• Sweden's news in English

GM, not Sweden, should find Saab buyer: minister

TT/The Local · 27 Nov 2009, 14:29

Published: 27 Nov 2009 14:29 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Jan Åke Jonsson has criticized the government after the collapse of a deal between US General Motors and Koenigsegg.

"It is Saab owner General Motors that should find a new buyer, not the government," Maud Olofsson responded in an interview with the TT news agency.

When questioned what the government was doing now as time runs out for the beleaguered Trollhättan car marker, Olofsson said:

"Now it is in the hands of GM and it is they who should find a new buyer. It feels positive that GM has not given up hope of finding a new buyer," she told TT.

When asked if the government had had any contact with potential buyers, Olofsson once again underlined that it is GM that is selling the firm, and not the government.

"But we are in contact with GM and try to keep informed. If they find a new buyer it will no doubt be time for a new EIB loan and loan guarantees," she said.

Olofsson rejected accusations by Jonsson that the government had been slow in responding to loan guarantee requests.

"That is not my view, and Koenigsegg say themselves that it was not that that was the problem but that it had been an incredibly complex process."

Olofsson explained that the loans had to be secured from the European Investment Bank (EIB) first, before state guarantees could be provided.

"Despite this we speeded up the procedure at the National Debt Office to ensure that there would be no delay. We have pressured the EIB to take a quick decision, and the EU Commission to speed up their procedure," Olofsson said.

"There are several elements that are proceeding simultaneously, but Koenigsegg has not had a single complaint about the government's actions," Olofsson said.

Olofsson confirmed that the government is in contact with GM over the prospect of Saab's possible closure and emphasized that the American company holds a responsibility for the firm and its workers.

Story continues below…

"But it is also the case that we have to find alternative strategies and that work has already begun, together with the region and companies over there," Olofsson said.

"There is extensive expertise within this cluster and if we are not going to be able to continue to manufacture vehicles in the numbers that we do today, what can we produce instead?"

"How can we apply this knowledge? We need parallel strategies at the moment to help us to emerge from this crisis," Olofsson added, arguing that the political opposition had been guilty of indulging in populism over the duration of the Saab process.

"What I am concerned about regarding the opposition is their judgement with regard to the management of taxpayer funds. Had we listened to them then we would have deposited seven/eight billion kronor in GM's pockets and secured not a single job in Sweden."

TT/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

16:10 November 27, 2009 by Rick Methven
If Olofsson sticks by her 'hands Off' stance and lets GM go it alone with a buyer, GM is more likely without any government pressure to close down SAAB. Hell they have got the technology why sell to somebody else?
16:52 November 27, 2009 by Great Scott
Olofsson is playing a dangerous game of cat and mouse, she seems to behaving very irresponsible.

She will never guarantee any loan, but I bet she's praying that someone will buy SAAB thus making her look good, this is wrong playing with peoples jobs. If GM does decide to close Trollhättan, no one can blame them, they have invested an awful lot of money over the years and never received anything in return, and they owe Sweden nothing. But the impact will affect thousands of people in Sweden, not just SAAB workers but the entire supply chain as well as local businesses.

These people will then hold their hands out for benefits, and how much will that cost.

Her resignation I think.
17:09 November 27, 2009 by ShaneW
And we (Swedish taxpayers) owe SAAB/GM nothing either.

Yes sad that jobs will go but thankfully we have a prudent government that wont bail them out. Its a brave decision considering there is an election in less than a year.
17:10 November 27, 2009 by Nemesis
GM are hypocrites to critise anyone.

GM has been bailed out by Germany, Sweden and the USA.


I would suggest doing some research into GM's worldwide activites recently.


GM have been playing different governments of each other.

GM are a bunch of corporate raiders of European patents, industrial capacity and the communities that depend on them.

SAAB has been asset stripped by GM.

SAAB has been patent stripped by GM.

SAAB has had its very good brand name badly damaged by GM.

All European assets should be stripped of GM and the company banned permanently from Europe.

We need long term planning in Europe, not short termism from an American corporate raider.

SAAB should be closed and then given to Konegsegg with a blank slate.
17:15 November 27, 2009 by dogbasket
@Great Scott

Why should the Swedish industry minister resign because a bankrupt car manufacturer can't sell the cars it makes? SAAB hasn't made one single cent of profit for the last 20 years. On the contrary, it has cost its various shareholders billions in financial support. Why on earth should the Swedish taxpayer pick up the bill? Just for the romantics of the name and its history?

