28 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=419758   It has become a tradition at the „iconic” Saab: For the sixth month in a row, former carmaker Saab can’t make payroll. Saab employees did read the familiar note on their website today that salaries are “delayed.” Their head of HR, Johan Formgren, told them that sadly, he cannot “confirm any exact date when […]

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It has become a tradition at the „iconic” Saab: For the sixth month in a row, former carmaker Saab can’t make payroll. Saab employees did read the familiar note on their website today that salaries are “delayed.” Their head of HR, Johan Formgren, told them that sadly, he cannot “confirm any exact date when the salaries will be paid.” Saab spokesman Eric Geers told the media that he also does not know when wages will be paid. And who is to blame? Victor Muller? Fugitive Valdimir Antonov? All-around-whipping post GM?

No way. It’s the Chinese.

In a text message cited by Göteborg Expressen, Victor Muller writes:

“We wrote in a letter to the employees that we’re sorry, but we are not responsible here – it’s the Chinese. They have promised to ensure that there is money as part of reconstruction funding.”

So what now? Is there a danger that the re-org is cancelled and that Saab will finally go belly-up? Victor Muller sends another text message:

“Not if the Chinese pay.”

That’s a big if. The Chinese don’t like to lose face. They can get downright vindictive when that happens.

Meanwhile, Svenska Dagbladet says that the scandal surrounding Vladimir Antonov and his failed banks could have “consequences for Saab:”

“For example, what happens to the money Antonov has already pumped into the back door of Saab Automobile if the Lithuanian allegations prove to be right? What happens to Victor Muller, who after all is the company’s CEO? And last but not least: What will happen to Saab Automobile?”

That indeed is the big question. China’s Youngman and Pangda wanted to buy 100 percent of Saab. GM said and keeps saying: No way. Victor Muller wasn’t too unhappy about this, because he sees a continued role for himself in an arrangement where the Chinese own less. And just at this very moment, Wanted posters with Antonov’s picture are printed. Says the business site E24:

“The serious charges against Antonov won’t make GM yearn for a solution in which Victor Muller, backed by the Russian financier, is left as an owner. From the outset, General Motors had a negative attitude towards Vladimir Antonov.”

GM doesn’t want a solution with 100 percent Chinese ownership. E24 reckons GM probably won’t want a solution with Muller and allegedly laundered funds in the picture. Pretty dismal, no? No wonder no check is in the mail. No salaries, and off to the bankruptcy court it will be.

After a big gulp of Kool-Aid, the good folks at Saabsunited say that all will be fine, and they focus instead on the fact that someone bought a new Saab 9-5 at a dealer. This must have become such a rare occasion that it has become newsworthy.

Sweden’s Expressen is getting tired of them:

“Victor Muller’s partner in Saab – Russian financier Vladimir Antonov – is wanted for economic crimes after suspicion of bank robbery in the Baltics. Isn’t that enough to understand, even for the most naive Saabhugger, why Antonov was not allowed to buy Saab? I don’t want to put the duncecap on Antonov’s Swedish support group, but I expect a slightly more serious discussion of Saab’s future.”

Before the 4Chån wannabes descend on TTAC and scream “unprofessional condescension” and “don’t you have sympathy for the poor unpaid workers”, let me say just this:

Responsible for the well-being of the workforce is Victor Muller and his merry banksters. Also, I fail to get emotionally worked up for the plight of people who had been on a fully paid vacation since April. And who will be recipients of the generous Swedish unemployment benefits when Saab goes belly-up for good.  Not that I blame them for holding out: If someone would pay me the full monte for sitting at home and doing nothing, I would take it, and I wouldn’t look for another job where I would have to work for my money. However, there are millions of real jobless out there without benefits, with foreclosed homes, and food stamps – if they are lucky. Those deserve our sympathy.

As for for the harmless enthusiast site Saabsunited, for quite a while it functioned as the propaganda arm of Antonov. It had had an “Approve Antonov” flag on its banner and instigated a polyglot letter writing campaign to the Swedish government to DEMAND the approval of Antonov as a Saab shareholder. Now, there is a warrant out for his arrest. Saabsunited openly supports the flooding of GM’s Facebook page, something which will kill any sympathy for Saab’s cause as far as GM is concerned. Any if someone holds the keys to those workers keeping their employment, then it’s GM. Saabsunited deserves the duncecap after all.

