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Turkish ambassador: Saab CEO called us

Turkish ambassador: Saab CEO called us

Published: 20 Dec 2011 16:16 GMT+01:00
Updated: 20 Dec 2011 16:16 GMT+01:00

Shortly after the Vänersborg District Court approved Saab's bankruptcy petition on Monday afternoon, Sveriges Television (SVT) reported that Turkey had been in contact with the Swedish government and Saab management to express its interest in purchasing the beleaguered Swedish automaker.

While Turkey's ambassador in Stockholm, Zergün Korutürk confirmed that she and other embassy officials met with Muller on December 14th, she explained that the meeting came at the request of the Saab CEO.

“The CEO of Saab came to see me at his own request at the embassy residence,” Korutürk told The Local.

She explained that during the meeting, Muller, referenced contacts he had in Turkey which had signaled to him that the country was interested in launching production of a Turkish automobile brand.

“He thought Saab would be a good choice” to help kick-start Turkey's domestic car production plans, Korutürk said of Muller's proposal.

“I told him I would inform the authorities in my country of all that he had told me.”

Korutürk explained that Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has made no secret of his hope for Turkey to have a purely domestic auto brand.

She emphasized, however, that there are no negotiations underway between Turkey and Saab regarding a possible purchase.

“There's nothing more I can say because nothing else happened,” said Korutürk.

Meanwhile, Chinese automaker Youngman, whose decision to pull out of a deal to purchase Saab precipitated the Swedish carmaker's bankruptcy, is reportedly still interested in purchasing the Saab's assets.

According to Sveriges Radio (SR), a delegation from Youngman is set to travel to Saab headquarters in Trollhättan in western Sweden as early as Wednesday.

Bankruptcy administrator Hans Berqgvist confirmed that he had been in touch with Youngman and hopes to meet with representatives from the Chinese company before Christmas.

Youngman is interested in keeping Saab's Trollhättan plant open, but with production on a smaller scale than previously, the company's Swedish spokesperson, Johan Nylen with the Baker McKenzie law firm, told Swedish business daily Dagens Industri (DI).

However, any further production wouldn't likely start for at least two years, as it would take that long to develop a new model.

TT/David Landes (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

17:03 December 20, 2011 by byke
At what point does a CEO's actions go over the line and into fraud? when it misleads its investors and public regarding its sustainability and possible investors?

We often hear about the poor old SAAB employees etc, but what about those who are owed money by SAAB (Do these workers who have supplied SAAB and been given false promises and continued delays deserve this type of behavior?)

If I was an investor or one of the many businesses, I would want to see a criminal investigation both against the CEO and the state for allowing this type of unethical (fraudulent) behavior to continue.
20:09 December 20, 2011 by Norrlands Turk
Two things.

1- "Büyükelçi" means 'ambassador" in Turkish. Its not her last name. Again, you're not doing your homework properly TL!

2- Making SAAB a Turkish brand would be awesome. Number of international brands have been bought by Turkish conglomerates over the past decade and SAAB would be a great addition.
05:42 December 21, 2011 by supertime
This great, I think Turkey would be beter choice than China, they just take the assets and dublicate the car and sell it under a Chinese brand, Turkey is growing second the China ,young population is way over Europes, and spare parts are already are made in Turkey, Auto factories in BURSA are World class ,they already make 58% of the Europes cars there and they are very friendly nation to Sweden, they treated us like a Gold. they love the Swedish people and respect us, when we visited Antalya, all we have to say we are from Sweden, we got a big smile and much attention, Turks are great hospitable people, and did l mention food was great?

Turks should buy it, this my opinion,
09:03 December 21, 2011 by ettan
It's a GM strategy to buy the great brands and sink them under their wings thus they won't have to deal with quality brands. I'd be more than happy to see Saab being under Turkish government's wings. Turks are very experienced in automotive sector and they really want to develop it further. I'm just begging swedish government reconsider the china option. I have two saabs and no way that I'm going to use chinese spare parts!
12:00 December 21, 2011 by chocolatechips
We like Sweden and Swede's, we have car factories and the government wants its own car brand but thats all.It would be great to have a Turkish brand like SAAB. The truth is, the cars we're building here are lower segment cars. Nothing like SAAB. Mostly commercial cars, Renault Fluence, Fiat Linea, Hyundai Accent, Honda Civic Sedan and maybe Toyota Corolla Sedan. I don't think that's 58% of European cars. Opel was built here earlier but left afterwards. The government wants a low budget car which is their own brand. The growth is high because of the domestic market and many new house constructions. We have a big current account deficit which is a serious problem. I hope we get over this situation. Also Turkish businessman want big profits with little effort. That's why the quality drops if some quality product is manufactured in Turkey. We make some great products but the cost is so high if you want to build a quality product so it comes with a price. What can Turkish companies do that Youngman or other Chinese couldn't success? Nobody can use the GM lisences so you have to pay a huge amount of money or build something from scratch. That means time and more money. SAAB has a great amount of debt, we have to clear that out, too. In addition Volvo has become Chinese but the quality is the same. That's because the Chinese don't interfere the production, they just give the money; just like Tata does for Land Rover and Jaguar. If Turkish government is OK with just giving the money then it's fine, I would like to see SAAB as a Turkish brand. Unfortunately our government wants to be involved in every step of creating a brand and building it. In any way I would like to see both Turkey and SAAB do great in the near future even if they aren't together.
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