The Case Against Saab-timism, Continued
Do you want to believe? You’ll feel at home over at SaabsUnited.com, where the most incurable Saabtimists on the web are (still!) trying to turn their beloved brand around one comment-thread at a time. One current topic, “What to do about Saab dealer finance?” illustrates just one of the major problems facing Saab-Spyker. Other problems include, well, money. CEO Victor Muller has hinted that he’ll list the new Saab-Spyker’s shares in London and Stockholm, “to be closer to investors,” he says. Automotive News [sub] figures it’s because he needs money to develop the new model lines that have been “rumored.” At some point they might want to think about those dealer issues too. Meanwhile, Åke Svensson and Saab’s fourth quarter results epitomize the strained optimism we’ve been hearing for months now.
Muller says SAAB will be profitable selling 100k - 120k cars, which he projects for 2012. That would be a return to the sales levels of 05/06 when unemployment was low and cheap credit was available to anyone. Even in that favourable economic environment SAAB had to use profit killing incentives to sell cars. The Great Debt Meltdown and subsequent recession have changed things. Economies will have improved by 2012 (I hope) but we're not going back to 05/06. Credit will be harder to get and unemployment will be higher. SAAB can't resort to incentives to sell cars for no profit. That's because Spyker can't carry it longer than 2 years when it will have burned through the $1 billion Spyker has raised. New cars will work in SAAB's favour, if they're good. The damaged brand will work against it. Potential buyers will not be reassured that a miniscule, money losing Dutch sports car maker they've never heard of stands behind SAAB, itself recently bankrupt.
SAAB has been a target of hard-nosed speculation for almost a year now. I think it doesn't make sense to go on with that. We've heard it all, and we've heard it all over again. Some people think, SAAB should have been killed 20 years ago, and some think it will be sucessful again. So, for a change, let's just simply see what happens. We can't tell the future after all, not even for money.
Now with Tojo Toyo up against the ropes it's time for Big Swede to come on strong. Enough with the rope-a-dope. And I just know that everyone who is now hesitant about taking on new debt and/or buying a loaded Camry can't wait to dive right into a nice, new 9-3. In the immortal words of Ted...uh...er...Spyker, "Looks like I picked the wrong week to stop sniffing glue..."
I hope the confusion between the Saab Defence & Security company's CEO Mr Svensson and Saab Automobile is not intentional !!