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‘Turkish Saab’ would stay in Trollhättan: report

TT/Rebecca Martin · 5 Jan 2012, 08:46

Published: 05 Jan 2012 08:46 GMT+01:00

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“We are interested in the whole company, not just small components or the brand,“ said Brightwell board member Zarnier Ahmed to Swedish business paper Dagens Industri (DI).

Ahmed and Brightwell are now waiting to hear from the two official Saab bankruptcy receivers to initiate negotiations.

According to Ahmed, the company intends to continue manufacturing cars in Trollhättan, although he couldn’t say on what scale.

The company needs to know more about the structure of Saab first. It might be that some components would need to be produced somewhere else in order to save money.

Ahmed is not anticipating any problems with former owners General Motors, GM, despite the company’s objections having constituted the largest obstacle for a Chinese sale, due to their blocking of the necessary transfer of technology licences to the two Chinese firms interested.

But Zamier Ahmed says that although familiar with Saab’s long history and tradition, he is critical to how the company was run prior to the bankruptcy petition.

“By the end, the company was handled very badly,” he said,

Despite not wanting to mention any names Ahmed said that in the end the responsibility lies with CEO Victor Muller, just as it would anyone else in his position.

Story continues below…

“Mr Muller does not have a background in the car industry. To use an example: If you have heart trouble you see a heart specialist not an orthopedic surgeon,” said Ahmed to DI.

TT/Rebecca Martin (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

17:56 January 5, 2012 by ffeingo2
I hope that SAAB will continue to exist and return to its roots.

I owned a few three cylinder 93's, 96's and a 99.

With the 99 they became too complex and were designed for the yuppies.

I gave up on them when I had to remove an intake manifold to work on my water pump and when the secret mechanical fuse countershaft sheared its splines.

I am 71 years old and I am sure that there are enough of us still around who would like an updated 93
19:56 January 5, 2012 by Just_Kidding
Saab can be a good buy at the right price for a virgin market if it doesn't come with huge debt and obligations to European bank, GM and others.

By the way, the greatest mistake of GM in my opinion was not to use SAAB's capabilities as a car development center for the rest of its products (those products could have been manufactured a lot cheaper in countries other than Sweden, bringing enough cash for more development rather than losing money on cars that were to expensive to manufacture). People cared about SAAB not because Ulf or Jocke from Trollhättan did put the wheels on it, but because of Swedish engineering that went into its design. Ford and VW design their cars in Germany or US but manufacture them in Mexico or Turkey. It is a win-win game for high tech countries (like US and Germany... where they educate their folk to design things) and developing countries (like Mexico and Turkey) where there is a huge need for low skill jobs of assembly lines. In Sweden an assembly line worker's salary is almost as high as of an engineer, then why not to train him as an engineer and pay him engineer's salary and get an engineering job done instead of a simple job on assembly line.

GM just treated SAAB like a factory that had to produce cheaply and sell in high numbers and save enough money to design a new model (with engines and other parts borrowed from other GM products). Now we know that it was a huge mistake.
00:15 January 6, 2012 by InTheLou
BMW is cranking out th 3 and 5 series in China since 2008 and doubling production in 2012, Saab and GM has been fighting for survival versus learning how to deal and compete with a world economy and workforce.

I am from the USA, and Saab makes the fatal error of MSRP ing their cars at BMW and Audi pricing, but if you go in, haggle, then you get up to 5-7 grand off.

For example a 9-3 has a sticker at 32,000, but you can get one for 24-25,000.

The problem with this is, everyone pre-shops on the internet, and instead of buying a Honda, Nissan, or Toyota that is the competition at the true sale price, people go by the 3 and 5 series BMW. I have two saabs in the driveway, and have owned 3 others prior to then, they have great standard features, great safety, and fuel economy. They do depreciate a lot, but some of this is due to the MSRP problem above. I hope they make it, I love them, and I don't see another car like mine at every stop light. My four cyl. combi wagon can get 36 mpg on the highway, and one can ride in leather heated seats in comfort.
03:29 January 6, 2012 by meccano
If reports that the Turkish government is financially backing this deal in order to bring automobile production to their country are true, that doesn't seem to be a strong indication that Saab's main manufacturing facility would remain in Sweden. The statement "the company intends to continue manufacturing cars in Trollhättan, although he couldn't say on what scale" is seemingly vague but ultimately very telling.

