Death Of Saab: Sweden's Prime Minister "Not Surprised"

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt

Sweden’s prime minister Fredrik Reinfeldt had his fill of failed negotiations. Returning home from round-the-clock talks at the Copenhagen climate conference, he said that he saw the Saab collapse coming. Sweden’s prime minister is “unsurprised” by the collapse of the sale, says Reuters. Asked if he was surprised, Reinfeldt said: “No, the process was built around a loss-making company and an American owner that owned Saab for 20 years and made a profit in one of the 20. It’s clear that it was not successful enough.” Sweden’s head blames GM for the failure.

Fredrik Reinfeldt said GM had failed to make Saab strong enough to survive.

“Basically, they GM have not been successful enough at building Saab’s profitability, and they have not either come up to those volumes which modern carmakers probably need,” the premier said in an interview on Swedish public radio.

That’s the charitable way to look at it. The other version is that GM can’t even dispose of its unloved brands in an orderly fashion. Opel was withdrawn. The Saturn-Penske deal fell through. Even the Hummer-Tengzhong deal is stuck somewhere in never-never-land.

BAIC would have been more than willing to take Saab completely off GM’s hands, instead of just buying used tooling and machinery. Ironically, hours before the announcement of the failure to sell Saab, BAIC had signaled their intention for further cooperation with Saab, Dow Jones had on its wire. It wouldn’t be astonishing if the large Beijing expat community receives a large influx of engineers from Trollhättan. A friendly IKEA beckons.

Bertel Schmitt
Bertel Schmitt

Bertel Schmitt comes back to journalism after taking a 35 year break in advertising and marketing. He ran and owned advertising agencies in Duesseldorf, Germany, and New York City. Volkswagen A.G. was Bertel's most important corporate account. Schmitt's advertising and marketing career touched many corners of the industry with a special focus on automotive products and services. Since 2004, he lives in Japan and China with his wife <a href=""> Tomoko </a>. Bertel Schmitt is a founding board member of the <a href=""> Offshore Super Series </a>, an American offshore powerboat racing organization. He is co-owner of the racing team Typhoon.

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4 of 18 comments
  • 50merc 50merc on Dec 20, 2009

    When even a politician says Saab is not viable, it is truly doomed. It's time for Saab to join Hupmobile and Kaiser in the automotive heavenly pantheon. The Saab workers can be satisfied that they got their wish, that the company not be sold to a Chinese outfit. And in Sweden's welfare state, being unemployed has its advantages.

  • Mjz Mjz on Dec 20, 2009

    If GM isn't willing to include the new 9-5 and upcoming 9-4x in the deal because the are afraid of "competition" with Opel, then this deal is over.

  • Don1967 Don1967 on Dec 20, 2009

    Is that a 9-3 in the back? Oops, forgive my poor manners. This is a solemn moment for pipe-smoking university professors around the world. Let us put our elbow patches at half-mast. Rest in peace, Saab.

  • Bocatrip Bocatrip on Dec 20, 2009

    I've heard about the Spyker offer on a tv broadcast today. The media is actually presenting it as a viable offer that might come off as a last minute bailout! The media is great with hype.