The automobile industry has been around for more than 100 years now and all sorts of wonderful makes and designs have unfortunately gone bust or been taken over and dispappeared into oblivion. Such, unfortunately, is life. At the same time, I find it strange that nobody wants to buy up SAAB's expertise without necessarily continuing to produce the same cars - which are too "exclusive" and too expensive for most normal consumers.

I agree that Maud O is praying that someone will buy SAAB, because it's a political hot potato with job losses and collateral damage. But Ohly and Sahlin are barking completely up the wrong tree by demanding that the Swedish state take over SAAB.
17:19 November 27, 2009 by Nemesis
@ dogbasket

SAAb has no expertise left.

All patents have been put into the GM patent database.

SAAB has no more patents.

SAAB has been patent stripped by GM.

It is a production line and a brand name.

The government should close SAAB. Take the brand name. Then give it to Konegsegg.

Otherwise it will be a slow very painful death.
17:30 November 27, 2009 by dogbasket

I guess you're right. One more reason for the Swedish government not to support SAAB financially.
17:31 November 27, 2009 by spy
Nemesis you are a fearful troll so I am going to ignore you.

The fact is that other EU governments have actively engaged in discussions with GM to ensure that their citizens get a fair deal - Sweden has done nothing and the Swedish press will sooner or later be bringing this up.

GM has no real responsibility other than to its shareholders and are unlikely to take in any human element of this situation in any decision over Saab. With 7 months 'till selection I suspect the Swedish government will be getting a little twitchy about this situation. And the opposition will look to capitalize.
17:55 November 27, 2009 by dogbasket
Erhum. Just for the record, the next Swedish elections (not selection) are due in September 2010 - a bit less than ten months away, and not seven.

And yes, the opposition and socialist press are looking to capitalize on this issue. Who wouldn't? But I don't think they'll get much political capital out of it - indeed probably the opposite in the long run.
18:04 November 27, 2009 by Nemesis
@ dogbasket

I agree.

Support should be cut of and GM made to pay back all loans and monies recieved.

SAAB is literally only a production line and a Brand name. Nothing else is left.

GM asset and patent stripped SAAB.

What worries me now, is the number of upcoming job loss's. It is not just the Trollhatten were there will be problems.

In a föreningen I am a member of in Skåne, 8 people rely on outsourced contract work from SAAB to support them and there families. I can see how this will work on the ground. People will lose there homes if they lose there jobs.

All over Sweden there are numerous suppliers who are already under strain. This could literally knock out anywhere from 10000, up to 20000 jobs all over Sweden. That would be catastrophic. If that happens I hope the Swedes remember that GM with there false promises and patent stripping are to blame.
18:26 November 27, 2009 by anticommie
Funny all this GM bashing why dont some swedish company lay down the billions of dollars to buy saab out. If GM wouldnt have bought saab a few years ago it would have went out of business then. The swedish work ethic is crap and companies cant compete. Your hatred of the rich is paying you back and the rich are going elsewhere with there investment money. I say GM should shut down saab and p1ss on the swedes with their hatred and let them starve.
18:38 November 27, 2009 by Nemesis
@ anticommie

Since you hate Sweden so much, here is some helpful suggestions for you.

Goto blocket.se and sell your belongings.

Goto Hemnet.se and sell your home.

Goto flysas.com and get a flight out of Europe. I would suggest Dubai as you would fit in best there. Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, Quatar, USA and Kuwait would most likely be good second choices for you.

Please don't come back. Sweden and Europe does not need people like you holding it back, with your medieval mindset.
18:42 November 27, 2009 by anticommie
You are holding yourself back with your crazy "lazy workers" rules. But hey dont worry soon none of you will be working.
18:48 November 27, 2009 by Plowbridge
Olafsson is as incompetent as she is arrogant. As Enterprise Minister she displays none of skills stipulated in the job title and instead reserves her energies for making childish responses and attacks on the oppositions justified criticisms of her.

Whilst I agree with the refusal to guarantee loans to the out of their depth Koenigsegg, she has produced no value or initiative in this issue nor shown that she cares about one of Sweden's renowned companies. If anything she has been obstructive. It is irrelevant whether they are publicly or prviately owned, such is the importance of the brand to Sweden as a nation.

