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'No salary cash at Saab': Muller

TT/The Local/cg · 10 Sep 2011, 09:37

Published: 10 Sep 2011 09:37 GMT+02:00

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Yesterday, Muller stated repeatedly that Saab has the cash needed for employees' wages, but that the money couldn't be paid, because of the company's debts to suppliers.

Muller told news agency TT that the cash was in a bank account, but wouldn't say where.

"I'm not going to tell you. It's not important. We could've paid the wages, and we can," said Muller to TT.

His comment provoked a strong reaction, not least from the Swedish Enforcement Authority (Kronofogdemyndigheten). The authority stated that Muller may be suspected of breaking the disclosure requirements.

Muller chose to clarify his statement on Friday evening, by posting on the Saab blog Inside Saab.

"These statements have unfortunately led to the interpretation that the funds would be available within Saab Automobile AB. However, Victor Muller reiterates that the funds to which he referred to are not and have never been within Saab


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Muller goes on to stress that Saab complies with Swedish law "in every aspect", and that the company will cooperate fully with the Enforcement Agency.

"Victor Muller regrets that his statements have been misinterpreted," concluded the statement.

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

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Your comments about this article

10:53 September 10, 2011 by B*tchslap
Sinking faster and faster. I wonder how much money Mr. Muller has made during his tenure at Swedish Automobile?
12:33 September 10, 2011 by GLO
Sorry to see end of a good company.
13:04 September 10, 2011 by SEBLOGGER
Yes, SAAB is dead for sure, to get this whole next week is impossible.

Its like wanting a mircavle, just kill off SAAB now and for good.
20:39 September 10, 2011 by Grokh
Someone is getting away with alot of money from this screw up.

If they didnt have money why did they pay the bonuses?

if they are indebted but have money why not pay the workers since without workers you cant really work it out and pay back the debts.

just mismanagement
00:44 September 11, 2011 by jack sprat
Of course they have no money to pay the workers.

These cowboys who are picking over the bones of Saab naturally deserve priority as well as their big fat bonuses for the excellent job they have done in bankrupting Saab and robbing it blind before finally laying the carcase to rest.
22:23 September 11, 2011 by Scotsaab
It's all a lot more complicated than some bloggers suggest. Saab still has a place as a small producer on a global stage. It has the engineers, the designers and the manufacturing base - it just needs to find the right financier, the right management team and a Government who believe in national industrial strength. Sadly all three of the latter are missing and without them Saab is doomed.

The potential for the product was good with the right management. The sad facts are that a combination of 20 years of mismanagement by owners who did not understand the marque, poor choices in financing packages, poor current management and constant sniping by mean-minded smarty-pants bloggers who clearly love the concept of schadenfreude, has helped bring about the destruction of a proud Swedish car maker.
00:52 September 12, 2011 by spy

The fat lady is warming up but she has yet to come on stage. There is still a chance for Saab but time is running out. I wish them luck.
02:37 September 12, 2011 by repat_xpat
Screw the suppliers, screw the investors. Pay the workers! These people need their pay. Regardless of the Swedish politics and the Swedish union screw ups, don't take it out on the little people who give it their all.

Advice to the workers: SAAB is dead, get a job that pays in the long term now. You may have to move our of beautiful Trollhattan, but you need to come to grips with the new reality.
11:06 September 12, 2011 by Twiceshy
Scotsaab do I recall correctly that one or two years ago you were ridiculing everyone who predicted this is exactly what would happen to Saab?
11:14 September 12, 2011 by hogar2010
Not sure about Scotsaab, but "spy" was doing that:

11:32 September 12, 2011 by spy
hogar2010, Twiceshy and repat_xpat

In the old link hogar 2010 supplied I predicted that Saab would indeed be sold to an investor (then Spyker) and I was right.

Also I must inform you that although Saab is very unhealthy AT THE MOMENT it is not dead. And as such there is a chance that it can be revived.

Saab still has a number of cards to play which could generate funds, one of which is the licensing of its own sought after technology.
14:21 September 12, 2011 by Scotsaab
@ Twiceshy

Yes, and I stick by what I said. Standing in the sidewings delivering brickbats is not the way to save a company like Saab. As @spy says the company is not dead, but is dogged by a dreadful attitude among some bloggers on this site that suggests they are wishing Saab's life away and are eager for the company's demise so they can say: I told you so! How sad.