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Saab’s Supposed Savior Antonov Debanked http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/11/saab%e2%80%99s-supposed-saviour-antonov-debanked/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/11/saab%e2%80%99s-supposed-saviour-antonov-debanked/#comments Thu, 17 Nov 2011 03:50:02 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=418861 Vladimir Antonov, the Russian “financier” who was feted by the acolytes of the zombie Saab as the second (after Victor Muller) coming of the dear Jesus, had his bank taken away from him. More than $392 million of assets of Antonov-controlled Snoras Bank may be unaccounted for, central bank Governor Vitas Vasiliauskas told Bloomberg. Snoras’s […]

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Vladimir Antonov, the Russian “financier” who was feted by the acolytes of the zombie Saab as the second (after Victor Muller) coming of the dear Jesus, had his bank taken away from him.

More than $392 million of assets of Antonov-controlled Snoras Bank may be unaccounted for, central bank Governor Vitas Vasiliauskas told Bloomberg. Snoras’s operations were halted, and a state administrator was appointed by the Lithuanian government after the bank ignored recommendations to reduce its credit risk.

As a precautionary measure, government and bank traded accusations of felonious conduct. Reports Reuters:

“The government and central bank said they had found a risk of insolvency and possible criminality. The bank meanwhile has accused the government of ‘robbery’.”

Just to be sure, Swedish Radio mentions that “Antonov lent a large sum to Victor Muller which allowed Spyker to buy Saab.”

For the record, Bloomberg mentions that Antonov was barred from investing in Saab by the European Investment Bank. Bloomberg also finds it necessary to mention that:

“The U.K.’s Financial Services Authority denied Snoras permission to operate in Britain because the bank’s executives withheld information, calling the tactic “an ongoing pattern of behavior by institutions controlled by Mr. Antonov” in a February 2009 statement.”

Speaking of banks and supposed saviors, money in China is getting tight. Taiwan’s  China Times reports  that Volvo buyer Geely has problems servicing the debt incurred during the highly leveraged buyout:

“Geely has reportedly started to contact private domestic and overseas equity funds, such as Carlyle and TPG, for fresh funding, in order to repay Goldman Sachs for high-yield bonds. Most of these private equity funds are cautious about the request, due to their concern over Geely’s ability to repay.”

The sudden tightness of funds does not bode well for a last ditch resuscitation of Saab.

The financial constrictions find Antonov’s former fanzine unimpressed. Here, the arrival of 1:43 Saab scale models makes headlines.  Correction: The Saabinistas woke up to the story, and fondly remember that “SNORAS was a big sponsor for the SaabsUnited Historic Rally Team last year.”

 

 

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Saab Soap, The Endgame: Antonov Wants War! http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/07/saab-soap-the-endgame-antonov-wants-war/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/07/saab-soap-the-endgame-antonov-wants-war/#comments Fri, 29 Jul 2011 17:19:11 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=404747 In the Saab soap, it looks like Vladimir Antonov does no longer want to be invited back. Swedish Aftonbladet reports that “Vladimir Antonov is pissed” (at least that’s Google’s translation for “Vladimir Antonov är förbannad”) and is looking  into legal action against  Sweden’s Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt, Finance Minister Anders Bork and Maud Olofsson, Minister […]

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In the Saab soap, it looks like Vladimir Antonov does no longer want to be invited back. Swedish Aftonbladet reports that “Vladimir Antonov is pissed” (at least that’s Google’s translation for “Vladimir Antonov är förbannad”) and is looking  into legal action against  Sweden’s Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt, Finance Minister Anders Bork and Maud Olofsson, Minister for Enterprise and Energy.

And while Vlad the Impaler is at it, he also wants to sue the Swedish government as a whole and the management of the European Investment Bank EIB. He feels cheated and says the Swedish government is double dealing.

“We are totally unsympathetic to this,” said Johanna Martin, Press Secretary of Maud Olofsson, when Aftonbladet asked for a comment. The EIB had no comment at all.

The chances of Mr. Antonov to prevail in a court in Stockholm or  Luxembourg are pretty slim. It might get more interesting if he asks his pal Putin to sail a submarine up the Göta Älv and to shell the city.

