FIAT Returns After 20 Years Since Saab Purchase Attempt?

Posted on 23. Dec, 2009 by in 2000-2009

Sweden’s are reporting that Fiat is returning to the table along with Grimaldi & Jacob Wallenberg, the same people that were planning on selling Saab to FIAT back in 1989, before GM bought them.

This all feels like it was twenty years ago with the same players showing interest, but instead of the Wallenberg’s looking to sell Saab, perhaps they may be trying to help keep them alive along with FIAT?

The question here is, would Saab Automobile still welcome Fiat too? Remember in May, GM Europe were talking with FIAT!

It doesn’t look like an ideal situation, because of the corporate conglomerate idea of Fiat honestly. I do think Saab needs to be independent, not owned by a huge corporation once again.

Here’s the article. Thanks to Ted Y for sharing this with us here on Saab History today!

Googletrans of portion of above article:
Earlier on Wednesday reported to prepare a panel discussion on the future of the automobile on January 26, where among other Fiat chief will attend.

Grimaldi and Jacob Wallenberg said to have taken the initiative to the event, and when Find Grimaldi is found that the objective is much more than just organize a public panel discussion.

In fact, the idea is to get to a solution of Saab, which is that Saab could become a subcontractor to the successful car company in the world such as Fiat would be willing to let Saab produce selected models in the Saab factory.

According to Grimaldi, the Saab factory in Trollhättan and flexible production for different car models.

If Saab receives three to five such contracts from various car companies, “says Grimaldi that Saab may arise in the production volumes of 150000-200000 cars needed for Saab to become profitable.

The proposal has similarities with Peter “Poker” Wallenberg ideas for Saab’s future as wrote about in February.

It might therefore be to Marchionne come to Sweden to save Saab?

– Yes, it is presumably a tantalizing question. Right? says Grimaldi.

– You as a journalist and several other journalists will also come to the panel discussion, and it will be evident that some of you will ask.

Do you think Saab would fit into the Fiat?

– I see Saab in this way to Saab, which automakers will not survive to produce and sell 50,000 cars per year.

– But you have to check and see if Saab could be subcontracted to any success.

– There would of course Fiat, which is now so successful he is able to charge any model of Saab, the Saab can produce.

You want to advocate it?
– I’m sure this question comes up during the panel discussion.

Is it a longshot, or do you consider it to be realistic?
– Success in the automotive industry has a lot to do with volumes.

– I think it takes an annual production and sale of 150000-200000 cars to get the Saab factory profitable.

– It is fairly high volumes.

– Saab needs on the one hand to develop their product, which you might not have power and economy to continue.

– Fiat passed up his similar situation and managed to come out with something.

– For Saab’s part is necessary to ensure the ability to be a subcontractor to a number of successful European car company.

Subcontracting of what?
– Pre-assembled cars. A car model.

– Saab for example, could get the mission as a subcontractor to build three, four or five different models from various car companies.

– The Saab factory is so flexible, so that you can ask for the production of various models.

– It’s a pretty flexible factory, so you can switch from one brand to another.

– It ought to be done in a simple manner.

– Then you can reach an annual volume of 150000-200000 cars.

Panel discussion in January may in fact be a press conference where Marchionne will present such a proposal?
– I do not want to speculate in.

– But it would be very strange if the subject came up.

Have you had dialogue with Marchionne about it?
– So far we have only had a few letters.

And with Jacob Wallenberg?
– Yeah. Not about this on the Saab and so, but on the whole conference.

– He has been very active in it.

Some may argue that Wallenberg Fonts are responsible for Saab’s collapse, with the argument that releasing Saab to GM and then ignored in the Saab?
– It does not strike me that they did.

– It was a long-term takeover of Saab, which sold the first part of the Saab and then the rest to GM.

– It was a joint program we had.

– How to Wallenberg Fonts ignored Saab, I think is wrong to say.

Then it was then GM that fail Saab?
– Yeah, I do not know. I can not answer that.

– But the economic crisis has of course made the situation worse for Saab.

– It meant that there was no longer possible to keep the production as required.

– It is not just Saab, but companies around the world.

– Opel’ve had huge problems with exactly the same situation.

– Somehow need to review their costs.

– Germany’ve coped with the cost side, thanks to high volumes.

– But the GM in the U.S. of course has huge problems to keep its cost.

– Now moved course in automotive manufacturing to cheaper countries, where it is cheaper to manufacture.

Marchionne knows you personally?
– No, but I have some friends who know him, “says Grimaldi.

– And they helped me get in touch with Marchionne.

What was your view of it?
– It was the Italian ambassador, who rang me and asked if I could help organize an event that has to do with Italy – Italian products and so on.

It was against this background that it will continue to be Italian-theme next year when it becomes an exhibition of 1600-century artist Caravaggio at the National Museum in Stockholm.