The wider industry, who I'd suggest know more about Saab's position than you, are of the opinion that there is a valid reason to be upbeat about Saab. I originally asked for everyone to give Spyker the benefit of the doubt and support them - who else was in the picture with funding that satisfied global financiers and the Swedish government? That support looks very misplaced today - but hindsight is a wonderful thing. Looking positively ahead is far more difficult.

If you're so clever maybe you should put your own bid in for Saab - meanwhile I hope some way will be found to track down honest, skilled and enlightened financiers who can make Saab work and keep 3700 workers at Trollhattan and many more thousands of allied employees around the globe in a job.

Or isn't that and a once fine marque, worth saving @twiceshy?
14:34 September 12, 2011 by Twiceshy
It is not about being happy about Saab's bankruptcy. It's about realism, which was always very lacking on the Saab optimists side. The company was selling a really low amount of cars and there was no evidence that it would be saved by a company like Spyker which has its own big problems. Kicking the can down the road and delaying bankruptcy was the only thing they accomplished.

The 3700 workers would have been better served if Saab had gone under sooner. They could have invested these years in training for a job with a future instead of putting time into a dead-end job.
17:49 September 12, 2011 by zeulf
this is a sad day but one that SAAB in Linkoping recognized back in 1988 after loosing Skr for years. low production figures combined with poor attention to parts quality led buyers to other marques. My 99 9-3 cruise control, Ignition switch, Neutral safety switch, Fan Power module, remote opener, and SID readout have failed in the last 50k Km. it's been a great Motor otherwise.
18:55 September 12, 2011 by Scotsaab
Sorry @twiceshy, that's nonsense. You clearly don't understand big business and the motor industry. You can't just wind up a company tyhe size of Saab - and if you do without exploring the potential, you are simply destroying everything. Believe me the people behind the Saab rescue plans (not Spyker)really believed the firm could be saved, they still do. It needs what I suggested in my earlier message - but it may now be too late as we slip deeper and deeper into recession, thanks to our banking industry's global indiscretions, and the emerging perils facing the now financially stretched mighty Chinese industrial machine.

I've said it before - with the right package Saab has a future. Close it and it will never be replaced.
00:42 September 13, 2011 by zeulf
@ scott " The wider industry clearly knows more than You" --- no one with a clear business plan has scooped up SAAB and "Mean-minded smarty pants bloggers" could not and have not killed SAAB. How do You explain the mother company selling the daughter ? and why are'nt You rounding up the "Proper" team to save what seems such a dear dream to You. I feel for all the SAAB workers and dependant industrial workers. this hits home to a wider area than just Trollhatten. I'm glad we agree on the Banking industry Zeulf
09:42 September 13, 2011 by Twiceshy
But Scotsaab, you talk of the economic recession as if it was unpredictable... it wasn't. What's happening to Greece now was entirely predictable, what's happening to economies everywhere follows from this "kick the can" bailouts mentality which is pervasive in the West right now.

The economy was crappy when Saab got rescued, and almost no one expected a swift, strong recovery. This is one more reason why it was unlikely that Saab would be able to recover.
22:18 September 13, 2011 by Scotsaab

I'm not rounding them up because I do recognise the problems and in any event have been busy ensuring my own company survives in a difficult industry and recessionary period. But I am involved in the indusrtry and know something of how it ticks. As I said: Saab could have a future - many of my colleagues are of the same opionion, but like most of us, we have no access to a deep pot of money or the time to devote to something which is certainly worth saving, much as I would like to.


If the depth of this recession had been predictable it would not have happened. Greece did not start the slide as you suggest, if was predicated much sooner than that by general global economic overheating, corporate and personal greed and a belief among the majority that the good times would not end. Saab is not a cause, it is a victim, of the above. It was a good company with a once sound product. I do not think it has that same level of integrity now - but with the right level of investment, political will and a hopefully improving global economy it could have again.

To right off its chances of recovery simply because of hindsight and describing the acquisition time as one when "the economy was crappy" shows a poor grasp of economics.