I understand the frustrations and criticisms of General Motors. There are many cases to be made where GM has made less than prudent decisions in several areas in the past. But again, I see that the negative points to be made regarding GM are off the mark in comments here.

GM holds the largest market share in China and they continue to grow. It is estimated that it will double by 2015. They have had great success and only continue to improve their working relationship with their Chinese industrial partners and the government in China. They have been very profitable in their ventures in China while their interests in the Americas and Europe faltered.

BMW on the other hand has a mere fraction of the sales that GM has in China and has long trailed other luxury brands including Audi and Mercedes in that market. Those remarks that compared GM in China to anyone, much less BMW, and use that as evidence of GM's lack of business success in China are completely and totally inaccurate and off the mark.

Additionally, Saab was often used as an engineering and development center for other GM products throughout the world. Whatever mistakes GM made with Saab, under using their engineering and development abilities just isn't one of them. In fact, the opposite may be true. Many financial post mortem analysis of GM's ownership of Saab point to the high cost of the Swedish brand precisely because it was not well integrated enough with GM's global operations to take advantage of GM's lower costs of engineering, development & parts sharing that would have come from such a closer partnering. In short, it was Saab's low volume and high cost of development, their independence if you will, that did them in.
10:30 January 6, 2012 by spy
Well he got one thing right - Muller was proved to be completely incompetent.
14:37 January 6, 2012 by tomas R

I still believe that SAAB will survive. And it happened. It is the strong car maker. And nobody is sure that for example Mercedes or Bmw or Audi will not have problems in the future. Are You sure? I am not.

So I wish the best success to SAAB company and SAAB drivers!


Tomas from Lithuania (driving SAAB 9000'95)
18:30 January 6, 2012 by Roger O. Thornhill
New model to be named Allah Ak-CAR. ;-)
03:08 January 7, 2012 by Khaled13
@ Roger: Haha, Funny....

At least Turkish or who ever will buy SAAB will save some jobs coz the market is getting really bad those days...
03:35 January 7, 2012 by Chickybee
Sad news - I wish the new owners had managed to be in Europe.
02:07 January 9, 2012 by Escort
This sounds like clutching at straws. As others have said, Saab (and Volvo also, to some extent) have been playing out of their league by attempting to compete directly with Audi and BMW. The Germans have had a much higher level of investment over the years, and are reaping the rewards of a carefully cultivated image as well as a formidable product portfolio.

Saab and Volvo were never going to be able to compete on equal terms, and should have instead targeted VW/Ford/Honda etc. with a range of high quality, innovative and realistically priced smaller cars. I don't think a new 93 would have been a success, though. These retro cars are becoming rather passe, and trying to ape VW, Mini, Fiat, etc. is not a realistic way forward.
14:59 January 10, 2012 by Carbarrister
Meccano's comment shows significant insight and is consistent with my experience.

I hope the Brightwell off er is serious. I doubt GM would have an objection.
02:23 January 12, 2012 by Just_Kidding
Dear Turks, please note that it takes more than 3 years for Swedes to widen a 100km road and it takes 6 month for its migrationsvarket to issue a work permit that would be valid for two weeks. If you can put yourself in mercy of these wonderful fika sippers, go ahead!
20:25 January 15, 2012 by TheWatchman
Saab should go back to its Swedish roots.
17:51 January 16, 2012 by jon f
Mr Muller and shell oil company and same with theTurkish don't you think that VW and Ford or Fiat get kicks back from the big oil companies to keep us comsuning there high fuel prices as long as they confuse the comsumer and the companies everything is good no intervention or the idea of what could be? the problem!
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