Tis the season to be
The Examiner is posing some Dear Santa questions from various stakeholders in the car industry:
Saab Owners: A glimmer of hope for the future of their beloved, quirky sport sedan.
Actually, I think most people are wishing for a future hatchback, but that aside….
Yes, people are indeed looking for hope for Saab Automobile. This weekend’s going to be a crucial one as we have a very important court hearing on Monday afternoon and some key events leading up to that hearing will go a long way in determining the short term future of the company.
The Examiner’s info is a little bit outdated (not uncommon) but there is plenty of hope for this company if we can overcome a few short term, not-insignificant obstacles.
Naturally, I keep a pretty close eye on what’s being reported in the motoring press about Saab’s current fight to survive. It will come as no surprise that many commentators wrote Saab off a long time ago.
e.g. The Truth About Cars:
all these delays have only made it more likely that Saab will die on the week before Christmas.
Those are probably the kindest words uttered about Saab by TTAC in the last six months.
The news services generally report events as they happen, with a little bit of historical context thrown in. They rarely make predictions about what will happen next, most likely because they’ve learned from prior experience that with Saab, especially in 2011, you can’t tell what’s going to happen next
Commentators, on the other hand, are paid to provide commentary. They interpret and they use their varied levels of experience to predict what they think is going to happen in the future. That’s reasonably easy when it comes to most companies, but not with Saab, and many commentators had Saab dead and buried well before December 2011.
They’re generally a proud bunch and don’t like to change their predictions – egos are just as prominent amongst commentators as they are amongst auto executives and a reputation for reading the wind correctly is everything – but it’s good to see that some writers are at least recognising the incredibly gutsy fight being put up by the Saab executive here in Sweden.
It’s proving a lot more risky than most folks might have anticipated to bet against the struggling Swedish automaker Saab.Just ask administrator Guy Lofalk.
Barely a week ago, he had recommended that the courts end Saab’s voluntary reorganization, which would have meant the collapse of the company, which has been struggling to find investors – or a buyer – since last spring. Instead, Lofalk has been fired and replaced with what appears to be a more willing administrator while Saab itself will have some more time to pull together a deal.
By the way, some reports (like this one at Reuters) might leave readers with the impression that Guy Lofalk won’t be allowed to resign his position as administrator. My understanding is that Lofalk has to stay on until Monday – the court hearing, again – which will give our creditors the opportunity to approve the change of administrator. So he will be able to leave the position, just not quite at the time of his choosing.
But back to slightly confounded journalists
From Just Auto:
Every week for months now, I expect to be writing a small obituary for Saab, gone to join the likes of Pontiac, Saturn, Oldsmobile, Rover, Austin et al in brand name heaven and, every week, another rabbit gets pulled out of the hat.
That’s the quote that started this whole post, actually.
The reasons that people write us off are understandable given that they’re not privy to all that’s happening at Saab. We’re a small fish in a big ocean, we’re in financial trouble, etc etc. We have some key stakeholders that have made decisions about our future for us and we’ve had to work around those decisions, which has made the process even longer.
But the key thing to remember here is that we DO have a lot of things going for us as a company. Perhaps the key thing going for us right now is the significant interest we have some from some well-resourced investors and the support we have from our closest stakeholders.
They key question is whether or not a structure can be found and put into motion quickly enough to reassure the decision makers. It’s quite literally a race against time. A valid solution is in place and should be presented on Monday. It’s a matter of whether or not we’ll be allowed the time to execute it.
From a media-watcher’s point of view, it’s just good to see some recognising that we’re working our butts off to achieve a good result here. And that we’re not doing it without reason.
Have a good weekend. No prizes for guessing what’s on our Christmas wish list this year – a speedy positive outcome for our employees and a bright future for the Saab brand.