– It’s one of the world’s greatest artists, and the exhibition is in memory of him.

– Then I thought, “What you really associate with Italy, in addition to good food, design, clothing and wine?” When I was asked by the ambassador.

– Surely Ferrari, Fiat and Alfa Romeo, in addition to Bianchi, of course.

– It’s what you associate with Italy.

– And then it hit me: “What the heck! Should we not be able to hit Sergio Marchionne, who is one of the automotive world’s biggest names at the moment? ”

– I do not know if you’ve read about him, but he is quite interesting.

– When they launched the Fiat 500 was the course where the greatest success ever in the automotive world.

– In just a few weeks, they sold 250,000 cars.

– And then he turned Fiat from being a bankrupt company, to become one of the leading car companies in the world.

It all started as Grimaldi thought that GM had made up to buy Fiat a few years ago.

– But when GM saw that “What the hell, we dare not go into it.”

GM would therefore withdraw the contract, and had to pay a lot of money to Fiat for it.

For the money managed to Fiat then build a strong economy, and launch new products.

– Then they took the Sergio Marchionne as the new head, and he made a total restructuring of Fiat in which they took away the top layer of the organization and was Fiat profitable.

– And right now it looks very positive out of Fiat.

– And then I thought: “Well, what stage – such a success story of course we have to learn from.”

– What if we could get here Marchionne, and get him to stand in a panel discussion, and hear a few words from him – about what he has done and how he has made his turnaround at Fiat?

– And what is it? Why Did not Saab have made it? Why have not many others did?

– It is well that it will be very interesting to hear.

Panel debate is of course planned for 3.5 hours at 11.30-15 on 26 January. Marchionne should be with all the time now and talk?
– Sub is, of course, Jacob Wallenberg with, very much as a representative for Swedish industry as the largest shareholder of Investor.

– Then bilanalytikern Christer Karlsson to be with, and SKF CEO Tom Johnstone, which is very good.

The idea is that Marchionne will make a speech, after which it will be a question and answer session, and then debate.

– And so, we hope to get the Minister Maud Olofsson, of course.

– She has been very good in these discussions with Saab and Volvo.

All may not agree with that?
– No, but I think this is unfair.

– One can of Industry and Trade did not go to an owner and instruct them to do so and so.

– An owner is an owner, but that message will arrive, they must also be open to it.

So, Maud Olofsson, Sergio Marchionne will be discussing?
– We do not know it yet. We have not had contact with Olofsson so far.

– But we should invite her.

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No Responses to “FIAT Returns After 20 Years Since Saab Purchase Attempt?”

  1. peter

    24. Dec, 2009

    An independent Saab is not feasible, and FIAT would be the best proposal so far :

    *They have demonstrated a far better understanding of branding than GM – think Ferrari, Maserati, Lancia, Alfa Romeo which are all FIAT brands. Fiat group premium cars significantly outsell GM offerings (inc Saab, Cadillac, etc) in Europe.

    *FIAT have in place the Saab elements that have been merged into GM – think IT, Purchasing, Engineering, Network, Logistics, Retail and Wholesale finance, Accounting, etc. Saab cannot function without these being fully in place.

    *Italy was one of the top 5 markets for Saab in the past

    * Saab could help FIAT in Scandinavia and US where they are either weak or absent.

    *Joint development with Lancia & Alfa could allow future “Saab” models to be produced. Realistically that is the best that can be hoped for now.

    Unfortunately, I don’t see this happening.

    *Fiat is rather busy with Chrysler !

    *Chrysler provides the required US presence

    *Saab and Lancia / Alfa may have brand values that are too similar

    *Despite some fleeting interest in Opel earlier this year, is there any bad feeling following FIAT outwitting GM over the put option ? FIAT pocketed $2billion in 2005 before emerging with higher market capitalisation than GM.

    *The benefits of adding Saab are too small to waste time on.

    Saab can now only exist in the long term as a brand name within a larger company.

    Currently, there are few options :

    * MB – still recovering from its own expansion and the Chrysler disaster. Saab would be a low cost budget line at a time where MB are trying to develop their sporting side.

    *BMW – learned their lesson with Rover, and don’t need Saab

    *VW – Despite historic ties with car and truck distribution, they just don’t need Saab

    *Peugeot/Citroen – could be interesting but they are also financially stretched

    *Renault – could be interesting but they are also financially stretched

    *Ford – could be interesting but they are also financially stretched, and certainly don’t want to repeat the Jaguar/Land Rover/Volvo debacle

    *Japanese – Saab would not seem to fit into their business model. They all have home grown premium brands in US.

    *Chinese ???

    *Indian ???

    I’m afraid the pursuit of Spyker as the only option is like asking a man dieing of thirst in the dessert if sparkling water would be OK.

    All very sad ?


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