The Truth About Cars » EIB The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Mon, 28 Jul 2014 16:00:52 +0000 en-US hourly 1 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 (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 » EIB EU Greenlights Green Loan To Renault Tue, 28 May 2013 10:53:24 +0000

The EU is very stingy when it comes to financial support for its automakers, and it prohibits most monetary assistance given by EU states to their industries. Of course, there are exceptions, and one such exception makes possible a $516 million loan to Renault.

“The European Investment Bank said on Monday it had decided to lend French carmaker Renault  400 million euros ($516.36 million) for development of a new generation of environmentally friendly vehicles,” says Reuters.

The money will go to developing lightweight materials and other green projects, Reuters was told by the EIB.

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Saab Soap, The Endgame: Antonov Wants War! Fri, 29 Jul 2011 17:19:11 +0000

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 Thu, 28 Jul 2011 14:45:40 +0000

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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Jaguar Land Rover Snags $458m EIB Loan Fri, 26 Feb 2010 18:44:01 +0000

Every good turn deserves another, and in response to America’s bailout of its most vulnerable automakers, the EU is investing in its least viable automakers. Having invested $547m in Saab, the European Investment Bank is announcing a $458m loan to Jaguar Land Rover, the troubled luxury divisions of Tata Motors. Automotive News [sub] reports that JLR will use the cash to develop micro- and full-hybrid drivetrains and generally improve fuel efficiency. Does this include a rumored Jaguar gas turbine hybrid? Officials won’t give details, but Tata’s Ravi Kant does go on the record to say

This will support the progress of turnaround in Jaguar Land Rover’s business in challenging market conditions, alongside cost cutting measures, increase of volumes and the improved margins strategy currently being implemented by Jaguar Land Rover

Which leads us to believe that this won’t do anything to prevent the planned shutdown of at least one of JLR’s UK plants.

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EU Approves Sweden’s Saab-Spyker EIB Loan Guarantee Mon, 08 Feb 2010 19:35:03 +0000

One more obstacle to the Spyker-Saab deal has been eliminated, as BusinessWeek reports that the EU has approved the Swedish government’s guarantee of a €400m ($547m) loan to the company from the European Investment Bank. EU competition commissioner Neelie Kroes approved the loan today, saying it would not cause “any undue distortions of competition,” and that Saab had offered “adequate remuneration” and collateral. The EIB still has to give the loan final approval, a prospect that Swedish government officials say is likely, despite the fact that €320m of the package was originally intended as an environmentally-friendly car development fund. As Bertel Schmitt put it, “keeping the lights on in Trollhättan while GM delivers parts doesn’t quite fit the purpose.” Unless of course you’re willing to justify anything to get your hands on the  new 2010 9-3X “Cross-Combi,” which SaabHistory claims can now be pre-ordered from the remaining US Saab dealers. And if the sedated Swedes in this video are anything to go on, the 9-3X is sure to be, well, a Saab.

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Saab, Unsaved Thu, 26 Nov 2009 14:48:27 +0000 Twilight in Asgard... er, Trollhattan

It’s the day after the Saab-bomb exploded in Sweden, and the media are pouring all over it. Of course, all kinds of “car experts” and “auto analysts” are having their say. Saab workers are expectedly sad and disappointed. And everybody’s blaming everybody and anybody. The unions blame the government, the government blames Koenigsegg, Koenigsegg Group are blaming time and bureaucracy, and the public is generally pretty pissed off with GM. And it all seemed to have come as julekvelden på kjerringa. But what on earth happened? Who pulled the plug? Who said enough is enough? And why now, all of a sudden? The EIB loan was allegedly just around the corner. Will anyone else buy Saab? What about the Swedish government? GM? Does anybody even care? Well, the 500 or so who bought a new Saab in October care – what about their warranties?

But seriously, Saab has a strong following, and there are 8000 jobs on the line, that’ll make a pretty heavy impact on the rather tiny Trollhâttan area if Saab goes bust.