I hope that concerted pressure will force her to walk the plank and do all of Sweden a favour.
18:50 November 27, 2009 by Nemesis
@ anticommie

Workers have rights for good reason. In Europe all workers have rights, as it should be.

Slavery is illegal in Europe. You may personally find slavery being illegal strange, but in Europe it is illegal and normal to see slavery as wrong.

As I said previously, if you don't like the Swedish way of wokring, go elsewhere. There is obviously nothing in Sweden for you.

If you are against workers rights I suggest you move to a country such as Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, Quatar, USA, Somalia, North Korea or Kuwait, were you will find people with a similar outlook to you.

In my previous message you will find good instructions for leaving Sweden.
19:08 November 27, 2009 by JoeSwede
It's sad that 20,000 people might loose their jobs and for some that will be the whole family income.

The difficult equation is that Japan, Korea and quickly China will be able to produce cars that are cheaper yet as well put togehter as SAAB.

In many ways, this issue is bigger than Saab. Saab is the canary in the mine. Sweden is going to become a service oriented economy very quickly. Restaurants, programmers, and fashion designers will be the result. The middle class will shrink.

With strong unions and a heathy democracy, this means that the poor will continue to demand middle class benefits. This will work for a while...then the Krona will suffer. Of course this will occur accross many other western nations as well.
19:12 November 27, 2009 by Great Scott
@ dogbasket

I must say what a load of short sighted waffle. SAAB doesn't need a penny from the government, they only ask for the European loan guarantee from the government. The tax payers will cough up more if SAAB closes, this would be totally irresponsible of a government to allow this to happen.

It is a government's job to create and maintain employment.

As for a prudent government, well aren't all conservative governments prudent, with the people yea, but not with themselves.

As already pointed out SAAB would have closed in the 80's if GM had not bailed them out, I do know that Ford looked at SAAB's books at the time and didn't go any further.
19:16 November 27, 2009 by Nemesis
@ JoeSwede

Democracy does not lead to poverty. Does Cuba and Iran have a healthy middle class in your eyes, due to them not being democratic?

Japan can no longer produce cars cheaper than Sweden. Korea will also be the same soon.

The Reason SAAB is not doing well is because the USA model of greed first with no long term planning does not work. A good example of that is the recent financial crisis.

Healthy democracy creates wealth.
19:19 November 27, 2009 by Gwrhyr
Maud Olofsson has single-handedly led her party into oblivion. It will be ages before Centerpartiet recovers. The only way Centerpartiet will take part in another coalition within the next two election periods is if SD grows and C is needed to keep it out of power. Hardly a sound footing for a party that previously had the potential to attract a lot more voters due to voter dissatisfaction with the other parties. Maud Olofsson's vision of being Center means not doing much at all. Just hanging out, just being there.

Let's face it, Sweden needs strong ideological governance. It relied on that to bring its citizens out of agrarian poverty and into the world's highest living standards within two generations. And Olofsson shows how lack of vision results in Sweden sinking like MS Estonia.

The Alliance government has failed its own voters by ruling in such a lackluster way. They simply did not figure out a way to integrate their ideals with the reality of Sweden today... it's as if they have had no plan, no actual map of how they can integrate their ideals into the Swedish model without causing voter backlash and without breaking the Swedish model. They simply decided to sit in their offices and respond to each new situation as if it wasn't related to anything else within Swedish society or history. A fatal mistake which will cost them re-election in 2010.
19:22 November 27, 2009 by Nemesis
@ Gwrhyr

Well written with good points.
22:22 November 27, 2009 by Rick Methven
Until GM got 100% control and was able to implement their usual "cheap and nasty with built in obsolescence" philosophy, SAAB was an leading automobile innovator that other manufacturers where left playing catch up.

