Saab Chairman, Victor Muller, addressed the assembled Saab workforce at 12:30pm today.
UPDATE: Notes from Victor Muller’s address are now posted below.
Notes from the address by Victor Muller to Saab employees – Tuesday 17 May
- Victor began the address with a heartfelt apology to staff for having put them in this position. He mentioned a commitment made to Jan-Ake Jonsson when they made the Saab purchase that they would not let this company slide and he is very mindful of that commitment. Of course, this is a different situation to the purchase, however, because now Saab are their own masters.
- “I got us here. I’ll get us out”. There was a definite feeling of personal responsibility in the address.
- VM was heartened by the good news that Saab has received through this situation, the reviews of the Saab 9-4x from the drive event in Washington DC, in particular. Whilst it’s been a bad time for Saab, there have been encouraging things happening on the product side.
- In speaking about press coverage of the situation, VM said that whilst the press have applied a high level of scrutiny to Saab, the only reason they’ve been able to do this is because we gave them the opportunity to do so.
- On the collapse of the Hawtai deal, VM indicated that there were a number of potential suitors at the time the deal was done. Hawtai had great potential but the deal was ultimately thwarted by the regulatory structure and the challenges that would provide to getting the deal done in a timely manner. Indicated that Hawtai executives were heartbroken when they had to advise that they couldn’t complete the deal.
- The collapse of this deal was quite unfortunate, but it did give Saab the opportunity to learn from it and construct a better deal second time around.
- Pang Da will make for an incredibly good partner and their focus on sales and distribution should mean more business for Saab, plus the opportunity to execute parts of the deal straight away such as the commitment to purchase cars straight away. Buying cars is Pang Da’s business and does not require regulatory approval, which is the benefit of this deal for Saab at this time.
- It is too early to say what the medium-long term ramifications of the recent stoppage will be for Saab, but as well as challenges, there are also opportunities and the deal with Pang Da presents such opportunities.
- The required negotiations with suppliers, as well as supplier ramp-up time mean that it could take several weeks for production to recommence.
- VM is mindful of the fact that Saab operates in a glasshouse environment, where everyone is watching what we are doing. We have to take steps and build strength in the organisation so that we are protected from this sort of situation ever happening again.
- As with the sale process from GM, the recent situation has demonstrated the loyalty and commitment of Saab employees once again. VM expressed a profound gratitude for their loyalty and vowed to reward it with a healthier company. He will continue to source deals and partners that can assist in building stability into the Saab business.
- His final words: “Never, ever give up”