By on June 20, 2011

Our friends at Saabsunited are slacking off. They used to have cameras trained on the Saab plant in Trollhättan that allowed them to (prematurely) report the return of the workers to the idling plant. Now they had to learn out of the press that the plant will remain closed for a few more weeks. From Reuters all the way to Car and Van Weeks, they all report that Saab workers will stay at home for another two weeks, or thereabouts. The negotiatations with the darned suppliers are ongoing. What else is new? Well, Saabsunited was able to provide the news that the news are true, and that “no definite date for a production restart has been set.” To make up for the temporary breakdown of communication, Saabsunited was allowed to listen-in on a conference call with American suppliers. However, they “can’t reveal specifics.” So why listen in at all? I know, the matter is getting old and tedious, but while we are at it …

Previously, Saabsunited was more on the ball. For instance, they had found the good news in Chinacartimes that Pangda has finished its due diligence process with Saab (that was quick.) What they forgot to say was that Chinacartimes unearthed a niggling little detail:

“It’s a procedure for Chinese companies to conduct due diligence if they want to acquire or partner with foreign companies, and then they are allowed to submit to the regulator an application for opening a joint venture.

However, the application should be submitted by Youngman Automobile, said Pang Qinghua. He has urged Youngman Automobile’s chairman Pang Qingnian to file the application as soon as possible.”

Well, lets hope that both submit their application. All parties involved in a joint venture need to be approved by the Chinese government. Because Pangda and Youngman want to hold interests both in the joint venture as well as in Saab, they better submit those papers. Remember how Hummer got shot down? It never was shot down. The government claimed they received an incomplete application, and then they never received a complete one.

After that secret conference call, Victor Muller reminded Saabsunited of “a previously announced fact that has been underreported – that Youngman has been preselected to make a deal with Saab by the NDRC.” Ok, so let’s do our reporting duty. “Preselected” is the wrong word. Youngman was first to hand in their application (which waits to be updated with the due diligence report and whatever else the Chinese government needs).

When other companies such as Hawtai applied to the NDRC for permission to do a deal with Saab, the NDRC did not deny the application either. The NDRC reminded Hawtai and any other suitors that Youngman had handed in their application first, and according to Chinese rules, no other application can be considered by the government while the first application is pending, ni tingdong ma? With that out of the way, the NDRC can now take its time with Youngman.

Tip to Saabsunited: There is another article up on Chinacartimes. Likewise underreported. It is titled “Are Youngman the best bet for Saab?” It has words such as

“Youngman’s negotiating policy seems to revolve around thewaiting for them to be half dead, half alive’”


“SAIC waited until MG-Rover was cold and very dead before moving into scrape the corpse clean and they launched the Roewe brand two years later. Could Youngman be stalling for time to repeat SAIC’s tactics?”

Required reading. And while we recommend articles from China, here is another one. Underreported again.

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6 Comments on “Saab On Hold Again, And Other Underreported News...”

  • avatar
    SVX pearlie

    “Youngman’s negotiating policy seems to revolve around the ‘waiting for them to be half dead, half alive’”

    IOW, Youngman is waiting to Saab to sell the name, tooling and IP as a going-out-of-business sale, but NOT any of the overpriced labor in Sweden.

    See? Smart!

    • 0 avatar

      That seems about right, especially the part about Swedish labor.

    • 0 avatar
      Seán Moloney

      As far as I am aware, the Saab brand name belongs to Saab AB. During the liquidation of Saab back in late 2009 early 2010 Eric Geers was quoted as saying that General Motors could not sell the Saab brand name because the Saab name never belonged to GM. But rather Saab AB and Scania AB. I think that Scania has more the rights to the Saab Griffin logo more then anything and Saab AB holds the rights to the name. If Saab Automobile was to go out of business there would be no name to sell and the Saab brand name would default back to Saab AB. I believe this was also one of the reasons that Spyker’s original name change plan (Saab-Spyker) didn’t come to be and thus we have Swedish Automobile.

  • avatar

    “SAIC waited until MG-Rover was cold and very dead before moving into scrape the corpse clean and they launched the Roewe brand two years later. Could Youngman be stalling for time to repeat SAIC’s tactics?”

    I think this is the plan. No one else will save my beloved SAAB at this point – GM destroyed the brand, left it with too much baggage, and made it damaged goods. I pray I’m wrong, but I don’t see how SAAB can survive to the autumn, unless it morphs into and design and prove-out house with some niche/specialty manufacturing on the side. I still think it would be a good fit with VAG. I don’t know a soul who bought a Volvo since the Chinese took over.

    • 0 avatar
      SVX pearlie

      “GM destroyed the brand”

      If not for GM, SAAB would have died in the early 1990s, when it became obvious that the ancient 900 & would-be aging 9000 were totally outclassed by everything else in the market.

      The fact that GM’s vast investment couldn’t save SAAB isn’t their fault. SAAB was on its deathbed, dying of starvation when GM came in and bought them. GM managed to revive SAAB from their self-induced coma, footed the bill for years of expensive life-support, and brought SAAB sales back to their previous heights.

      NO investor would have sunk more money in, or done a better job than GM did, and people like you need to give credit where credit is due.

      • 0 avatar
        Seán Moloney

        Ok, credit? Yes GM threw Saab a lifeline in 1989 when they bought 50% of the automotive division. But put them on life support is exactly what they did. GM starved Saab of resources and yet expected it to be able to compete with BMW and Audi. The GM 900/OG 9-3 was built on an old Opel platform from the 80’s, that’s hardly an investment. The only time GM actually invested wisley in Saab was with the introduction of the OG 9-5 and the 2002 9-3 both which contributed to sales climbing to record highs form Saab in 2003. Saab had a replacement for the 9-5 ready to go in 2005, but GM decided against it. Similar to this Saab also had the 9-3X ready for production at the same time as the launch of the 9-3 SportCombi in 2006, but GM declared that the platform the 9-3 rode on would not get AWD thus cancelling the 9-3X only to back flip 3 years later. No, GM’s brilliant idea on how to turn Saab into a profitable company was to rebadge cars that should have been of lesser quality, a la 9-2X and 9-7, instead of letting Saab develop their own veichles. Saab was meant to be GM’s luxury brand, anybody with half a brain can figure out that a luxury brand requires investment in order to remain competitive, not just life support. Saab should have been one of the top priorities, but because it wasn’t American and because it was a make do brand that GM bought because they missed out on the brand they really wanted (Volvo I believe), GM just didn’t invest, and that is where they went wrong. Argue all you want, but the fact of the matter is, Saab was never a top priority for GM, merely an after thought, and that is why they failed.

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