Just some of the SAAB innovations that Godam awful Motors wanted and got its asset stripping hands on

1958: Safety Belts as standard

1963: Dual Brake Circuits

1969: Headlamps switch off with ignition

1970: Headlights wash and wipe

1971: Energy Absorbing Bumpers

1971: Electrically Heated Seats

1972: Side Impact Protection

1976: 3-Way Catalyst Converter

1976: Turbocharger

1978: Collapsible Steering Column

1978: Cabin Air Filter

1980: APC

1982: Asbestos-free Brake Pads

1985: Direct Ignition

1991: CFC Free Air Conditioning

1995: Ecopower

1997: Electronic Brake Force Distribution

During the 90's with GM as a 50% owner, the innovations coming out of SAAB slowed down. Since 2000 with 100% Godam awful Motors in charge the innovations have largely disappeared and more environmentally friendly and fuel efficient engine research has been stopped. The technological flair is still there, it just needs an owner with the vision to enable SAAB cars to be a world leader again. The governments hands off stance is playing into the hands of GM who will close down SAAB and walk away with stolen innovations.

GM saya that SAAB made a loss. They actually maade aprofit on European sales. But all the money from US sales went straight into GM US while the production cost was levied on SAAB Sweden.

A typical bit of crooked accounting by GM
22:29 November 27, 2009 by livinginsweden
Just wondering .. If a Japanese or Chinese car company has done what GM has done to Saab, would anyone be calling for a boycott of all Japanese or Chinese good?

Or boycott the import or purchase of all cars made by those Japanese or Chinese car company...

Should we boycott all GM products?

ha ha
23:49 November 27, 2009 by m8surf
@ nemesis - You seem a little too hyped up to me. I suggest you learn something about business before making such stark comments. Of course GM has the patents. That is what happens when companies join - secrets are revealed. It does suck what happened to SAAB. But that is an unfortunate side effect of the business world. NOTHING would make a profit if no product or company never flops. It's a very rare company that can sustain itself for more than several generations. SAAB has had problems with sales b-c they are expensive. But not quite as top-quality and luxurious and BMW and Mercedes. They don't have the same air of superiority yet cost similarly. They lack a solid niche. A small company like that that does not have a solid target market is doomed anyway. And if they were truly kicking ass and taking names before GM bought them, why did they sell to GM? Yes GM has its faults and is a shitty car company. But you have to stop trying to find an American scape goat to put all the blame onto. For Saab who is closer to the luxery car market to join up with cheap-o GM was SAAB's stupidity. Also, at the same time that GM bought SAAB with the idea to market it as a luxury car, Honda, Nissan, and Toyota all came out with their own luxury car editions. Much cheaper! Every day, somewhere in the world, a company goes down b-c another one does better. It's how business works.
00:03 November 28, 2009 by Baned
I'm just wondering why in hell would anyone cut-and-paste a list of old car innovations that every car now has had for years!? "Asbestos-free Brake Pads" ... "Electrically Heated Seats" ... yes that technology was advanced for it's time and SAAB should be credited but why go on and on about old innovations that are standard in all car models today?

I love my SAAB and I'm saddened by its outcome but aren't some of you stretching a bit far with your blame? In the end, a business exists to make money. There are many reasons businesses fail, and there are far too many good businesses failing in these hard times, SAAB is just one of them.
01:06 November 28, 2009 by anticommie
The swedes cant run a business, sale it to GM because no body else would buy the junk. Now somehow its all GMs fault. LMAO socialist are pretty stupid.

Why dont all you anti-capitalist pool your money and buy this company?

Oh thats right because most in sweden are on welfare and have no drive to excel. They just lay around mommies house and whine on blogs all day how their laziness is some capitalist fault.
02:57 November 28, 2009 by JoeSwede

"Healthy democracy creates wealth." Well stated.

I hope Sweden will debate the larger implications of Saab and Volvo's troubles and through the democratic process enable policies that will push the Swedish economy forward. These policies might be public initiated or private (with public support).

My point was that as Sweden de-industrializes (with the collapse of Saab & Volvo)...the middle class might shrink and democracy will be run by a larger and larger group of poor. I can't predict what the outcome will be. I can't even say for sure that as Sweden de-industrializes that it will lead to greater poverty. This is a fascinating future...

I would hope that Sweden could keep some of its industry. I'm on the side that thinks that it is ulimatley good for industry to stay so that we can live to fight another day... once we're out, then that whole segment will be out of reach to us.

Any brilliant Economic minds out there that can enlighten us?

Is Sweden sui generis? A special, unique country that can successed where others are failing?
04:10 November 28, 2009 by falcon
Support the Wyoming Group!

Maud - YOU represent the people. They are hurting and scared tonight and you dare to turn your back on them? What kind of person thinks like this? A bit of help could save thousands of families? What hardened you and Frederik so?

