Saab Has No Shortage of Potential Buyers

By Brendan Moore

04.06.2009

saab-logo1967-1974-small1Some interesting news came out of Saab’s court proceedings in Vanersborg, Sweden this morning.

First, the Swedish court gave Saab an extension for restructuring until May 20, since no creditors of Saab had entered reservations against Saab’s restructuring plan. Saab plans to write off 75% of its non-prioritized debt, and if any of the approximately 1300 creditors that showed up for today’s hearing had objected, Saab would have been pushed into bankruptcy very quickly.

Second, a court-appointed trustee told the court that around 20 companies are interested in bidding for Saab at this point. The chatter in the industry is that at least two of the larger Chinese automakers are interested, as well as several Swedish industrial concerns, and, of course, several other unidentified companies.

All of this activity was initiated by a staggering GM recently stating that they would cut Saab loose by January 1, 2010. This, after 20 years of partnering/ownership – a period which many fans of the Swedish marque feel was disastrous for Saab.

Third, Saab is taking steps now to make their break-even point only 130,000 vehicles produced annually and then subsequently sold worldwide. Saab feels it can be quite profitable at 150,000 units, forecast to happen in 2011.

Saab reckons they need around one billion dollars (USD) of capital financing to stay afloat while they’re losing money and developing new models. They believe they can get $400 million from its former parent, GM, also its biggest creditor, in the form of debt write-offs and production assets it will give to Saab at no cost. The balance of $600 million will come from the European Investment Bank.

COPYRIGHT Autosavant – All Rights Reserved

Author: Brendan Moore

Brendan Moore is a Principal Consultant with Cedar Point Consulting , a management consulting practice based in the Washington, DC area. He also manages Autosavant Consulting, a separate practice within Cedar Point Consulting. where he advises businesses connected to the auto industry. Cedar Point Consulting can be found at http://www.cedarpointconsulting.com.

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10 Comments

  1. Saab has had basically the same lineup ever since GM gobbled up the struggling brand. Even then, Saab was on the brink of death anyways so I don’t think that GM actually killed the brand, other than to prolong its suffering. They didn’t give them a bigger budget or anything of the like sure, other than warmed over rebadges but at least Saab could have done something for themselves other than marketing themselves with that tacky as hell “Born from Jets” campaign.

    Other than being quirky and safe, why would anyone have anything at all to do with Saab? Volvo’s already up on the chopping block and unless Saab is asking for mere pennies, which I highly doubt, they’re selling on quirkiness alone. And what the hell is that supposed to even mean? “Own one and you’ll know” is the wrong mentality as there isn’t even an interest amongst the buying public, the core market I’m sure (what else could it be), other than showing everyone you couldn’t quite afford that nice BMW or Mercedes. But then that’s not what Saab is supposed to be about now is it? Saab needs to establish itself as SOMETHING to be even worth considering.

    A cash injection seems like the LAST thing they need as they haven’t had anything in the works for a long time…

  2. 20 buyers for Saab? I don’t believe it. Saab has been a big failure for a long time. 20 buyers when the auto market has collapsed? No way.

  3. You haters have obviously not driven a Saab anywhere between 40-80mph.

    You forget also that the next-gen 9-5 and 9-3 are all lined up and ready to go, and whoever buys the company gets access to some fantastic GM architecture and technology.

  4. @ booooooooo

    It’s not so much being “haters” per say, it’s more like being honest. The so-called having incredible “thrust” being able to pass a Lamborghini of yester year in 4th gear. Woo-hoo. Or did you mean the tree-wrapping Viggen? The 9-3 and 9-5 have been in development for what seems like forever so forgive me if I’m approaching this with skepticism…

    Again, I’m not buying this “quirkiness” quality of Saab, as I think it’s the only thing that’s worth mentioning about Saab. And maybe I never will. Problem is, I don’t think anyone looking for car would appreciate the gimmicky technologies (Night mode display, center ignition, and so forth) Saab has to offer. Sure, you might bring up the advantages of having them but really, how easily can you convince someone that they’re worth having? Saab hasn’t made money in 20 or so years and only the Chinese would be interested in having a foot in the door for the US market.

  5. Chinese will buy them if anyone does and it will be a sorry shell of a company just like MG now.

  6. Maybe not the Chinese, but if a European buyer steps up, Saab will return to glory days, mark my words. You read it here first.

  7. My 1999 Saab Viggen is 10 years old and can hold its own against any other vehicle on the road. Haven’t found a tree to wrap it around but have transported several trees in its hatch. Let’s see any exotic keep up with the Viggen at 155 mph carrying a Lazy-Boy recliner in the back.

  8. The problem is that Saab never was a direct competitor for Mercedes or BMW. GM thought they could go after BMW and Mercedes on the cheap while inflating Saab’s prices. Saab was always the intelligent choice in sporty European cars, never the fastest or best handling but efficient and rewarding to drive fast. Most Saab drivers would never consider either of these brands for the stereotypes they convey about their drivers. I like well equipped, safe and efficient turbo 4 cylinders. GM’s ownership has been a disaster, Saab will never be a volume car maker. That said Saab has among the highest owner loyalty and we’re here waiting to buy more cars if Saab can survive.

  9. Hey, Get Happy, you don’t believe Saab has 20 possible buyers? The news this morning is that they now have 27 buyers that have requested and received deal documents. I guess there are a lot of smart businessmen that think Saab has a great future without GM. Maybe they know something you don’t because I don’t think they’re interested in buying Saab so it can lose money.

    I just love it when people that know nothing about the auto industry or business in general make these statements that have no factual basis.

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