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EIB Says No To Antonov. Suppliers Say No Scrooge McDuck Will Save Saab http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/07/eib-says-no-to-antonov-suppliers-say-no-scrooge-mcduck-will-save-saab/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/07/eib-says-no-to-antonov-suppliers-say-no-scrooge-mcduck-will-save-saab/#comments Thu, 28 Jul 2011 14:45:40 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=404604 Now that it has been first leaked then confirmed that the European Investment Bank EIB will not let Russian financier Vladimir Antonov get close to Saab, Antonov says he had known that all along. Antonov’s spokesman Lars Carlstrom told Reuters that his boss “has known for a few weeks that the EIB would not let […]

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Now that it has been first leaked then confirmed that the European Investment Bank EIB will not let Russian financier Vladimir Antonov get close to Saab, Antonov says he had known that all along.

Antonov’s spokesman Lars Carlstrom told Reuters that his boss “has known for a few weeks that the EIB would not let him invest in the iconic Swedish car firm,” Reuters reports. That revelation should come as another blow to Saab’s crumbling bastion of enthusiasm, Saabsunited, which had reported just yesterday that “Antonov is trying to save the situation.”

With the troops left dazed and demoralized, the generals practice the ancient art of finger pointing.

  • Carlstrom told Reuters that the EIB is taking its cue from the Swedish government, and that “the Swedish government has stopped us investing 100 million euros ($143.6 million) in Saab. They are ready to risk 4,000 jobs.”
  • At the Swedish government, Ministry of Enterprise, Energy and Communications spokeswoman Johanna Martin said today: “We have been clear all along. When the EIB and GM give their approval, we are ready to do the same.”
  • GM had given its approval back in April, but attached a long list of conditions, which were kept secret and most likely unmet.
  • The EIB broke its silence today and said that its loan to Saab had been made under the condition that Antonov is not part of the deal, Dagens Industri reports. The bank had made that clear in 2009, and it had not changed.
  • Carlstrom says Antonov still wants to be an owner in Saab and is working on a way to repay the 217 million euro loan due to the EIB, and that a deal should be coming in a few weeks.

While the principals hold hands and sing Ring around the Rosy, there are unambiguous words from the parties that really hold Saab hostage: The suppliers. No parts, no cars. No money, no parts. The suppliers have had it, and they are busy driving Saab — into bankruptcy.

Lars Holmqvist, head of the European supplier association CLEPA, told Dagens Industri:

The important thing for us is that Antonov is not a solution. This is not a matter where a Scrooge McDuck goes in with a lot of money. The basic problem is that Saab does not sell cars. They sold 28,600 cars last year. One cannot survive on that in our industry.”

From the bunkers of Trollhättan comes the latest and possibly last sign that the end is near. Writes Saabsunited:

“Lars Carlström states to SaabsUnited that this makes it clear that government has played a double role in the matter having one version of the story to the public, Saab and Vladimir Antonov and another inwards. They have effectively lied to the Swedish people, Saab and everyone else which could have caused damages in amounts as high as billions of swedish crowns. There has been several hundreds of lawyers involved in this process and has taken a lot of time and resources away from both Vladimir Antonov and Saab.

This could very well cause a crisis inside the government of the country and could potentially lead to a change in leadership!”

Hubris till the bitter end. Can’t run a car company, but threaten to take a government down with them. The revelation that Muller and Antonov may have lied to the troops will come after the last stages of grief have taken their due course.

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Tomorrow, Pangda Will Walk The Line In Trollhättan http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/05/tomorrow-pangda-will-walk-the-line-in-trollhattan/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/05/tomorrow-pangda-will-walk-the-line-in-trollhattan/#comments Thu, 26 May 2011 16:35:00 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=396230   “Based on the information we have, it looks like we will start up production tomorrow,” Saab spokeswoman Gunilla Gustavs told Reuters today. That’s called a double hedge in the propaganda business. But based on the information TTAC has, it looks like production will indeed take place on Friday. On Friday, an important visitor will […]

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“Based on the information we have, it looks like we will start up production tomorrow,” Saab spokeswoman Gunilla Gustavs told Reuters today. That’s called a double hedge in the propaganda business.

But based on the information TTAC has, it looks like production will indeed take place on Friday. On Friday, an important visitor will come to Trollhättan: Pangda Chief Executive Pang Qinghua, with entourage. Today, Pang is in Stockholm for a chit-chat with Enterprise Minister Maud Olofsson and the Swedish debt office. Their goodwill is needed to admit Pangda as an investor in Saab. And the Minister has a busy schedule …

On Tuesday, Minister Olofsson gave an audience to Vladimir Antonov. He might as well have stayed at home. According to The Local, Olofsson was noncommittal to the max after the meeting. “It was a good meeting. Always good to meet people about which so much has been written,” Maud Olofsson said, perfecting the art of false praise.

