Swedish Minister Maud Olofsson “At Odds With Saab”

Posted on 17. Feb, 2009 by in 2000-2009

Sweden’s SVT now reports that the Industry Minister Maud Olofsson as well as the Prime Minster, Fredrik Reinfeldt say that the government is not responsible for ensuring Saab Automobile’s success. Let’s keep in mind, it was Maud Oloffson who introduced the Swedish Government’s financial support plan back on December 11th, 2008.

Furthermore, and this is where I am franky flat out surprised to hear, Olofsson states that “GM has no idea on how to develop their company (Saab), to become sustainable. While I am not surprised to hear that GM has no idea, (when did they ever have a clue?), I am surprised that the Saab section of this plan may not indicate any focus on sustainability (this worries me, and I hope it’s not entirely true).

The terms of the loans for the European Investment Bank as I indicated last week, specifically required the outline of sustainability plans, opposed to the loan for the Swedish Government that only required that the company show its Swedish base and operations almost entirely taking place in Sweden.

So, if the Saab version of the plan does not show adequate sustainability, why is this the case? Was the plan written by American’s with GM for Saab Automobile or was it written by Swede’s from Saab Automobile and added to the overall GM business plan or a little of both?

I am very surprised to hear Maud Olofsson’s position here, in fact, it is absolutely surprising, given Saab’s ethos, culture, Swedish progressive focus on sustainability, etc. So my question here is now, what in the Saab section of the GM Business plan, was not sustainable? If the report calls for more gas driven engines for the next 10 years, I would understand her thinking, but if it talked and showed literal projects to be built that are hybrids and fully electric vehicles in the near term that would turn a profit, then I would be surprised by Olofsson’s response.

Secondly, why does Maud Oloffson and Fredrik Reinfeldt also believe that it is not the Government’s responsibility to take care of Saab Automobile? I guess I feel like I am almost having a double standard here myself now, feeling like I disagree with their position in Sweden because I like the Saab Automobile brand, but I also feel that here in the United States, it’s not the taxpayers responsibility to bail out General Motors. To support my first statement about Saab Automobile, I find the Swedish government’s position kind of ironic today like I mentioned back in November with an article that I wrote that was published by Sweden’s The Local on nationalization. I still think that the Swedish Government has an economic responsibility to their people, much like they did back in 1947 continuing their economy security through branching out and transition their SAAB military aircraft business to a SAAB automotive business. Today, another economic opportunity is present and I believe it is the Swedish Government’s responsibility to once again. The Swedish Government needs to step up to the plate and offer financial support to transition their Saab Automobile business to an independent and fully sustainable business, in order to meet the economic security needs of the country.

I hope we can get a chance to see all of the details tomorrow in hopefully a positive outcome for Saab Automobile AB.

Here is the report below to augment the video (in Swedish) above from SVT.

According to Industry Minister Maud Olofsson (C), it is quite impossible that the government go in and buy the ailing Saab from biljätten GM. The odds-on Saab is not very good, “says Olofsson.

-They have no ideas on how to develop their companies to get profitability. It makes us worried, and it surprises us, “said Maud Olofsson to SVT’s Rapport.

While quoting TV4 news several sources within the Cabinet Office which states that the government is now prepared to let Saab go bankrupt.

According nyhetskanalen.se be sources confirm that the government is not willing to do anything to avoid bankruptcy for Saab. It is important for the Government should be to ensure that taxpayers’ money not at risk, rather Saab may go bankrupt.

Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt says to TV4 news that it has to be really sure if the state would lend money to Saab.

Both Reinfeldt and Olofsson has made statements that it is now up to GM to decide what to do with Saab.

Metall union representatives say it is irresponsible of the government to argue that the only GM to solve the Saab’s problem

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