Support the Wyoming Group!
04:24 November 28, 2009 by GefleFrequentFlyer
Comeon Olofsson.

You are turning your back on all those precious union jobs that the swedish goverment is expected to protect and fight for tooth and nail!
12:08 November 28, 2009 by livinginsweden
Its funny if the life of so many families are not at stake. I understand how those families are feeling. I wish them luck. However .....

We used to hear western democracies and capitalism condemning communist countries for using state money to support their inefficient and outdated industries.

Now we hear everyday ,,, from the US to UK to Sweden, calls for government to pump tax payer money into failed companies.

ha ha
13:37 November 28, 2009 by spy
The Swedish government has been shamed into getting on a plane and going to Detroit to represent its people. This is excellent news but this needs to be more than a token effort they need to push GM for a solution that is good for Sweden. It seems that this group, Merbanco, from Wyoming, could step in where Koenigsegg left off. Very interesting times. . .
14:18 November 28, 2009 by CanadianCoder
I don't think its a good idea at all for Sweden to help pay or find a buyer for SAAB.

Someone earlier mentioned that it is the government's job to make sure that people have jobs. But it really isn't and in fact the more the gov't tries to do the worse they'll make it. Markets always work best with minimal intervention and regulation.

Part of the problem of Sweden's recession right now is the union's arbitrary wage prices. As soon as wages are set arbitrarily above current market value you start to see an economic recession. And lets not forget that over the past few decades this country has gone through a number of them, and will continue to do so as long as they stick to this formula.

It does suck that a lot of people will lose their jobs, but hey, thats business. If the company is so screwed that no other companies in the world want them, they probably aren't worth saving anyway. Hopefully someone new will come in and take whatever market share is left over.
16:29 November 28, 2009 by Flying Scotsman
There comes a time when we need to cut our losses and consider the enevitable is going to happen, SAAB is gone.

No government should be held to ransom by a company. If the operations of this company are unprofitable and there are no buyers, then it needs accept that change comes with time, sometimes for the good and other times for the worst. I understand that there is a lot of feelings and connection with the Swedish society towards a strong brand name, and GM will try and use this to their benefit if allowed to. Maud Olofsson has made the right decision, government funds should never be used for backing large companies that consistently fail.

My questions is simple, show me a businessman that would purchase a company that has not made a profit in 20 years, and here you will find an IDIOT!
17:37 November 28, 2009 by Renfeh Hguh
The only sensible option for SAAB to remain "alive" is for one of the Chinese car makers to take it over. Maintaining an manufacturing base in Sweden for SAAB in the future will be a low priority however. SAAB is perfect for a faceless Chinese manufacturer to have instant brand recognition.

I think a cashed up Chinese car maker will buy it and strip SAAB down to one model, sinking money in to that model and push it upmarket with the idea to sell low volumes. This will maintain the SAAB name in the world market.

The real money and motivation behind the purchase will be the ability of them to put a known brand name on the front of their locally sold cars. To give the Chinese SAABs some credibility at home, they have the SAAB Swedish based design and engineering group (rebuilt from scratch if necessary) developing a range of "upmarket" Chinese built SAAB's for middle class Chinese who want something better than "Geely" or similar on the badge of their new car.

If they can get it right, they will be able to sell Chinese SAAB's around the world eventually.
18:58 November 28, 2009 by spy
Some great armchair analysts. . .

Sweden's wages are actually on average 30% cheaper than many other countries in Europe (for example Germany).

The Swedish governemnt should not be held to ransom but it SHOULD at least pay an interest in its industry and its citizens. Take example from other European countries who use political influence ie Germany, Belgium and now even the UK to get a fair deal for their voters.

At the moment Saab is in a precarious position but it does have new models waiting to go and some parties willing to invest. .
20:03 November 28, 2009 by Ben Mowbray
The problem with an American company running a European auto industry is that Europe does not need big American style cars designed to commute the 100 km trip to the super-mega-shopping complex that guzzle fuel (because it's a fraction of the cost it is in Europe in the US).

SAAB has been run this way, as if the consumer has similar needs, but with the fuel the price it is, and the majority of us in Sweden only needing to make a 10-20 km daily commute, SAAB's extant models do not fit the bill of what's needed over here.