In the end, she told Antonov that as much as she would want to help him, her hands are tied, “we are waiting on GM and EIB.” That earned Olofsson the title “Ms. Awfulson” and “unable to organise a p*ss-up in a brewery” in The Local’s comment section.

Let’s see what gems will emerge from today’s meeting with Pangda. Ms Awfulson’s representative Hakan Lindberg already downplayed the meeting as “kind of courtesy call. It will probably be a fairly short meeting.” Olofsson’s press secretary Johanna Martin reiterated the “courtesy call. ”

Tomorrow, Saab’s new Chinese partners will be in Trollhättan, and it will be important that the lines are running – if only for a day. Don’t want to leave a bad first impression.

Speaking of first impressions: An advance team of Pangda already descended on Saab today, under the vigilant eyes of the press. ttela reports that unidentified Chinese arrived in a grey Saab 9-5. Even the flags were counted: One of Saab, one of Sweden, two of China.

While there is no shortage of Chinese flags, parts supply still is a problem. Saab ran out of money to pay suppliers in April, and lines stood idle ever since. There have been heavy-duty discussions with suppliers for the last few days. Spokesperson Gustavs told Reuters that by now, Saab has achieved “a critical mass to get production started.”

As we have learned in Japan, the car business is no nuclear device where production numbers suddenly explode in chain reaction fashion once critical mass has been reached. It takes just one missing part to ruin the day. As long as Saab doesn’t have all suppliers lined up, cars may be made for Chinese consumption, but they will not leave the factory.

Based on a chat with Gunnar Brunius, Saab’s vice-president of purchasing and manufacturing, Dagens Industri writes today that the plan is to roll out 100 cars on Friday instead of the usual 230 to 240 per day. Let’s see what happens next week when the Chinese are back on the plane to Beijing.

But wait, what did Pang say in the interview a week ago?

As soon as production starts, Pangda will create a team to carry out checks … The next round of investment for this project relies on the report from our team, if it is not up to expectations then Pangda has the right to terminate further investment plans.”

If Pang leaves that team behind in Trollhättan, then those lines better don’t stop in the weeks to come. Or someone will be walking.

 

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Antonov Throws Saabsunited (Owned By Saab Employee) Under The Bus http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/05/antonov-throws-saabsunited-owned-by-saab-employee-under-the-bus/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/05/antonov-throws-saabsunited-owned-by-saab-employee-under-the-bus/#comments Sun, 22 May 2011 15:47:18 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=395833 Saabsunited, once a gathering place for brand necrophiliacs and people with an-ignition-key-near-the-gearstick fetish, has morphed into a Vladmir Antonov fanzine. The banner on top of the site used to show the roof of the Saab plant in Trollhättan. Now it shows the roof of the Saab plant in Trollhättan with an “Approve Antonov” flag photoshopped-in. […]

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Saabsunited, once a gathering place for brand necrophiliacs and people with an-ignition-key-near-the-gearstick fetish, has morphed into a Vladmir Antonov fanzine. The banner on top of the site used to show the roof of the Saab plant in Trollhättan. Now it shows the roof of the Saab plant in Trollhättan with an “Approve Antonov” flag photoshopped-in.

There is a big blue square at the left of the homepage of Saabsunited that says “Support Vladimir Antonov” (according to Wikipedia, he is $ 300 million worth, how much more support does he need?) Clicking on the square leads you to a letter writing campaign that urges you in 9 languages to voice your displeasure with the Swedish government. You also are to DEMAND from the Swedish Prime Minister that he approves Antonov as a Saab shareholder. I’m sure a wave of Saab-spam will change the Prime Minister’s mind.

It is a mere coincidence that Saabsunited acronyms itself to ”SU,” an abbreviation previously reserved for the Soviet Union.

Recently, the tone on “SU” became shrill. Invectives were showered upon anybody who expressed the slightest doubt of Saab’s viability, or who dared to mention that Saab’s rescue hinged on a man who had been under suspicion of ties with organized crime, both by Sweden’s Säkerhetspolisen Säpo and its U.S. equivalent, the FBI.

