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'Saab's future in jeopardy': auto expert

TT/The Local/dl · 7 Jan 2011, 08:50

Published: 07 Jan 2011 08:50 GMT+01:00

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“You can’t survive at these levels,” Christer Karlsson, a professor of industrial production at Copenhagen Business School in Copenhagen, told the TT news agency.

At the start of 2010, Saab leadership projected the company would sell 60,000 vehicles during the year.

But after two major downward revisions, first to 45,000 in August, and then to 30,000-35,000 in October, Saab’s final result for 2010 was 32,048 vehicles sold – in line with updated projections, but just over half of what the automaker hoped to sell at the start of the year.

According to the CEO of Saab owner Spyker Cars, Victor Muller, one of last year’s greatest challenges was replenishing inventories at dealers around the world. Another reason for the low sales figures is that deliveries didn’t ramp up to desired levels until the third quarter.

According to Karlsson, Saab’s future looks bleak and there’s no way of knowing whether the company may be viable without seeing Saab’s business plan.

“But these are sustainable sales figures in the long run. You can’t survive at these levels and Saab hasn’t even reached established goals,” he said.

“Saab is making it now thanks to selling tools and the like, but in the current structure they have no way to live to see the next generation of cars.”

Karlsson warned that Saab’s future looks uncertain at best, warning it’s only a matter time until the company meets with a day of reckoning.

Story continues below…

“In the best case, it may drag on for up to three years. But maybe two years. Saab doesn’t have the resources to develop any new generation of products; that costs several billion kronor,” said Karlsson.

TT/The Local/dl (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

09:22 January 7, 2011 by Nemesis
Hopefully SAAB can still be turned over to Konissegg and turned into a major player.
11:01 January 7, 2011 by Keith #5083
"... there's no way of knowing whether the company may be viable...".

I most respectfully suggest that there can be no expertise when there is " no way of knowing".

At best this article represents a "partially informed guestimate". Past experience cannot be applied as there is little to compare. Resources for development? A good IT/design department and cross-cooperation with other manufacturers (which is fairly normal nowadays). Folks buy a 'look' as much as they buy technology. Saab will never be a 'major player', but has a niche market it can develop further.

It was always going to be risky for Saab to survive...but,HEY, they have done so far despite all the predictions to the contrary!!!
11:42 January 7, 2011 by lux.veritas
Senior management, board and directorship of SAAB are the problem, not solution. They are overpaid, incompetent, slow, fat, have no vision or desire to fulfil their mandate. This may be surprising, but it is self-evident.

The business models of today's self-styled elite run psychopathy which pass as global minded corporations are unsustainable models. They work upon a foundation of scarcity, banking and currency legalised frauds. They seek to remove work force; while clearly removing consumer market, but I'll avoid going further into the manipulation of markets, produce and energy costs or deliberate increases in food prices by coincidence or by-product of some deliberately contrived crisis. Simply follow the money, power and unpunished crimes of mass scale.

Those who wish to truly educate themselves can do so; there is a wealth of information, so I'll cut to the chase. SAAB has no market in the small to midrange size car, hybrid, alternate composites or alternate energy source cars. In today's car manufacturing industry its business model is suicide; unless you make Ferraris. (Yes I know SAAB makes more than cars, but there is only so much comment space).

Many believe that our technological advances have never been so rapid. The crux is that for the last fifty years the most beneficial for mind, body and planet have been deliberately stagnated and alternates pushed in areas harmful. It is the tip of the iceberg that our air is not fit to breathe, water, food and even medicine is not fit to consume, but its scarcity is highly profitable (profit is not necessarily a short term revenue issue, but cornering market, acquisition, control and so forth for the future run by ill minded).

Yes for all those deluded green save the planet and kill the humans; it's another dichotomy, Hegelian dialectic to keep the weak minded going in circles and unable to see the strings of the puppet masters who are quite inhuman and insane.

Final observations:

SAAB may survive by monetary help from a rotten state that stole from the taxed. They may collapse or scrape through, by juggling, corporate and or financial trade-offs.

Never have we had so many experts and never has this human experience been in such an awful state.
12:07 January 7, 2011 by Irishmanabroad
@ Nemesis

If you want to know what Koenigsegg has planned for SAAB Automobiles, I suggest you read this;

12:24 January 7, 2011 by RobinHood
Poor SAAB; a dead man walking. It is just a matter of time. How much time depends on how long the shareholders need, to transfer and/or liquidate SAAB's valuable assets, in a way that benefit themselves the most. How long the Swedish government will allow a zombie company to trade, and how much more taxpayers' money the Swedish government will pour in to delay the innevitable.

What with an election four years away, now is a good time to pull the plug on the life support. Plenty of time for the electorate to forget, and for the employees to find jobs making things people actually want to buy.
12:43 January 7, 2011 by Boris Bier belly

Just what other products do SAAB make?
13:12 January 7, 2011 by Nemesis
@ Irishmanabroad,


Koenigsegg is not in that game.