One thing’s for sure – this deal was pretty shaky from day one. Koenigsegg Group was very secretive about their plans, they wouldn’t even tell who the group consisted of, and their finances never really looked secured. And that’s what really lies behind Koenigsegg Group’s official statement: the timeline. Uncertainty about the state Saab would be in when the deal was ready. Both Christian von Koenigsegg and partner Bård Eker keep repeating that time had run out. They had set an absolute limit for November 30 to close the deal. As they could not see any closure date, and the way – and rate – Saab kept bleeding, they probably, simply discovered they didn’t, or wouldn’t, have the finances to turn Saab around.
Unofficially – one speculation in, titled The Truth About the Break, says a source within GM told the newspaper the new 9-5, which shares platform with Opel’s new Insignia, has several expensive, technical problems. In Germany, Opel has had a lot of trouble with the model’s quality (if this has substance, that should be a warning to Buick!) Including those faults, Saab has developed their 9-5 in a hurry, cutting corners in the process. All this according to a GM insider. So Koenigsegg didn’t see any future savior in this model (which it has to be). They were afraid the warranty costs could be too substantial, and the model could be a giant fiasco to Saab instead a salvation.

Some though – more and more during the day – thinks this has all been a PR-stunt by Koenigsegg, perhaps combined with a plan from GM to get their hands on the EIB loan. CvK himself, faced with these allegations, claims that would be a bad and expensive marketing . But hey – now the whole world knows who they are, right?

According to Swedish Radio Ekot disagreements between KG and BAIC on whom to provide which finances into the deal was the reason things fell through.

The Government is being blamed too, for dragging their feet, and failing to provide support – be it loans, or cash for clunker programs – to the Swedish auto industry. And as for the question whether they are going to make Government Motors out of Saab, the answer is a clear no. The government isn’t intended to run a motor company. The Swedish prime minister has also raised the question – a legitimate one, he says – as to which assumptions Koenigsegg Group really had going into this deal. They have committed time, resources and peoples’ hopes that there would be a solution, he states.

So, what happened to the initial 27 interested buyers? Are any of them likely to step up and try cutting a great deal on Saab? Saabsunited likes to think Merbanco could still be interested. They were one of the few potential buyers left in the picture when KG was appointed “winners”, and SU’s favorite buyers.
And how about KG’s inhouse partners BAIC? Beijing Automotive Industry Holding Group joined the party fairly late, and seemed to be the ones who would provide most of the money (if they had agreed). They might be the ones to step into, and close the deal in solo? Not very likely. While being a car company with (Chinese scale) traditions, formed in 1958, they’ve never really manufactured their own cars. They’ve specialized in cooperating with foreign brands – Hyundai and Daimler for instance, and Saab would fit their plans. But to make an offer, and on their own run a business that is so heavily in loss, is something the Chinese company has no experience in, analyst Zhang Xin from Goutai Junan Securities told Reuters. Parts of Saab, yes, but not all.
And are GM willing to keep Saab alive long enough for another buyer to come forward? Or even consider keeping the ailing brand, together with Opel? Is there room for both within GM? There might be an answer to that Dec 1.

Maybe Bård Eker summed it up nicely in a tv-interview: “It was like a plane-crash, you know? When 58 things goes wrong simultaneously.”

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Swedish Government: Saab’s Books Were Cooked Wed, 18 Nov 2009 14:27:05 +0000 The lurking presence...

Looks like GM may have done some creative accounting after all – at least according to Swedish Government and their consulting firm KPMG. As we’ve reported the last couple of days, Saab’s rescue has been hanging by a thread due to questions around the company’s financial situation prior to the start of the financial crisis. Saab needs the EU to approve the Swedish Government’s guarantee of an EIB loan to Koenigsegg group if the deal is going to go through. If Saab, during the summer of 2008 – when the financial crisis started – were not in sound financial condition, the EU cannot, will not, approve Swedish government’s guarantees to the EIB loan, and the loan will not be granted. And reports from yesterday almost laid that possibility to rest, with reports that GM had lost $ 5.100,- on each Saab-car sold during the last 8 years. Now, as commentator dlfcohn and others at ttac, as well as several commentators at have pointed out, creative accounting can be useful in major corporates i.e to avoid taxes in tax-heavy countries. This, apparently (at least according to’t/KPMG) was the case with GM/Saab.

