By on November 29, 2011


Saab’s supposed saviors in China have not sent any money (not that this is surprising). Saab’s other savior Vladimir Antonov is out on bail, had to surrender his passport and report with the coppers in West London three times a week. Which adds new revs on Saab swirling down the drain.

Saab reports that it’s UK unit Saab Great Britain Ltd (Saab GB) “filed for administration with the High Court in London today.” Administration is the UK version of bankruptcy. The court appoints an administrator, which takes n the management powers of the directors.

Saab says the Chinese are to blame:

“Swan received a conditional funding commitment from Youngman for the payment of the wages of the employees of Saab Automobile and for the continuation of the activities of Saab GB. Saab Automobile and Saab GB have not yet received this funding.”

Meanwhile in Trollhättan, salaries have not been paid. The unions are preparing the required demand notice, and if that triggers no money, the unions will file for bankruptcy. Just Auto says:

“Saab unions, suppliers and Swedish tax representatives are to meet the automaker at 17:00 today [Sweden, 29 November) in the manufacturer’s home city of Trollhattan as crisis talks to rescue the company appear on a knife edge.”

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19 Comments on “Our Daily Saab: Chapter 11 In The UK. Swedish Unions Going For The Kill...”

  • avatar

    I guess posting the other part of their (IF Metall) quotes would put too balanced of a spin on the story. Not surprising.

    “Despite the dire nature of Saab’s predicament that has also seen Saab GB file for administration today, IF Metall did offer a tiny chink of hope that former parent General Motors’ stance might be softening. GM has so far taken a hard line on any future licencing arrangements should Saab pass into 100% Chinese control.

    It appears Saab in Sweden has told IF Metall that GM has mentioned there could be “a couple of openings,” although the nature of these have not been divulged. IF Metall is hoping further light can be shed when it has a video conference with Saab at 16:00 today, ahead of the debt committee meeting.”

    • 0 avatar

      I don`t understand your point. Bertel has been consistent and more than comprehensive covering the whole Saab debacle. He reported it as it is, you seem to want to find hope in “openings”. Good luck with that.

      • 0 avatar

        Consistent doesn’t equal fair. Bertel loves the blood bath that is Saab’s demise…”But he’s telling it the way it is”, you would say. Fine but I wouldn’t call his reporting of Saab ‘comprehensive’. It’s biased. But that wasn’t my point. It’s not my blog…he can spew his Saab-hate all he wants. I’m just adding balance to the story. Call it what you want.

        “Good luck with that”

        I do love the patronizing sarcasm that only comes from internet comedians. Seriously. I do.

      • 0 avatar

        If there is one scenario that is very likely to happen and another that is highly unlikely, then giving them both equal chance is also not fair.

        A close relative of mine worked at Saab for years and i would be sad to se Saab go. But i have a really hard time seeing how they could posibly survive, unfortunately.

        I don’t see Bertel or TTAC in general making fun of Saab, just telling it like they see it. Im sure you are free to contact the editorial team with a well written, factual and truthful response.

    • 0 avatar

      What is it about some folks that find reality so hard to take? The whole SAAB debacle since Muller is a very bad joke except for the poor stiffs who actually work at the company and dealers worldwide. It reminds me of the petulance parents sometimes display when little Johnny doesn’t graduate to the next grade at the end of the school year.

      Oops, belay that! Nowadays, EVERYONE graduates because to do otherwise would be to wreck the “self-esteem” of the student. At least here in Canada, that’s the way it is, and then we bring up a generation of social misfits, convinced that life is a cakewalk.

      Yes, we have a world where only good news is acceptable, and reality is ignored, especially if it’s presented with a bit of attitude.

      Wake up gt40fan. This is the real world. Muller is a conman making millions, Antonov robs his own banks, and they damn near pulled off a big scam with PangDa together. Muller even blamed those folks for not paying Saab’s salaries this past week. That is so bush, it’s unbelievable, but the faithful at Saabsunited, living on Cloud 9, find it a perfectly acceptable explanation. Which proves they’re not living in this world. It’s Muller who is responsible – he owns the company. “Possible” owners aren’t responsible for salaries unless some weird sense of entitlement overrides logic. Muller seems good at that sort of thing, that deflection of responsibility, hence my characterization of him as a conman.

      As for GM relenting, that’s just this week’s rumor mill at work, so that Saab employees facing unemployment can blame everyone but him. “Oh, he tried so hard to save us,” he hopes they’ll say, rather than lynching him.

      Saab nuts, lick your wounds and get on with life and stop complaining about realistic news coverage. It just makes you seem wackier than you so obviously are.

      I have a normal friend with a 2007 9-5. Like a normal person, he is examining ways to unload the thing, and doesn’t seem to have been hypnotized by its otherwordly qualities.

      • 0 avatar

        Regretfully, your comments are spot-on. I have a Saab (and I’m keeping it). I like the car, but – it is a car – not a lifestyle.

        The coverage here at TTAC does seem to enjoy Saab’s challenges a bit too much, but on balance it has been much fairer than most. By comparison, the SU Saab site has been absolute candyland kool-aid silly in its reporting. Everything is GM’s fault, regardless of the absurdity of such a claim. Before GM sold Saab, SU claimed that Saab really was profitable – that GM “hid” the profits. It seems an independent Saab did an even better job of “hiding profits.” SU really is FOX News for Saabatista’s – a place to be told what you want to hear.

  • avatar

    My local SAAB dealer has already setup a Jaguar Land Rover servicing area next door. Bet they were just getting ready to switch over to being a JLR dealer.