The criminals who deliberately ran rover into the ground are nothing to do with Koenigsegg.
14:36 January 7, 2011 by organismasawhole
@lux.veritas you sound like a person I would like to have a beer with :-)
14:50 January 7, 2011 by WooDz
Normally when I see I have to register to make a comment I hit the close button. But there is so much bad feeling against SAAB in these comments that I feel compelled to reply. In publicising that SAAB's future is uncertain at best will do no more that instigate scepticism from the buying public. If you really wanted to buy a product but your friend has read that the manufacturer's future is uncertain, you will think twice about buying and probably buy something else. Have enough people doing it and the company will go bankrupt. I believe GM went a long way to injure SAAB as much as possible because they didn't want to sell the brand. They wanted to swallow it up and use what was left over as a developing department. If you're sources have been cut-off for 6 months then how on earth can you make that up, especially when your own nations press constantly kicking you down and in not so many words tell their readers not to buy your product when you're trying to get back on your feet. I really don't know what commenter lux.veritas is on but all I can say is, get a grip, there's some serious scary sh** going on in you head. Step away from the keyboard and count to 10; and you comment on fraud is damn right liable. There's 3,500 SAAB workers in Sweden, if their jobs go then Trollhättan's economy will go too. So what every Swedish person should be aware of is that riding on the back of the 3,500 workers is a complete town. Then you have the suppliers who are also intermingled with other Swedish companies. So suppliers will suffer and Sweden's other manufacturers will be hit too. So the reality is If SAAB do not succeed then Sweden runs the risk of loosing as many as 30,000 jobs and all this boils down to perception and some rich no-body who wants to blurt out saying some company's chances are unknown. Well my testicles are made of meat not crystal either. nobody can see into the future but what papers like theLocal, DI.se, etc should seriously consider is the effect they have on the Swedish economy buy printing such irrelevant tosh. Just give SAAB a chance. Stop turning every little thing in a big issue. stop putting a spin on something that's not there. Stop talking to absolute morons who state the blatant obvious and call themselves experts. We're talking about your nation's heritage here and your fellow countrymen. Ever heard the saying "you don't realise what you've got until it's gone."
16:37 January 7, 2011 by PonceDeLeon
If they only they made cars that people outside of Sweden wanted to buy. They may have had a chance at survival. Unfortunately they are only holding up the inevitable and no one outside of Sweden cares. It may be one of the best cars built today, but if no ones buying... Can you say "Saturn"?..
18:30 January 7, 2011 by marq101
@ Lux Veritas: Did you take your medicin today?
18:50 January 7, 2011 by EtoileBrilliant
No I'm not a hater but the Swedish Government should have never lent SAAB a liquidity loan. Go back and look at my comments and you'll see that I've consistently questioned the use of throwing taxpayers' good money after this poor opportunity for enterprise.

The whole affair smacks of the Phoenix groups take over of Rover cars.

Until the US market accounts for 14 million units a year, SAAB will never be able to produce profitably. My only hope is that they can get their money back and the workers can be retrained.
19:59 January 7, 2011 by Barkley Pontree
I own a 2004 95 Aero and love my Saab. But here is the problem as I see it with sales in America. A new Saab will devalue about 25 to 40% after one year. So, for example, why buy a new 2011 Saab for 40K when I can get a 2010 for around 25K? So the initial pricing of the Saab's are pricing them out of the market. A 93 at 30K cannot compete against other 30k cars in this country, I know one dealer dropped the prices to 19K in order to move out of inventory, and at that price a Saab would be a great deal compared to other 20K cars.

Hope Saab stays in business, would buy another used Saab in a heartbeat. Runs great, handles great, safe, reliable. Can't beat that combo.
20:05 January 7, 2011 by anticommie
swedish made gas burning junk- no thanks
20:49 January 7, 2011 by marq101


"No I'm not a hater but the Swedish Government should have never lent SAAB a liquidity loan. Go back and look at my comments and you'll see that I've consistently questioned the use of throwing taxpayers' good money after this poor opportunity for enterprise" unquote

In the same order that would mean that also the American car industry (like GM) never should have gotten money from the American government.......In which case there wouldn't be an American car industry anymore....and other taxpayers would have had to pay redundancy money with also the chance that a lot of those people wouldn't get a job in a long while

If you do not mind I would take the current solution anytime
21:13 January 7, 2011 by superturbo
huh, as far as I remember the Saab's loan were from the EU and not the Swedish government.... but of course, I could have missed something there.
22:48 January 7, 2011 by planethero
SAAB are doomed, because theyve sold very few cars.

8 months left max.
00:36 January 8, 2011 by Just_Kidding
The new SAAB's are difficult cars to sell. Poor people wouldn't buy them because they cost a lot (250k SEK) compared to second hand cars and the rich people (anywhere out of Sweden) buy MB, BMW or Range Rover.
00:54 January 8, 2011 by willpf
And the new 93 currently being designed looks terrible!! since the Italians were brought in....
18:41 January 8, 2011 by Swedesmith
Another saabstory.
19:51 January 8, 2011 by tomas R

One of the BEST AUTOMOBILES in the world must be saved. These automobiles are called SAAB! SAAB has very strong side in SAFETY! When people will understand really about SAFETY of the car so they will buy more SAAB cars! I understood about SAAB 9000'95 safety. I had a road accident. I am without injury. I am very THANKFUL to SAAB safety engineers! It is a big honour to fix such the car!