And now, “Mr. Vladimir Antonov” (as he is reverentially referred to at SU) is calling the dogs back. In a letter to SU, Antonov writes:

“Vladimir Antonov, urge fans of Saab to act with awareness of pressure and sharp comments against the Swedish Government, as such activity does not contribute to the speedy and effective resolution of the situation.”

Oh, well, translation to English is tough sometimes, and this way, the Russian DNA is preserved. Antonov continues:

“We are thankful for the support, which is certainly needed, and are as many people around the world waiting for a positive resolution of all issues related to the details of the permission of ownership. However, we want to encourage you to behave correctly with respect to the Swedish Government in general and the people representing it.”

SU immediately behaved and asked its readers “to please refrain from harsh comments about the Swedish Government and individuals herein.”

Vladimir Antonov wrote another letter, to Sweden’s Industry Minister Maud Oloffson, in which Antonov requests an audience:

“It is imperative that I get the opportunity to discuss my motives, plans and the resources I have a meeting face-to-eye with you.”

In the same letter, Antonov throws his supporters under the bus. According to Sweden’s ttela, in the dispatch to the Minister, Antonov “expresses clearly that he wants to distance himself from everything that has been written about the Saab deal so far and his involvement in it.”

What does SU do? It dutifully writes about the letter from Antonov to the Minister, along with the part where Antonov distances himself from his sometimes rabid cheering section.

Lenin supposedly had an expression for people who see themselves as allies, but who are held in contempt by those who use them as long as they are useful.

Well, the cheerleading had been useful for at least one man. Writes The Local:

“In March, Saab announced that Australian blogger Steven Wade had been recruited to the company’s social media marketing team as reward for running the independent Saabs United blog from his Melbourne home.”

It is understandable that SU wants to keep Saab alive as long as possible.

PS: On March 15, Steven Wade said a long good-bye to Saabsunited, and Victor Muller wished “the new owner of Saabs United and his committed crew all the success in the world.” The problem is, there is no new owner. According to Whois, Saabsunited.com is still registered to:

Steven Wade
PO Box 102
Rosny Park, Tasmania 7018
Australia

According to this information, it is fair to say that Saabsunited is owned by an employee of Saab. What’s for sale is Wade’s canary-yellow 1999 Saab 9-3- MonteCarlo, Maptune chipped with only 148,000 km on the clock, yours for AUD 8,900.

PPS: Expect the registration to be changed forthwith. We took a picture, just in case. Expect to hear that Steven Wade just forgot to change the registration of the domain. It happens to the best of us. However, the domain registration of Saabsunited has been updated as recently as today: Sun, 22 May 2011 15:11:00 UTC. And after that update, Wade was still the owner.

 

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CCT: Chinese Government Issues Warning To Parties involved In The Saab Deal. Antonov Still Hopeful http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/05/cct-chinese-government-issues-warning-to-parties-involved-in-the-saab-deal-antonov-still-hopeful/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/05/cct-chinese-government-issues-warning-to-parties-involved-in-the-saab-deal-antonov-still-hopeful/#comments Sat, 21 May 2011 14:54:58 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=395754   Supposedly, the idea of the Saab / Pangda deal was to skirt requirements to obtain Chinese government approval. As we have explained on the day the MoU (as  Muller sees it) or contract (as Pangda sees it) was signed, it would be most silly to try to get around the Chinese government. They have […]

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Supposedly, the idea of the Saab / Pangda deal was to skirt requirements to obtain Chinese government approval. As we have explained on the day the MoU (as  Muller sees it) or contract (as Pangda sees it) was signed, it would be most silly to try to get around the Chinese government. They have a whole array of measures to demonstrate their displeasure if they don’t like a deal.

If ChinaCarTimes is correctly informed, the paperwork was barely dry and the Chinese government already made its annoyance felt. According to a CCT report, the Chinese government issued  a warning to Pangda. The story is written in Chinglish, but this is what it seems to be saying:

On May 18, only two days after the Saab/Pangda deal was announced, China’s powerful National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) summoned the Chinese automakers that might be involved in a manufacturing joint venture with Saab, and warned them not to get into a bidding war, because that would “hurt their own interests and benefit the overseas companies.” This is sourced on an anonymous source at one of the companies present in the meeting.

An observer who is not familiar with Chinese customs might think that this means that the deal is a go, but Chinese companies should simply not overpay. There is no need to tell a Chinese businessman to get the best deal. If that meeting took place, then the message was something else. These meetings run in China under the euphemism “invitation to tea.”  If you are invited, your opinions are heard, and opinions by the government are expressed. There might be “recommendations,” nothing more. The overall signal is: Big government is watching you. Be careful. Maybe just drop it.