    I’m sure most dealers won’t have difficulty finding new brands too sell. In the case of JLR they seem to be actively looking to increase their UK network to cope with surging demand. Bet Infinity is looking hard too. Although I have seen as many of their products here as Cadillac (i.e 1 in the last 12 months).

    • 0 avatar

      Not many stand-alone dealers will be able to pick up a new brand especially with the demands on facility standards (millions of dollars in most cases) and blue-sky money (hundreds of thousands of dollars) required to carry that brand. Saab dealers have been on life support for most of the last 2 years and have very little capital to satisfy the requirements it will take to carry a another brand.
      If Saab fails, you will see a lot of dealers go out of business and close their doors followed by loss of jobs at those dealers.
      If it were as easy as just getting a new brand, most probably would have by now. For some the only option is to stick it out and hope for the best.
      TTAC is painful to read by anyone who has skin in the Saab game because of their “let’s have fun at the expense of Saab’s trouble” attitude. It’s easy from the sidelines to type, “Saab needs to die” but there’s actual lives being affected by the outcome. I think that’s what bothers me most about team TTAC.

      • 0 avatar

        No dealer can survive on new car sales and service alone. Most make the bulk of their money with used car sales. All of the Saab dealers I’ve seen on both coasts in America have multiple brands and large used car operations. Most of the GM/Chrysler dealers that were culled stayed in business with another maker or became used car dealers. U.S. Saab dealers will do the same.

    • 0 avatar

      A Saab dealer in CT is now selling Chevrolet (they still offer Saab service). The staff report life is much easier selling Chevy’s.

  • avatar
    John Horner

    I think Packard Motorcars has a better chance of being revived than Saab does at this point.

    GM would be idiots to let any of its IP pass to a Chinese competitor by way of Saab.

  • avatar
    Domestic Hearse

    Consumer relationship with brands is a curious thing. That so much affiliation and affection is given to a brand — an idea, a concept — seems to be somewhat misplaced religious or familial urges. The modern concept of deriving so much one’s identity and self-worth from brands may also be western society’s current loss of place, community, and the breakdown of the extended family model.

    I dunno.

    But to actually become excitable, irritable, emotional at the predicted and expected demise of a brand — as if it were the death of a family member or friend — is irrational. (And I’m talking from the consumer perspective, not an employee who derives their livelihood producing products or providing services under the brand.)

    People, look around. Find something important to become passionate about. Something you can do something about. The health of the environment where you live. Fairness and justice for the people in the community where you live. Help and relief for those in need in the community where you live.

    A brand — it’s a concoction of marketing art and science. It’s the logo and strapline of a business. And businesses fail. All the time. Time marches on. People buy something else.

    Let it go. Love something bigger. More real.

  • avatar
    George B

    Your car market is very different from the Dallas area. I think it’s impossible to drive anywhere here without seeing at least one Infiniti G on the trip. JLR isn’t nearly as successful as Infiniti here. However, BMW is the only luxury car brand to own if you want the best prestige vs. lease payment. Saab is dead with no new cars on the road and zero prestige for the old ones.

  • avatar

    Since Saab Cars North America already told its dealers earlier this month that it had stopped paying dealer incentives and warranty claims they can’t be too far behind.

  • avatar
    Dave M.

    TTAC is painful to read by anyone who has skin in the Saab game because of their “let’s have fun at the expense of Saab’s trouble” attitude.

    As a resident Saabista, I feel the pain….but I can’t agree TTAC is reaping joy out of the reporting. Bertel is providing a relatively even blow-by-blow on the soap opera called Saab. It’s sad, it’s tragic, the value of my car has bottomed, worse yet thousands of folks have lost their livlihood….but it is what it is.

    Take a step back – Mueller or any other snake oil salesman succeeding was a Hail Mary to begin with.

  • avatar

    A couple of quick question for you Mr Schmitt,

    “Jeff” over at The Church Of The One True Saab is spouting off tonight that ‘the deal’ is yet again just over the horizon. Have you heard anything that in any shape or form would substance to this rumour? It all seems to be hanging on reports of a rumoured third Chinese or American party who would come in on the PangDa/Youngman deal, has this any basis in truth at all or is it just another piece of black propaganda put out to try and deal the unions again?

    Secondly, do you know when the Re-Organisation agreement comes to an end? I thought it was the 21st of December but seem to be reporting that it will be much sooner?

    Hopefully it will be this week so this insane joke can finally reach its punchline.

    • 0 avatar

      I am in Tokyo at the motor show and away from my sources. I just received an email from China that says:

      “Chinese press says Saab deal DOA, Pangda was refused by GM, game over, lights out.”

      I can’t confirm this from here, so no report about it.

  • avatar

    I am a SAAB fan. And what Bertel usually posts about SAAB is true. As in, factual. I do think some SAAB fans think TTAC ends up coming across as mean-spirited and biased not because TTAC posts about SAAB’s troubles, but because the comments are filled with name-calling and hateful remarks about people that drive SAABs and like SAAB the company. Yet never bother to mention the superior vehicles they drive. Same story on every car website though.

    This is called The TRUTH About Cars, yet so many of the comments are nonsense. Victor Muller a con-man. Sure. Vladimir Antonov robbing his own banks. Sure. As if the governments of at least four countries and three large corporations didn’t have one smart person between them to figure out the super-sleuth team of Muller/Antonov.

    Fact is, VM tried to save the company. He is a car guy. As in, wants to see cars, specifically SAABs, do well. He didn’t do a great job at it. It’s that simple.

  • avatar
    Charles T

    Just saw a breaking news headline:

    “Saab Surges on Optimism “..

    Could it be? A new savior?

    …”Switzerland Will Opt to Buy Gripen Jet”

    Oops, wrong Saab. Carry on then.

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