Posted by: saabnuts | February 5, 2012

My opinions concerning potential new owners of SAAB Automobile

SAAB logo with Griffin

It has been a difficult time for former employees of Saab which I’ve watched unfold along with the rest of the world since Saab’s bankruptcy declaration in December 2011.

While the bankruptcy administrators had indicated intent to sell Saab as a whole, more recent rumors or reports suggest that the administrators may not hold to that statement and instead consider selling off Saab assets in pieces, making it potentially impossible for Saab Automobile to resume as the same company with the same wonderful employees.

I understand that Saab might be worth more money if sold off in pieces by the administrators in the near term, similar to how one might sell an old Saab car for parts versus as a “beater” or barely running vehicle.

However, I think there are other “costs” that should be factored in to the administrator decisions.

I also realize that my way of analyzing things may not be typical of business decisions or bankruptcy administrators but that does not change my thinking, and I have managed to run a few, albeit much smaller companies on my own.

I believe that if sold as a whole, Saab offers a better future to so many people and businesses that selling Saab whole should be the first choice if possible.

If Saab is sold whole to new owners, the company has the chance to re-employ thousands of talented workers you won’t find anywhere else on the globe.  People known for designing different, efficient, safe, unique and fun to drive vehicles.  Saab pioneered countless design features that became industry standards over time and would continue to do so if allowed to resume designing and building cars.  Many things that are standard on Saab still aren’t offered as part of the design in other car brands.

This is in no way a comprehensive list but how many innovations did Saab pioneer?  Reliable, efficient and fun to drive turbo charged engines.  Being able to survive a collision with a moose or similarly sized animal or object.  Being able to retain control of your car even if you blow a front tire at highway speeds.  Window defrosters, heated seats, side impact protection, active head restraints, dashboards that allow deforming to minimize passenger injuries in an accident.  Putting the key between the seats to reduce all too common knee injuries.  Crumple zones, keeping the gas tank protected in the event of an accident.  Building cars that survive multiple roll overs, and in many cases, have the doors still open and passengers escape unharmed.  Building cars that not only help you survive an accident but also avoid one in the first place with above average visibility, handling and responsiveness even under poor road conditions.

Above are but a handful of things that pop into my mind, and somewhat off topic, although perhaps an important reminder about why I value the people of Trollhattan so much as car designers and manufacturers.  Their talents have an impact not only on Saab drivers but the industry as a whole, and could continue to do so even more effectively without GM trying to “dumb down” their vehicles.

If Saab is sold as a whole, how much will Sweden save in retraining costs, unemployment costs etc. by allowing new owners to buy Saab as a whole? I do not know the answer but think that this should be a factor in the math used to calculate the value of Saab in parts versus as a whole.

How much money can be made and how many people will be employed if Saab is sold as a whole, and parts suppliers can resume their business with Saab?  I’m thinking that there is tremendous value here as well to allow Saab to be sold whole, and resume doing business with suppliers.

Finally I come to the aspect of which bidder might be the successful new owner of Saab.  I honestly do not know enough about any of the bidders to make 100% accurate predictions, but will go out on a limb here and say that with what little I know, I think Youngman is the most solid and viable option based upon my limited knowledge of Saab’s situation and the other bidders.

While one bidder makes repeated claims to be in discussion with GM concerning licensing and parts supply, we see nothing but denials from GM that they are talking to anyone, and reports from GM that they simply will not license anything to any buyer of Saab.  It is also assumed GM will NOT supply parts to any buyer of Saab.

With the GM aspect in mind, Youngman stands out as the company best prepared to deal with building non-GM Saabs and in Trollhattan.

While I do not know enough about Youngman or as much as I’d like to know, what I’ve read, if trustworthy, tells me that Youngman gets our support here in this corner of the Saab world.

Youngman mentions planning to build cars without GM if needed.  Youngman mentions continuing to produce cars in Trollhattan, even if not Saabs for the short term.  Potentially this sounds to me as though many jobs in Trollhattan will be saved and there is potential for Saab suppliers to get back to making money furnishing parts to Saab.

What matters most to us is seeing as many of the incredible people who designed and built Saabs for decades being able to return to what they do so well, and in fact soar without the constraints of the giant GM hanging around their necks, forcing them to try to be more mainstream.

One of Saab’s biggest assets in my opinion is not being mainstream, but instead, being allowed to be an automotive innovator that solves problems concerning safety, efficiency, reliability and performance to which other companies are oblivious.

Yes, I am a deeply biased Saab supporter.  Look around this blog if you hadn’t already figured that out.

Those are my some of my thoughts.

Time is of the essence, and before more former Saab employees are forced to seek work elsewhere, it would be nice to see the bankruptcy administrators stop wasting time and money and become more visibly serious about finding a solution to sell Saab as a functioning whole, rather than picking it apart like a cadaver in a morgue for a few dollars more now, versus what is possible if Saab is allowed to emerge under new ownership once again.

Youngman has already worked with and invested in Saab heavily and appears to understand the value of Saab and her employees, and appears to see the value of it all, including of the global support this brand and her people enjoy.

These are all my opinions based upon what I think are the facts.  Whether you agree or disagree with my conclusions, I do hope you support Saab’s continued survival as a whole company and help to apply public pressures where needed to make a successful transfer of ownership a reality, and sooner than later.

Thank you.

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Responses

  1. Hi

    I have saab 9000 turo . it have noisy gear box and its expensive for me to fix it. so i want to sell it for parts. can someone suggest me where i can get reasonable price . i am in adelaide , south australia.
    thanx

  2. Having owned multiple Saabs over the years, I agree with SaabNuts comments, but at the end of the day, GM, after raping Saab for years, is now preventing the brand from surviving. With a bit of compromise and compassion from GM, Saab could have been sold three times over, and be producing Saab cars for future Saab enthusiasts. Since it is clear that GM does not want to do this (what are they afraid of?), Saab must either be purchased by some firm with the financial resources to return the company to it’s Swedish origins, with an understanding that it may take three years to put a pure Saab on the market, regardless of the funds available. Then Saab will need to combine the elegant Swedish engineering skills with the Toyota model (since adopted by Hyundai/Kia) to produce ever higher quality vehicles at initially a sub market price, sacrificing short term profit for long term gain. Yes, it is an atypical business plan, but it can work, and Saab’s tarnished emblem can be restored to a shine; developing a new generation of buyers that don’t even look anywhere else, because nothing is like a real Saab.

    • Bob,

      Thank you for the very thoughtful comment. I’ve been quiet as far as posting on this blog but waiting anxiously for news of new ownership for Saab.

      I hate to sound as if I do not care, but I do not care as much who buys Saab as long as they are in it for the long haul, make Saabs in Sweden and we all have the chance to support the company and employees again.


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