Detroit Electric is a startup electric car maker that revives the brand of another startup electric car maker by the name of Detroit Electric. As chronicled by Ronnie Schreiber, Detroit Electric cars were produced by the Anderson Carriage company from 1907 to 1939. They sold thousands of them until they were displaced by a better idea, the internal combustion engine. Yesterday, the new Detroit Electric unveiled its first model, a $135,000, battery-powered sports car.
As reported by Reuters, the Detroit Electric SP:01 is “the world’s fastest pure-electric sports car,” with a range of “just under 190 miles” between charges.
Victor Muller managed to sell out to China after all. Today it was announced (full press release here) that Muller’s Spyker and former Saab suitor Youngman will form two companies. Spyker calls them “joint ventures,” but they look more like companies owned mostly by Youngman, with Spyker holding a token share.
Bringing suit against GM for not letting Saab live another day could be turning into a popular sport. Lars Holmqvist, former head of Europe’s automotive supplier body CLEPA, and as such an insider when it comes to the latest Saab dirt, says that spurned Youngman of China is also thinking of suing GM.
After delegations of Pangda and Youngman had travelled to Trollhättan to inspect the factory, one returning Chinese traveler mentioned to a contact of mine that the factory is great, but it’s in the wrong place. In Sweden, workers would earn way too much and go home early, contrary to the Chinese worker, who would have a much higher work ethic for less money, the traveler opined. If all goes well (for the Chinese,) the Trollhättan factory will come to China. Usually well informed Sveriges Radio reports that Youngman is interested in buying the Saab assets in a bankruptcy sale.
Updated with Victor Muller’s press conference.
The Church of The True Saab reports rather breathlessly that a YADTFSS (yet another deal to finally save Saab) has been found. The organ that prides itself to have knowledge of insider information (which it usually never releases) relies on Sweden’s TTELA, which says (translation courtesy Church of The True Saab : )
The last attempt at saving Saab failed when GM said it would not supply or license technology to Saab if it were 100% owned by PangDa and Youngman, scuttling the Chinese firms’ bid for outright control of the company. Now the two firms have sent a revised proposal to The General in hopes that they can provide safeguards for intellectual property, allowing them to purchase Saab without losing the link to GM. After all, both the 9-3 and 9-5 rely on GM technology and parts, while the 9-4X is wholly supplied by GM. Rachel Pang of PangDa tells TTELA.se
We have not discussed any changes with regard to ownership structure. We are concentrated on the GM issue… It’s about more commercial terms. We want to meet them and have asked for a meeting. First we must give them time to review our proposal. We are waiting for GM’s response and then we will of course respect it.
Of course, our understanding is that “the GM issue” is the same as the ownership structure issue… and keep in mind, PangDa and Youngman are looking for a meeting, not an agreement from GM. Which means this could drag on a while… and wouldn’t you know it, it’s time for Saab to pay salaries again.
While the flagwavers at Saabsunited wallow in the good news that the Swedish king announced at an annual moose hunt near Trollhättan that Victor Muller is a great guy, far away in Detroit, GM spokesman Jim Cain issued to Reuters what sounds like the death sentence to the sale of Saab to China’s Youngman and Pangda:
“GM would not be able to support a change in the ownership of Saab which could negatively impact GM’s existing relationships in China or otherwise adversely affect GM’s interests worldwide.”
The exactly same statement was sent to the Wall Street Journal, and GM will send it to anyone who asks what GM thinks of the deal. If Muller would have asked before announcing the sale, he most likely would have received the same answer.
Today, Saab creditors met in a packed-beyond capacity courtroom on Vänersborg. After a short deliberation, the district court approved the reorganization plan, Göteborg’s Posten reports. It will cost 500 jobs in Trollhättan. On Friday, China’s Youngman and Pangda had agreed to take over Saab 100 percent – in a Memorandum of Understanding, which isn’t worth much, and which is littered with caveats.
Guy Lofalk, the administrator of Saab’s reorganization, will ask the court in Vänersborg to terminate the reorganization process. Before, Saab expressed “ doubts that the bridge funding of Youngman and Pang Da, of which a partial payment has been received, shall be paid in full on 22 October 2011.” Finally something we can agree on.
What happens if the court accepts Lofalk’s recommendation? Stockholm News explains it:
In a statement issued late Friday, China’s Geely poured cold water over rumors that it is interested in Saab, but confirmed that there was a meeting – because they wanted to be nice. There is another version that says that Sweden’s Finance Minister caused Geely’s Li Shu Fu a massive loss of face, whereupon he took his balls and went home.
Where to start? Let’s start with the money. The $96 million promised by China’s Youngman and badly needed by Saab are not here. They haven’t left China either. Not just because China is on vacation. Youngman claims they have not received what they were promised, and until that happens, no money will be sent. “If the conditions are not met, we cannot pay,” Rachel Pang, president of Youngman, said in an email to Dagens Industri. Welcome to China. Now wait what the Swedes have up their sleeves.
Yesterday, we reported that Saab was waiting for some $93 million to arrive from China. The matter has not changed. Now, people on the inside get the impression that yellow knight Youngman wants out. This morning, Swedens’s Dagens Industri cited an inside source that says that Youngman wants out, and another Chinese maker wants in. Yeah, sure.
At Saab, which is working (well, not really working) under court protection from creditors, the big question is: “Did the money come in?”
The money is the €70 million ($93 million) promised by the Chinese bus manufacturer Youngman as a bridge loan. Saab needs cash desperately. Court protection means no new loans. Cash is king. No cash has arrived from China. Saab is not the only party in Sweden that is waiting for answers from China. Sweden’s National Debt office is waiting for answers also. Let’s have a look.
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