Posted by: saabnuts | January 8, 2012

Survival of Saab car brand, the GM obstacle

SAAB logo with Griffin

As always I recommend checking reputable sources for such news at sites such as Saabs United and Life with Saab (and check our blogroll for additional links).

Along with countless fellow Saab owners, enthusiasts and Saab employees we continue to look for news that one of the bidders interested in Saab successfully purchases the company as a whole and will RESUME PRODUCTION of SAAB CARS IN TROLLHATTAN.

The Bankruptcy Administrators have loads of work ahead as will anyone that purchases Saab.

One of the complicating factors of greatest concern to me is that resuming production of Saab cars likely requires consent and willingness on the part of GM (General Motors) to work with new owners of Saab and supply parts.

Given the fact that GM has apparently already sent “incentive” letters to existing Saab car owners offering low rebate amounts towards the purchase of new GM cars and trucks (lower incentive amounts than MANY other “groups” are routinely offered, and lower than many people get walking into dealers off the street), I am of the opinion that GM has long since written off Saab and is not going to cooperate with a change of ownership of Saab Automobile.

As many others rightfully recognize, GM committed to extinguishing the Saab brand 2 years ago (before selling to Spyker) and their position appears to be no different now.

I do hope that bidders for Saab and the Bankruptcy Administrators are able to keep the giant GM hurdle in mind and apply adequate pressure on GM to conduct business with new owners, rather than allowing GM to behave irresponsibly from both a financial and global citizen perspective.

Considering the number of people GM has laid off both in the U.S. and globally over the course of decades, it would be nice to see them step up to the plate with helping SAAB re-employ its workforce, as well as countless people at companies that supply parts to SAAB.

From a financial standpoint, it should make more sense for GM to supply and sell parts to a new owner of Saab, all while enjoying the benefit of no longer being the owner or responsible for Saab.

As a company known for being run by people more concerned with profits than producing quality, innovative or fun to drive vehicles, one might expect GM to rise to the occasion to recognize additional income streams versus using IP (intellectual Property) concerns as an excuse, as was evidenced by statements that they will not provide parts supply to any Chinese owners or that they are not talking to any bidders (yet).

As a reminder GM stands behind what appear to be unrealistic concerns over IP in Saabs as a reason for not being willing to work with Chinese owners of Saab, if sold to a Chinese firm.

There is nothing so secretive under the hoods of Saabs that GM should fear getting into the hands of a Chinese company, and my opinion includes believing that even if there are such concerns, that given the pace at which technology evolves, whatever GM may be concerned about will be outdated in a few years or less anyway.

GM ought to have enough confidence in their own ability to innovate and create new IP within a few years for their brands, and understand that markets and technology will evolve regardless of their reported concerns about IP in Saabs, in the case of the 9-3, which were designed how many years ago?… what is GM worried about?  The most recent 9-3 model is not a brand new design and should not pose any risk to GM.

Has anyone at GM looked around the market at the technology in every other brand?  The IP concerns simply don’t pass a logic / validity test with me.

How is it possible, as much as I respect and know that SAABs are technologically advanced, that GM could actually believe that it will be the world’s largest auto makers’ undoing if they license IP to new owners of Saab.  This seems more ridiculous when you know that the companies bidding to purchase Saab have included public mention that they are willing to pay licenses as required to use GM’s technology and build Saabs.

A company the size of GM must have accounting and legal people capable of working with bidders offering to buy goods and services from it.  For GM to refuse to negotiate or consider working with bidders is simply unacceptable for a company of their size, history and with such an enormous staff of industry professionals on board.

Come on GM;  support a new owner of Saab and sell parts to the new owners., and license the technology  Make the cost of using the IP such that your financial concerns are covered.  Get yourselves to the negotiating table and make a deal, and make money.  Isn’t that a standard operating concern for GM as with any business?… to make a profit?

Doing otherwise is simply not good business if you are in business to make money, and if you take your responsibilities to shareholders seriously, as well as your responsibilities to citizens of the U.S. and Canada, who bailed you out not long ago.  Do not be foolish while the world is watching.

In spite of all of this I remain hopeful that Saab will be sold and resume production, and re-employ the fine Swedes who have designed and built these cars for so long, and that GM surprises us all by making a more visibly intelligent business decision for a change.

I can hope, can’t I?  😉

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