Best Regards to SAAB!

21:40 January 8, 2011 by Tadeyev
The most amazing thing to me i that the Swedish government did not do due diligence on this question, as V. Muller is known as a very shady character here in Holland. His company Spyker only produced about 28 cars, that were constantly recycled to fake his books. I know this because I interviewed a former employee who witnessed this for a journalist from the FT Germany. I have an employee of Spyker's quote stating that they were told to line up the cars without engines to give Moret Ernst & Young the impression of cars being produced. THey were told not to touch them for fear of damaging the lacquer. Spyker Cars is a completely fraudulent operation. If the Swedish could read Dutch papers and do better research they would find out a lot.

Because Muller has a lot of money for lawyers,and has forced all employees to sign non-disclosure agreements and now scared them shitless to come forward, the FT would not dare publish the story which was already completed last year.

Why has the Swedish press not done their homework better?

I can assure you this story here is not a crank posting, and any serious journalist can get in touch with me about it. I live in Zeewolde down the road from the factory ;-) !!
00:03 January 9, 2011 by Nemesis
When SAAB goes bankrupt, it should be handed over to Koensegsegg.

He has good patents. He is a technological nutjob.

SAAB needs outside every box to survive. Koenesegssegg can't even find the box.

At least he wants some jobs to stay in Sweden. Give him a chance.
02:30 January 9, 2011 by 2394040
People who would like to see a company fail, which would lead to people losing their livelihoods, can best be described as "the lowest of the low".
03:28 January 9, 2011 by repat_xpat
I hope for the workers at SAAB that it does not fail, but lux.veritas is correct. Its the leadership at SAAB who killed it when it was part of GM and those same leaders are running (ruining) the company today. Its a sad story.

@marq101: I don't support government bailouts of private corporations, but GM has turned out differently. 2010 was one of GM's best years in decades. Several great new products, in addition to both car of the year and truck of the year. Quality is up and cost is down. GM turned a profit last year as well. GM has proven to be an example where I was wrong. The GM bail out was the right thing to do (it hurts even more when I think Obama did it). The SAAB bailout will only be a loss of public money and the lining of the rich leaders' pockets.


GM's Buick's whip SAAB's sister products at 10K less the price, as does the Opel Insignia. This is the reason that SAAB will fail. Its best hopes are dogs that can't compete on price & quality.

12:00 January 9, 2011 by Kevin Harris

SAAB has already failed. It failed about ten years ago. What you see now is no more a car company, in the same way that my long dead grandmother, nicely embalmed and propped up at the dinner table is no more a person. It's just a charade, and all of the political, business and banking players responsible for the current situation know it's just a charade.

Left to die a natural death, the brand might have had some residual value for a future comeback, in the same way Triumph's new owners have succeeded with their brand. Sadly for SAAB, it is headed for an Enron type collapse and scandal, and the brand will be ruined, damaging Sweden and the city of Trollheten with it.

For the record, my dear old grandmother died suddenly aged 78 and was buried by her family in a churchyard in the usual way. If only the custodians of SAAB's corpse would treat it with the same dignity.

To those of you who believe SAAB really does have a future. Put you money where your money where your mouth is, and go buy five each.
17:48 January 9, 2011 by tomas R
Hello again!

I am SAAB fan. Have SAAB 9000'95. I drive this car more than four years. I had a road accident before the Christmas last year. I am without injury. I just fixed this car. And finally I do not dream about the other car. I do not know the car better than SAAB! After the road accident I understood how strong SAAB 9000 is. I understood that the SAFETY of the car is NUMBER 1 to me! To all SAAB drivers I wish the SUCCESS only!


Best regards to SAAB!

tomas (Lithuania)
20:44 January 9, 2011 by EtoileBrilliant

"huh, as far as I remember the Saab's loan were from the EU and not the Swedish government.... but of course, I could have missed something there."

You missed something. The Swedish government are the guarantor for SAAB Auto in respect of the EIB loan. The Swedish taxpayer are wearing this which ever way you cut it up.
02:07 January 10, 2011 by bezjaj
What is happening in front of our eyes, is not only the doomsday of saab, but of the western capitalism. The weapons used against us are our naiveness, stupidity and PC. The strategy is to fool the market with the use of an unfair exchange rate. the tactics is to buy our assets and know how with our own money. And if you can not buy it, steal it. When will our politicians recognise the threat from the renminbi.

The colour of our thrust in God will soon go from green to red.
23:37 January 15, 2011 by tomas R
You can see on GOOGLE VIDEO: SAAB JAS 39 GRIPPEN!!! Have you another questions???

tomas driving SAAB 9000'95 (Lithuania)
03:56 January 21, 2011 by repat_xpat
SAAB makes a great car, but not worth the price. SAAB is already being broken up into its profitable and unprofitable parts. I think its over, just a matter of time.
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