That, combined with GM's resistance to changes in effeciency and environmentally friendly technologies has led to SAAB's downfall. It may have been doing badly before GM bought in, but GM must still answer for its poor performance in the end. That's also a part of doing business.
20:08 November 28, 2009 by CanadianCoder
It doesn't matter if sweden's wages are 30% lower or higher than the average for europe. All that matters is that the wages are kept at an artificial rate, rather than dictated by the market need itself.
20:19 November 28, 2009 by spy

That is an inane comment! All civilised countries have wage agreements - have you ever heard of minimum wage??? And if it is 30% less in Sweden then what has this got to do with anything???
00:23 November 29, 2009 by Flying Scotsman

Why do you consider that the Swedish government should contribute towards a failing motor industry, which has declined since the Japanese consistently are able to manufacture vehicles that are highly profitable, reliable and better quality.

You are also clearly ill-informed, because the cost for a company employing staff in Sweden is yearly salary plus 50%.

If you also did some homework you would find that Sweden has devalued their currency three times in the past twenty-five years, and this gives Sweden a competitive advantage over other countries (cheaper costs) in relation to foreign direct investment.

And yes, SAAB have some new models in the pipeline, but the question you might need to consider first is that they have a huge stockpile (over 100,000) of vehicles that have not yet been sold, and who would even consider buying one when the new and used car market for SAAB's is going to fall like a lead ballon.

It seems your a great armchair analyst with your theories.
04:22 November 29, 2009 by GLO
My Swedish Brothers..Why debate 20 years of a failed company. I sugest you do everything to find a new owner..Who cares what the Deal is if you get a new company. Forget the past, you cant sell the past....Here in the US our Car industry is in free fall. Except for Ford.. Hope they make it.Seems to me you have weak leadership in Govt. Need to fix that. You have Good people, Great Ideas, Wealth, spend your time on fixing the problem.. Stop crying about it. Good Luck Sweden...
08:10 November 29, 2009 by wenddiver
The price of the car will have to come down, the comfort level go up, the price to repair go down, you are going to have to foece your government to bail out SAAB. Your going to have to hold SAAB accountable. Managers who don't make a profit will have to be fired........
09:34 November 29, 2009 by spy
Porridge brain

Who said anything about the government contributing financially? What I said was that they should start representing their industry and citizens in the same way that other countries governments are doing right now. It seems after great media pressure that is what they are now going to do and we will see them fly to Detroit on Monday. Let's be clear I am not hailing for financial support but a bit of competent country management. On the wages point - the cost blue collar wages in the auto industry ore 30% cheaper in Sweden than in Germany. Also according to recent media reports Saab's stock has been drastically diminished due to a slowdown in factory production.


I agree. And the argument of 20 years of losses does not always hold water. Not all of Saab's revenue streams were declared in Sweden (sales in the US, engine tech and research etc) this was obviously done for tax reasons and we must remember that Saab was/is part of a big group and so decisions were made for the best for the group and not just one company.

The problem with giant car company running a boutique car company was described by a former Jaguar CEO, it was something like this: "it's like an elephant trying to go to bed with a mouse - the mouse is going to get squashed and the elephant wont have much fun either."
13:05 November 29, 2009 by Flying Scotsman

Can you give me some example's of what you think other governments have done to assist their industry and citizens, but only in relation to the ailing automobile industry, that would be interesting to read.

Don't listen to the media reports on what SAAB's current stock level is, it could be night and day from what they say. And factory production was scaled down not because of overproduction, but because they needed to reduce labour working hours to save money on salaries, a company's largest expense.

SAAB has also been run with a decentralised structure.
13:08 November 29, 2009 by Rick Methven

You obviously know jack sh*t about SAAB cars.

Classic SAAB cars (Before the interference of GM) where reasonably priced for the class of car . I have owned 11 SAAB's and driven some 1,200,000 kilometres (700,000 miles) in those cars and NEVER had one break down on me. The annual service cost has always been reasonable.

As far as comfort is concerned, SAAB used to put seats made Recaro ( the Aircraft crew seat maker). The seats are so well made and ergonomically designed, that you can drive for a long time and not get fatigue. The seats in my current 9-5 Aero are not as good as in my other car - a 1996 9000 Aero because GM in a typical cost cutting move changed to a standard cheaper GM seat. Thank the lord that the 9-5 still uses the same SAAB designed and built 2.3 litre engine.