Let's just say the Saab story, if the firm does finally close, will go down in business history as a lesson to everyone; as a loss to international motor heritage and an embarrassment to Sweden - especially its government who did little to protect or develop the4 3700 national jobs at real risk.
22:51 September 13, 2011 by zeulf
and the sad bit is that 3700 jobs is just the tip . tier 1 and 2 suppliers in the home country making seats, seat belts, Air bags and lots of smaller items will feel the pain too. the Gov shoulf round up an advisory board to put this right.
12:34 September 14, 2011 by Scotsaab

You're so right. If Saab goes to wall there will be many thousands ofg indirect workers around the world, not just Sweden, who will suffer. The Swedish Government have sat on their hands a liitle too much on this issue and I'd be surprised if they do not suffer a political backlash as a result of any closure. As you say, very sad.
15:55 September 14, 2011 by Twiceshy

I did not say Greece started the slide, it was just one of the many negative economic facts which was predictable.

How much do you think should have been invested in Saab, if they can't sell cars? Why should politicians spend more taxpayer money to fix a broken business? If not taxpayer money, who else other than poor companies like Spyker?

No matter how much money Sweden put into Saab, its problems wouldn't disappear. Sweden would be putting money into a black hole.
17:23 September 14, 2011 by Scotsaab
@ twiceshy

Not if the company was restructured. It's been done elsewhere. I did it with my own company.

And Saab did sell cars - British sales have been excellent and that was while they, like other other markets, were frustrated by non-supply.

There's a book in the Saab story - but it needs to be written on the facts and not excitable supposition. It seems sadly certain that Saab is headed for the scrap-heap, and the doomies will be happy to celebrate that they were proved right and those of us who genuinely feel there is a marque that could have survived will simply remember a badly-managed small manufacturer.

But here's something for you, recently I was in the company of a VW board member. He talked about his hopes of taking on a marque like Alfa Romeo under the VW Group empire and making something of a car which he conceded "would never have survived on its own". He said the "badge kudos" was worth saving - and suggest Saab was in a similar situiation.

Sadly all of this is happening in a recession where even giants like the VW Group cannot afford to invest speculatively and, as he said, the tangle of legalities surrounding the Swedish maker made it even more difficult to contemplate a takeover he felt sure would have worked as another premium badge with VWG.

So, you see, it's not quite as open and closed a case as you suggest. There are many positive points and yesterday's bad management and marketing could have been overcome - with the right, positive-minded professionals backed up by a solid financial base and industrial organisation. Like VW!
20:05 September 14, 2011 by tomas R

SAAB will survive! You will see. I hope in it.

Best regards!

tomas (driving SAAB 9000'95, Lithuania)
13:44 September 15, 2011 by Twiceshy

Instead of deriding others here as "doomies", maybe it would be wiser to ponder why the predictions of Saab's doom ultimately proved correct. I'm sure many of them were unfounded, but there were many legitimate reasons to believe Saab was highly likely to fail.

I know it must be hard for a Saab fan to see what's happening, but since we are living in lean times, economic viability is much more important than emotions we attach to one or another brand. Yes, I'm sure many people (including some in the car industry) would love to save Saab, but right now it's very hard to justify doing so.
17:29 September 15, 2011 by Scotsaab
@ twiceshy

Yes, you're probably right. But I'll keep deriding "doomies" because the "I told you so" brigade bring little to any argument.

I assume you're a fan otherwise, like me, why bother with this blog? Let's just agree that Saab was on a slippery slope from long before the day that slide turned into a ski-slope when GM took them over. GM is successful company that made some dreadful errors, but with Saab it simply did not understand the marque and had it really been clever would not have touched the Swedish car maker.

All of this changes nothing for me - I still believe with the right package production could have been saved and badly needed new models introduced. But it would have needed to have been done with a big partner, like VW. But even they no longer have investment funds to risk or squander. I'm on holiday now and have been distracted by Saab's bad news. I'd love to see it saved and prosper. I have to confess that looks as likely as wind turbines saving the planet. It's a tragedy. I'm off for a walk!
20:45 September 18, 2011 by zeulf
Sorry to tell the Wolfsburg man but Alfa already has a Big brother owner ( FIAT) which i doubt will cut it loose for VW's pleasure. Now a V-12 SAAB might be the answer to the Phaeton Factory slowdown. and i could see SAAB slotted int the VW organization but would it not be competition for the Audi unit???? one of the amazing things about SAAB was its world sales coverage
11:02 September 19, 2011 by sjuttiosjusköterskorpåsjukhuset
Saabs were nothing but expensive junk anyway. Good riddance to bad rubbish.
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