Consulting firm KPMG has been commisioned by the Swedish Government to go through Saab’s finances, and examine the cash-flow and sales. The consolidated report, from which the government has produced an 80-page document to the EU, concludes that Saab was not in any financial trouble during summer of 2008, due partly to GM having infused capital into the company. Saab themselves has apparantly also helped document that they were in fact in good financial health mid 2008.

Sources from within Saab have told that GM has never been interested in reporting taxabale gains in Sweden. Revenues from US sales were never declared in Sweden, but rather went straight to GM. A number of components (including engines) had much higher internal prices than Saab’s own in-house-produced components to benefit other areas with lower tax laws. Saab’s financing company has not been included in Saabs accounts, and the list goes on. Clearly, argues the Swedish government, Saab was as healthy as it could be considering it was rigged by GM to show no profit in Sweden.

If the EU-commision accepts this report, and agrees following their own investigation, they have two months to make a decision to Saab’s fate. Commentators believe the conclusion will be positive, and that it will arrive before the end of this year.

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GM Lost $5k On Every Saab Sold In The Last 8 Years Tue, 17 Nov 2009 14:36:01 +0000 (

Swedish business site has done some numbercrunching, and figured out that GM has lost SEK 35,000,- (eq aprox $ 5,100, at the current exchange rate) on each Saab sold the last 8 years. As many of TTAC’s readers have pointed out in various comments, GM never made money on Saab. Truth is; they lost a total of SEK 39 billion (3.9 billion Euros) during their ownership, according to’s analysis . The last 8 years has been heavy; a loss of SEK 32,2 billion, or 35.000,- kronor on each Saab sold. That’s $ 5.100,- on each car. This year alone GM has had to take an SEK 6.2 billion cost on the ailing carmaker, SEK 5.2 of those are amortization of debts.  This is why it’s crucial for Koenigsegg Group that the EU commission rules that Swedish government’s guarantees on Koenigsegg’s loan from the EIB are not subsidies. But since Saab has been on life support for so long, it would be almost impossible to defend Saab as a healthy company, and without the Swedish government’s guarantee, the financial plan from Koenigsegg Group will fail. Maybe they can argue that when it comes to Saab, there are no subsidies, just business as usual.

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Saab Deal Going The Way Of Opel? Mon, 16 Nov 2009 14:44:02 +0000 saab_retro_photo

Saab has not had an easy path to salvation. The Koenigsegg Group has had to provide finances, agree to a price and conditions with GM, get loan from European Investment Bank (EIB),and  coax the Swedish Government into guaranteeing loans. Now there’s one more hurdle left, and it’s the same challenge that scuppered the Opel to Magna deal: The EU.
Reports of recent weeks in the Scandinavian media have told us that the EU is thinking the Saab deal over. And when mighty EU thinks, things take time… So, what are they thinking about? They have to decide whether Swedish Govt’s guarantees to SAAB’s loan in the European Investment Bank should be considered subsidies or not. EU countries are not allowed to subsidize unprofitable companies – and the EU has some questions on SAAB’s and Koenigsegg Groups financial plan, and Saab’s results prior to the reconstruction. So the whole thing might stretch into next year until – or if at all – the deal is closed. Incidentally, questions about the anti-competitive nature of the German government’s support of the Opel to Magna deal killed that sale already. But does GM want Saab back as badly?

Now, this wasn’t really unexpected (except perhaps for Christian von Koenigsegg, who wanted the deal finished in time to present it at the IAA in Frankfurt in September) because it’s part of the process of doing business in Europe. But Saab is being squeezed from other sides too. Swedish Radio is reporting today that Saab has to return 11 million Euros to the Government, money that guaranteed salaries for the employees at Saab in connection with Saab’s restructuring application in February. And at the same time, a spokesman from GM, in connection with their letter to the US Saab-dealers last week makes it clear that if the Koenigsegg-Saab deal goes wrong (as Opel has) Saab is history, gone, dead (as in Pontiac, Saturn or Oldsmobile dead).

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