As far as profits are concerned. GM, to avoid Swedish taxes, has run SAAB as a tax saving concern, piling the costs on to SAAB in Sweden while taking ALL the revenue from North American sales into the GM US coffers. SAAB has in most years made a profit on European sales. The losses that it has posted arose because they where effectively giving away every car sold in the US!!

"Managers who don't make a profit will have to be fired........" - Good idea Fire the whole of GM
13:59 November 29, 2009 by Nemesis
@ Rick Methven

Well put.

It is GM's US management who have screwed up SAAB.

SAAB needs to be brought back to Sweden, to save it.
14:51 November 29, 2009 by spy
Rick Methven


And the least the Swedish government can do is fight for it to be given a fair chance like: Germany, Belgium and the UK have with Opel in recent months. . . There are a few examples for you Scotty.
15:13 November 29, 2009 by Flying Scotsman

I think your reasoning is poor, given the above is nothing more than speculation, and where in Ricks comments does it say anything regarding government support for the automobile industry and its citizens.
15:21 November 29, 2009 by Flying Scotsman

Also Vauxhall in the UK is kept a going concern only for political votes, nothing more. It is heavily subsidised and supported by the government. Although in Germany, the largest exporter in the world, they specialise in production technology techniques and are well know for being efficient
15:43 November 29, 2009 by spy
Flying Scotsman

I am not sure where you are getting your information from but you are wrong again! Planning and physical work is in advanced stages to set up production for Opel/vauxhall's next small car in the UK (at a plant called Ellsemere port) and due to the state of the pound it is far cheaper to build it there than in Germany. Vauxhall is not kept open for political votes as was shown when it had a giant cull in Luton a number of years ago which you would know if you had any idea of what you were talking about. And whilst you mention unions - actually the union strength Germany wins hands down over most countries which can be seen as a good or bad thing. . .
16:50 November 29, 2009 by Go Saab
Support for SAAB from Malaysia.

Your government needs to be fixed quickly as I don't see any leadership in taking Sweden forward.

Go and read saabsunited.com then you'll realise the special spot that SAAB has all over the World.

I am going forward with my planned purchase of my 2nd Saab next week whatever the outcome.

Yes to SAAB, Yes to Trollhatan, Yes to Merbanco, and Yessss... to CJ.

Cowboy Up........
08:23 November 30, 2009 by Da Goat
why should we pay big business to screw with us

we should crash the big players not prop them up (pun not intended)

crash GM dead and simply sell the assembly line to the highest bidder or better still the workers just take it over!

as Nemesis says rightly GM have got there money/patents etc out why do they need to be paid out as well !

I say crash the big bastards and start fresh as sooner or later they will fall over ,anyhow less hurt in a controlled crash!

america is bankrupt cut the ties before you sink with her.

good news when the US goes bust you can buy SAAB for a song!
11:00 November 30, 2009 by Flying Scotsman

Vauxhall currently employs 1,458 people at its Luton plant and 2,166 people at its Ellesmere Port plant.

Production will be increased as the Corsa is the UKs best selling small car, Vauxhall has the largest market share of cars in the UK. Yes, the pound is low which makes it cheaper in the sort run for production, but what will happen in the long run when we see the pound rally in mid 2010.

Unions and the UK Government are determined Ellesmere Port should be the home of the Ampera, given its status as the most efficient of General Motors' European sites and the prospect of more significant Government subsidies.
19:04 November 30, 2009 by spy
Yes that was my point. Thank you.
18:41 December 2, 2009 by Great Scott
Please all you people quoting figures, please go to


You will then see that maybe you are not so correct.

Ford is the number 1 seller in the UK and they also have the top selling model.
Today's headlines
Will Swedes soon be looking for fairtrade porn?
Should Swedes think fairtrade with porn? Photo: Karin Malmhav/SvD/TT

A fairtrade attitude to pornography would be beneficial, Sweden's health minister told The Local.

Presented by Stockholm University
Nordic fashion in focus at Stockholm University
Simon Paulin/imagebank.sweden.se

Nordic fashion took centre stage in the Swedish capital last week as Stockholm University hosted the “first-ever” academic conference looking at luxury and sustainability in the fashion industry.

