Our Daily Saab: No Salaries (Blame The Chinese). And A Duncecap For Saabsunited

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt

It has become a tradition at the „iconic” Saab: For the sixth month in a row, former carmaker Saab can’t make payroll. Saab employees did read the familiar note on their website today that salaries are “delayed.” Their head of HR, Johan Formgren, told them that sadly, he cannot “confirm any exact date when the salaries will be paid.” Saab spokesman Eric Geers told the media that he also does not know when wages will be paid. And who is to blame? Victor Muller? Fugitive Valdimir Antonov? All-around-whipping post GM?

No way. It’s the Chinese.

In a text message cited by Göteborg Expressen, Victor Muller writes:

“We wrote in a letter to the employees that we’re sorry, but we are not responsible here – it’s the Chinese. They have promised to ensure that there is money as part of reconstruction funding.”

So what now? Is there a danger that the re-org is cancelled and that Saab will finally go belly-up? Victor Muller sends another text message:

“Not if the Chinese pay.”

That’s a big if. The Chinese don’t like to lose face. They can get downright vindictive when that happens.

Meanwhile, Svenska Dagbladet says that the scandal surrounding Vladimir Antonov and his failed banks could have “consequences for Saab:”

“For example, what happens to the money Antonov has already pumped into the back door of Saab Automobile if the Lithuanian allegations prove to be right? What happens to Victor Muller, who after all is the company’s CEO? And last but not least: What will happen to Saab Automobile?”

That indeed is the big question. China’s Youngman and Pangda wanted to buy 100 percent of Saab. GM said and keeps saying: No way. Victor Muller wasn’t too unhappy about this, because he sees a continued role for himself in an arrangement where the Chinese own less. And just at this very moment, Wanted posters with Antonov’s picture are printed. Says the business site E24:

“The serious charges against Antonov won’t make GM yearn for a solution in which Victor Muller, backed by the Russian financier, is left as an owner. From the outset, General Motors had a negative attitude towards Vladimir Antonov.”

GM doesn’t want a solution with 100 percent Chinese ownership. E24 reckons GM probably won’t want a solution with Muller and allegedly laundered funds in the picture. Pretty dismal, no? No wonder no check is in the mail. No salaries, and off to the bankruptcy court it will be.

After a big gulp of Kool-Aid, the good folks at Saabsunited say that all will be fine, and they focus instead on the fact that someone bought a new Saab 9-5 at a dealer. This must have become such a rare occasion that it has become newsworthy.

Sweden’s Expressen is getting tired of them:

“Victor Muller’s partner in Saab – Russian financier Vladimir Antonov – is wanted for economic crimes after suspicion of bank robbery in the Baltics. Isn’t that enough to understand, even for the most naive Saabhugger, why Antonov was not allowed to buy Saab? I don’t want to put the duncecap on Antonov’s Swedish support group, but I expect a slightly more serious discussion of Saab’s future.”

Before the 4Chån wannabes descend on TTAC and scream “unprofessional condescension” and “don’t you have sympathy for the poor unpaid workers”, let me say just this:

Responsible for the well-being of the workforce is Victor Muller and his merry banksters. Also, I fail to get emotionally worked up for the plight of people who had been on a fully paid vacation since April. And who will be recipients of the generous Swedish unemployment benefits when Saab goes belly-up for good. Not that I blame them for holding out: If someone would pay me the full monte for sitting at home and doing nothing, I would take it, and I wouldn’t look for another job where I would have to work for my money. However, there are millions of real jobless out there without benefits, with foreclosed homes, and food stamps – if they are lucky. Those deserve our sympathy.

As for for the harmless enthusiast site Saabsunited, for quite a while it functioned as the propaganda arm of Antonov. It had had an “Approve Antonov” flag on its banner and instigated a polyglot letter writing campaign to the Swedish government to DEMAND the approval of Antonov as a Saab shareholder. Now, there is a warrant out for his arrest. Saabsunited openly supports the flooding of GM’s Facebook page, something which will kill any sympathy for Saab’s cause as far as GM is concerned. Any if someone holds the keys to those workers keeping their employment, then it’s GM. Saabsunited deserves the duncecap after all.

