By on September 13, 2009

I’ve been prowling the autoblogosphere today re: the Saab SAIC deal. Besides the obvious concerns about fear of production and technology moving out of Sweden, comments and speculations are mainly positive. The unions are happy, says Chairman of the United Metalworkers, Paul Åkerlund. “Lovely to be done with this discussion, now its time to look forward.” The Chairman of the union, Annette Hellgren, is similarly copacetic. “There are always question around Chinese owners, as with our neighbor in Gothenburg (Volvo), but with this deal, we don’t have to worry – that feels good.” In their opinion, we’re talking Chinese money, access to the Chinese Market, and no Chinese interference with management or product development. (Minor stake in Koenigsegg Group, remember?) As the old Swedish aphorism says, “Döm ej allt du ser, Tro ej allt du hör, Gör ej allt du kan, Säg ej allt du vet, Förtär ej allt du har, Låt ingen veta vad du har i hjärtat eller pungen.” Make the jump for the translation and more news . . .

“Do not judge all you see, do not believe all you hear, do not do all you can, do not say all you know, do not eat all you have, let no one know what you have in your heart or in your wallet.”

Speaking of wallets . . .

In an interview to Aftenposten, investor Bård Eker expressed joy and relief, but also frustration with slow bureaucratic processes. They’re in a hurry alright; “we’re talking hours and days, not weeks and months.”

So the only real concern is whether the deal will go through or not. A Memorandum of Understanding is not a legally binding contract; it isn’t good enough to secure that crucial loan from European Investment Bank (EIB).

According to e24.se, if Saab receives EIB loans, the new company will be kept on a tight leash. Research, development and innovation, namely intellectual property rights such as patents, must be owned and conducted by an entity within the EU. In addition, “most [of this work] must be conducted in Europe,” said EIB Vice Manager Eva Srejber.

According to Trollhättan-area’s local news site ttela.se, Amnesty International stated a cause for concern to Koenigsegg, demanding a similar work force policy in an eventual assembly factory in China as there is in Trollhättan.

“We take no stand for or against Swedish establishments dealing with non-democratic countries. But we think that any business that enters into a partnership with China should be familiar with how things looks like in the Chinese industry,” Amnesty International press secretary Elisabeth Löfgren said. “Companies should not operate with double standards. Compliance with the Swedish labor law in Sweden should not be lower in the foreign operations and by its subcontractors. Saab is in a huge mess. But it is nevertheless important that there are set demands to Koenigsegg in this respect.”

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

Recommended

11 Comments on “Chinese Saab Story, Updated...”


  • avatar
    Ingvar

    I’d substitute “wallet” with “purse” in that translation. Just to make it more poetic…

  • avatar

    Companies should not operate with double standards. Compliance with the Swedish labor law in Sweden should not be lower in the foreign operations and of its subcontractors.

    The Chinese will not like this. Koenigsegg makes its cars purely by hand. The Chinese already have these thingies … robots I believe they call them …. they weld and stuff.

  • avatar
    CommanderFish

    Just as a random side note, if you were to look at luxury makes on the street in Milwaukee, Saab is actually one of the most common luxury marques.

    It’s strange, I just moved here and no where else in the US have I seen so many Saabs, in a city of German and Polish heritage to boot!

  • avatar

    The Chinese will not like this. Koenigsegg makes its cars purely by hand. The Chinese already have these thingies … robots I believe they call them …. they weld and stuff.

    True, the Chinese are looking to get a leg up technologywise, but there’s still plenty of human work in Chinese factories. If manufacturing was just about the cost of robots and machines there wouldn’t be any low cost producers like China and India. There are high tech factories in China and there are piecework shops, and some of those high tech factories are dependent on a supply chain that involves fairly low tech manufacturing processes. Mattel’s tier 1 suppliers may use quality molds, but the companies in the second tier get their leaded paint from the lowest bidder.

    Bertel obviously knows more about manufacturing in China than I do, but as I understand it, cost is still the #1 issue in Chinese business culture. Making it cheaply is the first consideration. Is that culture monolithic? Well, companies that supply Apple meet good quality specs, so it’s not a given that a Chinese vendor will make your product out of sawdust and manure if not supervised but it will be a while before Chinese goods have the quality reputation as goods made in Japan, Germany and the US.

  • avatar
    charly

    Well, companies that supply Apple meet good quality specs,

    You must be talking about a different Apple then as it isn’t well known for its quality.

  • avatar
    dejal

    “You must be talking about a different Apple then as it isn’t well known for its quality.”

    Do you mean the exploding ipod touch?

  • avatar
    charly

    Not only

  • avatar
    ZekeToronto

    charly wrote:

    You must be talking about a different Apple then as it isn’t well known for its quality.

    I’ve yet to see a serious study or survey done in the last five years that didn’t put them at or near the top of the list of (either computer or consumer electronics manufacturers) for quality, after sales support and/or customer satisfaction. Anecdotal evidence need not apply.

  • avatar
    stuki

    “In their opinion, we’re talking Chinese money, access to the Chinese Market, and no Chinese interference with management or product development.”

    If that’s not Scandinavian naiveté at its finest, I don’t know what is.

  • avatar
    stuki

    Zeke,

    At or near the top of the list for consumer computers and electronics need not mean good quality in absolute terms. Not saying anything’s wrong with Apple’s quality, but McDonalds may well be at or near the top of the list for healthiness amongst hawkers of dirt cheap fast food.

  • avatar
    ZekeToronto

    stuki:

    That may be true, but on a practical level what it means is that you can’t buy anything any better. So what’s the point of discussing “quality” that doesn’t exist or isn’t attainable?

    Don’t get me wrong–I’m not one of those Apple fanboys that leaps to their defense whenever the subject comes up, but Charly’s statement that Apple isn’t know for quality just doesn’t jive with the facts. See Consumer Reports for example.

Read all comments

Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Recent Comments

  • ScarecrowRepair: There never will be flying cars, if the lift comes from pushing air down. A Robinson R22 is one of...
  • mcs: @snakebit: I don’t know, the TSA lines at MHT probably take less time than it does to pre-flight the...
  • Vulpine: If it weren’t so big, I’d probably order one myself.
  • Corey Lewis: I suspect it will handle like a G-Wagen superleggera. It would be truck-like and yet not as tippy?
  • Corey Lewis: Well now I am wondering why you got fired from such a sweet gig with company car.

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Who We Are

  • Matthew Guy
  • Timothy Cain
  • Adam Tonge
  • Bozi Tatarevic
  • Chris Tonn
  • Corey Lewis
  • Mark Baruth
  • Ronnie Schreiber