Referee, coach and parents in Swedish youth football fight
File photo of a referee holding a red card not related to the story. Photo: Stefan Jerrevång/TT

A football dad broke his leg in the brawl in front of 11-year-old kids after a Hammarby youth football game.

Swedish PM visits Iraq for talks on Isis
Stefan Löfven (left) and Haider al-Abadi (right). Photo: Henrik Montgomery/TT

Stefan Löfven will discuss the offensive on Mosul with Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi.

Illicit abattoir kept more than 100 bulls' penises
A couple of young bulls not related to the story. Photo: Jonas Ekströmer/TT

Dried cattle genitalia, goats' heads and hundreds of litres of lard were just a few of the many strange finds discovered when police raided a property in Sweden.

This is officially Sweden's most beautiful beard
The most beautiful beard in Sweden. Photo: Memo Göcek

According to a jury of barbers and 'well known bearded profiles', that is.

Presented by Invest Stockholm
One expat's strategy for making friends in Stockholm

You might think it’s hard to make friends in a new city. But if at first you don’t succeed – try something else!

Injured Swedish photographer protected by 'guardian angel'
Swedish photographer Paul Hansen on another occasion. Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT

Photographer Paul Hansen thanked his lucky stars for surviving sniper fire while covering the battle for the Isis-held city of Mosul in Iraq.

How Sweden is trying to smooth relations with Saudis
Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven meeting Saudi Arabia's Trade Minister Majid bin Abdullah Al Qasabi. Photo: Henrik Montgomery/TT

Sweden's Prime Minister Stefan Löfven has visited Saudi Arabia a year and a half after relations turned frosty in a major diplomatic row.

My Swedish Career
'Swedish people love it, but they find it quite odd'
Scottish entrepreneur William Macdonald. Photo: Michael Campanella

Meet the web developer and entrepreneur using traditional Scottish ceilidh dancing to break the ice with Swedes.

Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
People-watching: October 21st-23rd
Sponsored Article
This is Malmö: Football capital of Sweden
Fury at plans that 'threaten the IB's survival' in Sweden
Analysis & Opinion
Are we just going to let half the country die?
Blog updates

6 October

10 useful hjälpverb (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hej! I think the so-called “hjalpverb” (auxiliary verbs in English) are a good way to get…" READ »


8 July

Editor’s blog, July 8th (The Local Sweden) »

"Hej readers, It has, as always, been a bizarre, serious and hilarious week in Sweden. You…" READ »

Sponsored Article
Where is the Swedish music industry heading?
Angry elk chases Swede up a lamp post
Sponsored Article
Why you should 'grab a chair' on Stockholm's tech scene
The Local Voices
'Alienation in Sweden feels better: I find myself a stranger among scores of aliens'
People-watching: October 20th
The Local Voices
A layover at Qatar airport brought this Swedish-Kenyan couple together - now they're heading for marriage
Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
Swede punches clown that scared his grandmother
Sponsored Article
Swedish for programmers: 'It changed my life'
Fans throw flares and enter pitch in Swedish football riot
Could Swedish blood test solve 'Making a Murderer'?
Sponsored Article
Top 7 tips to help you learn Swedish
Property of the week: Linnéstaden, Gothenburg
Sponsored Article
‘Extremism can't be defeated on the battlefield alone’
Swedish school to build gender neutral changing room
People-watching: October 14th-16th
Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
Man in Sweden assaulted by clowns with broken bottle
Sponsored Article
Why you should 'grab a chair' on Stockholm's tech scene
Nobel Prize 2016: Literature
Sponsored Article
Where is the Swedish music industry heading?
Watch the man who discovered Bob Dylan react to his Nobel Prize win
Sponsored Article
One expat's strategy for making friends in Stockholm
Record numbers emigrating from Sweden
Sponsored Article
Nordic fashion in focus at Stockholm University
People-watching: October 12th
The Local Voices
'Swedish startups should embrace newcomers' talents - there's nothing to fear'
How far right are the Sweden Democrats?
Property of the week: Triangeln, Malmö
Sweden unveils Europe's first elk hut
People-watching: October 7th-9th
The Local Voices
Syria's White Helmets: The Nobel Peace Prize would have meant a lot, but pulling a child from rubble is the greatest reward
Missing rune stone turns up in Sweden
Nobel Prize 2016: Chemistry
jobs available