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Saab sold back to Swedes

Friday 24 July, 2009

Pardon me for the indulgence, but I have to write about the Swedes when they come up in the local press.  I caught this article by Ken Bensinger in the Chicago Tribune: GM secures Saab sale to Swedish carmaker

I question whether Koenigsegg Group, a small niche ultra-high performance automaker, is a great fit for Saab, but I assume this was simply a deal motivated by the Swedish government to save jobs.  Maybe they’re looking to ramp up more volume production-otherwise I don’t see the sense of it.

The quote by GM-Europe Pres. Carl-Peter Forster is somewhat specious in saying, “This is yet another significant step in the reinvention of GM & its European operations.”  More accurately, he should have said this completes the dismantling of GM in Europe, probably at fire sale prices.  I can see, when he says, “Closing this deal represents the best chance for Saab to emerge a stronger company.”  I question how much stronger it made GM, other than simply being able to get out of a losing business.

When I lived in Sweden for 6 months a number of years ago, I met with a few representatives of Saab & Scania & was surprised to find how socialistic their approach was.  They were still wary of competition & favored cooperation, which is great when you can do it.  But today, I think global hypercompetition is all the rage.  Wallowing in outdated business paradigms will only hinder competition & not allow companies & economies to move forward.  I hope the Swedes have recognized the situation all developed nations face & are figuring out how to compete with much more cost-competitive countries.

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