Our Daily Saab: With Plans Expired And Dealers Waiting On Cash, GM Takes The Wheel
Saab’s Memorandum of Understanding with PangDa and Youngman expired today, returning Saab to what must by now be a rather comforting, familiar state of limbo. Of course, the MoU in question was already dead, as GM had publicly nixed it, saying it wouldn’t supply parts or license technology to a 100% Chinese-owned Saab. But now, without an official agreement to rally around, Swedish Automobile, PangDa and Youngman are desperately pitching new ownership structures to GM in hopes of approval. Swedish Auto’s Victor Muller tells the WSJ [sub]
We are submitting an information package to GM and we will have to await the feedback that GM has on that package and then we’ll know.
Muller says the lesson of the failed MoU is that GM won’t accept Chinese control, and as a result the new proposed ownership structure is “very carefully crafted” so that none of the three partners has complete control. But since the previous deal, in which PangDa and Youngman would split a 54% stake in Saab, is also off the table, it’s tough to say what Muller’s “carefully crafted structure” entails. And while Saab and its Chinese suitors wait for GM approval that may never come (but don’t tell Keith Crain [sub] that!), it seems both time and money are getting tight. Again. Still.
Saab is refusing comment on how much cash it has on hand, but apparently the answer is “not much.” Automotive News [sub] reports that Saab’s payments to its US dealers, which includes money for warranty repairs, have been delayed. According to a statement by Saab Cars North America,
While it is our intention to provide funding when it becomes available, you should use your judgment on whether to utilize these programs until SCNA is able to confirm funding is in place
But neither Saabs dealers nor its other creditors need wait too much longer for some resolution of this latest state of limbo. Saab has one week to come up with a plan to pay off its debts, or it could finally be pushed into bankruptcy. Failing that, Saab has salaries to pay again three days later (the 25th). If the company is screwing over its dealers and by extension its customers in one of its largest markets, it’s clearly at the “cutting off limbs to stay alive” stage. And that stage never lasts long.
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