Join the conversation
4 of 38 comments
  • Jeff_vader Jeff_vader on Nov 25, 2011

    Tonight PangDa have said that the NRDC will not allow them to pay anymore money into SWAN until they have approved the 'deal' (whatever that turns out to be.) Guess the Chinese won't be paying the wages this month after all. Where is Muller going to go now? Especially as he has finally admitted that Antonov put funding into Tenaci Capital to enable Muller to buy Saab in the first place. As both of Antonov's banks have gone into bankruptcy today, I'm guessing the Lativian authorites are going to want take a very close look at that particular deal.

    • Sen Moloney Sen Moloney on Nov 25, 2011

      Good luck to them trying to get anything out of Saab though. In the event of a bankruptcy there would be hardly anything to liquidate. Technology? Well most of it belongs to GM, all Saab has is the current 9-3 minus engines and the Phoenix platform. The factory/property, should Saab go bankrupt will automatically transfer Saab's ownership of it's 50% to Hemfosa who owns the other 50% (this was a clause written in the sale contract). The Saab brand name belongs to the Saab Group (Saab AB) and will revert back to them. You can't liquidate the people, so what is there? It'd be like trying to get blood out of a rock.

  • Jeff_vader Jeff_vader on Nov 26, 2011

    You really do have to admire the boys over at the Church Of The One True Saab. (I say boys because I don't think I've ever seen a girls username.) Their love & faith for the product is incredible and their devotion in trying to keep the brand going so that it can rise again and destroy the evil VAG is commendable, as is the belief that Muller is the second coming but they do have one unfortunate problem. They think everyone loves the brand as much as they do. They don't seem to realise that Saab is (or was) a business that needs to sell cars and make a profit. They just can't see that Muller, Antonov, Mr Six-Pack, Mr Youngman & Mr PangDa don't love Saab as much as they do. Those people are in it for the money, pure & simple. And it doesn't matter how loud 1500 people on one site hope & pray against any rational reason, the general public don't care anymore. They've gone off and bought German & they ain't coming back. Forget how much money it would cost to start the production line again, can you imagine the advertising budget that would be needed to drag people back into the showroom and get Saab back to being a desirable brand? My own thoughts would be that it would cost as much to repair the damage done over the last two years in advertising the products they already have as it would to actually pop bodywork onto the PhoeniX platform. (By the way, who owns that now?) And lets not forget, the general public weren't that bothered about the 9-5/9-3/9-4X before Muller took over anyway. Hopefully Lofalk will pull the plug on this insane charade on Monday and we can start to get ready for the wake.

    • Jaspers Jaspers on Nov 26, 2011

      The Saabuniters have actually dragged SAAB THROUGH THE MUD AND THEY DON't know it. I am happy with my AUDI.

  • Bullnuke Another item on the list of "benefits" for privately owned vehicles being wirelessly connected to the motherships...
  • SCE to AUX "I spent a good chunk of my 20s wanting one"I spent a good chunk of my 40s wanting one, especially in the blue color they used at launch. But the interior is too butch for me, and boy do they drink gas.
  • Sloomis I suspect this is more of a big city vs rural area divide than a state by state divide. I live in the 'burbs of a large Midwestern city and I see loads of EVs everyday. I'd bet you'll see the same in other Midwestern cities. Rural areas of those same states, not so much. And sparsely populated states like WY and SD are of course are going to have low EV sales, the infrastructure isn't there.
  • JMII Why Toyota stopped making these or didn't introduce a revised one I'll never know. I am not an off-roader guy but given the demand for the new Bronco an updated FJ would sell like hot-cakes.
  • Ajla I think I'd rather have a new Civic or Corolla.