Dow Jones (via Morningstar) cites from an article that appeared in China’s Economic Observer. It comes to the most damning conclusion: China “won’t allow Saab to sign agreements with three companies–Beijing Automotive Industry Holdings Co., which signed a technology purchasing deal with Saab in 2009, Hawtai Motor Group Co. and Pang Da Automobile Trade Co.”

In related news, Pangda doesn’t seem to be the ultimate rich uncle from China anyway. Despite the China deal, Muller and Saab were still hoping on money from their Russian sugar daddy Vladimir Antonov. Antoniov was supposed to buy the factory building of Saab and lease it back to Saab. This would free up cash. However, the real estate secures a loan from the European Investment Bank, which was co-signed by the Swedish government. Both would have to approve the deal. They haven’t yet.

According to a report in Dagens Industri, “Saab Automobile is tired of waiting for the EIB to endorse Vladimir Antonov, and is now trying to sell the factory property to other investors.”  A real estate broker has already visited Trollhättan.

Industry analysts that were quizzed by Dagens Industri think that Antonov is being frozen out of a deal that would make him a co-owner of Saab. Vladimir Antonov thinks otherwise and paints a happy face on the proposed real estate transaction.

“The more investors that want to contribute funds to Saab, the better”  Antonov told Dagens Industri.

But then, who wants to own land, building, fixtures and improvements of a factory that has a tenant who is currently unable to pay suppliers?  Saabsunited still thinks Vladimir would be best and started a letter-writing campaign to convince Fredrik Reinfeldt, Sweden’s Prime Minister, to let Antonov  invest in Sweden.

So the Dutch, Chinese, and Russians are supposed to save Saab? What a family.

PS: In a recent article, Saabsunited said that I “freely admit that my initials spell BS” (guys, they have been embroidered on my shirt pockets ever since I had monogrammed shirt pockets). At the same time, Saabsunited praised Chinacartimes for their “expert analysis.” Let’s see who’s on Saabsunited’s Christmas list now.

PS: In the meantime, CCT has cleaned up the Chinglish, which changes the slant of the story somewhat. If the story is right, the Pangda deal is in deep trouble. See yourself.

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Saab Trolling For Money http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/04/saab-trolling-for-money/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/04/saab-trolling-for-money/#comments Tue, 26 Apr 2011 20:28:15 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=392951 Today, 3,700 employees of Saab received an invitation to come to an all hands meeting tomorrow, Wednesday. It will be a break from the doldrums. In Trollhättan, the lines have been down for three weeks now because Saab has no money to pay parts suppliers, reports Automobilwoche [sub]. Tuesday ended in Sweden without a solution. […]

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Today, 3,700 employees of Saab received an invitation to come to an all hands meeting tomorrow, Wednesday. It will be a break from the doldrums. In Trollhättan, the lines have been down for three weeks now because Saab has no money to pay parts suppliers, reports Automobilwoche [sub]. Tuesday ended in Sweden without a solution. Suppliers, unions and Swedish politicians demand immediate action, or Saab will go down the drain.

Talk about a Chinese savior has died down. All hopes hinge on Vladimir Antonov, and the sale of the factory to the Russian, well, business man. The problem is: The real estate is collateral for a loan from the European Investment Bank (EIB). Saab told Automobilwoche that the sale is “no sure” due to harsh demands by the EIB.

Antonov’s Swedish spokesman Lars Carlström said that the EIB is making new and much too restrictive demands.

Says Automobilwoche: “Antonov’s involvement as a Saab shareholder had been contractually excluded when Saab changed ownership in 2010. This against a backdrop of CIA information that the Russian had been involved in criminal money laundering. Antonov denies the allegations.”

According to the New York Times, “the onus for rescuing Saab, the struggling Swedish automaker, appeared to shift Tuesday to its former owner, General Motors, whose approval is required to release official financing.” The EIB told the New York Times that “there was no final approval from G.M. on Saab’s liquidity package.”

Spyker reiterated  today that it is also considering other financial options with Chinese car manufacturers. The Chinese are an often used bogeyman to prod negotiations along. If that is the case, then Spyker is playing poker with the wrong partners. With government joint venture partners, GM is very much clued in to what is happening on the Chinese side.

 

 

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