A little more about that heartbreak post from yesterday

As you can now see in various places online (like here and here), some people at Saab are starting to receive letters telling them that they will cease to be employees as of [insert appropriate date].

The call that I sat in on yesterday, the one that brought me some acute heartbreak last night, was to do with that topic.

I received an email from a friend in Sweden overnight, who highlighted to me the lack of hope that that post conveyed for Saab’s future. Reading it back, I’d have to agree with him. I suppose the moment got the better of me.

Here’s part of my response to him this morning, suitable for reproducing here, too:

Perhaps I got a little too fatalistic at the end of that post. Of course, there is still hope for Saab to be sold as a whole entity and I hope that it is. I should have written that last section as being a risk of it all being lost, rather than it actually being lost.

My sadness was mainly about the fact that even if Saab is sold, the team I worked with has mostly moved on……So, maybe it’s not the end for Saab, but from a personal perspective, the bit of Saab that I worked closely with is very close to being completely disbanded.

I do, of course, retain hope that Saab can be sold as a whole unit, that we’ll still have a chance buy Saabs in the future. And yes, if that buyer came knocking on my door I’d love to talk to them about continuing to follow the journey that we started this year with Inside Saab. I still think the concept has tremendous merit.

But last night’s sadness was real and very personal, because it involved the people I’d got to know and really enjoyed working with. The hope that Saab can continue doesn’t take away the sadness that it won’t be with (mostly) the same people, nor does it temper the anger arising from the fact that we’re in this situation to begin with.

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  1. As I’m 59 now tommrow and for the forseable future I will be working on SAAB cars . I have a young fellow at the shop who has to make a change . But he is very smart he will continue to be successful in what ever he endevors in . The service and repair business is brutal to your body , however it’s rewarding in a tactile way . Thats what drove me to continue for 36 years as a professional mechanic the reward of a job well done , a happy owner ,and a test drive . My mentor passed away 3 months back he taught me to learn and to read “to fish ” I hope to pass that on . Lucky for me my tommrows will be working on SAAB cars , and sweeping the floor when I’m done

  2. Saab has, hitherto, been an exceptional company because the staff have always been so creative and fastidious in what they do. The company has been propelled forward with their admirable dynamism, and that has helped make Saab so unique and to forge the legendary customer loyalty.
    Therein lies the problem. The current bankruptcy proceedings are likely to be protracted enough to drive Saab’s former talent pool away. I earnestly wish that Saab can be saved, but I wonder if it could ever be the same beast without those who have been forced to look for work elsewhere.
    The guys at Saab have had it very tough, with no wages comming in for a while and the uncertainty that causes must place a great burden on their families. With unemployment running so high within Trollhatten, those fortunate to find alternative employment are unlikely to return to Saab should it be reprieved at the eleventh hour. I pray that a new saviour will be found for Saab before its life blood of talent drains away.

    Special emnity must go to GM for its apparent ill will to Saab. It fell silent over the proposed rescue plans, not once but twice, only to scupper them after much money and crucial time had been expended. GM was bailed out very publicly by the US tax payers, but who has raised the issue of its squandering of its 20% holding in Saab? If Saab completes the bankruptcy phase, that’s 20% of zero stock value. I am aware of the claim that it has done so to protect its intellectual property, but this might be not be successful if the assets stripping lottery begins under bankruptcy. Surely then it is in GM and US tax payers’ interest to see Saab sold as a whole entity and with time of the essence?

    If the Latin maxim, “fortunate fortis favet ” (fortune favours the brave) Saab and it’s people have that in spades. Let’s hope that fortune smiles on Trollhatten once again.

  3. Swade, So sad about yours and other employees at Saab. I can´t believe that it went from 130.000 sold cars in 2006 to bankruptcy in 2011. It´s just like you´ve written so many times. It didn´t have to happened. IMHO the uncertanty of Saabs future in 2008-9 and liquidation from GM in 2010, made the uphill so much worse than it should have been.

    It´s easy to point fingers. All my 10 are pointing towards Detroit.

  4. That’s the benefit of having a personal blog. You can post personal opinions. 😉

    But we know where it came from and do realize how much this affects you and your direct colleagues.

    I guess only a couply of bloody journalists are happy with the current status. Although the will have to find some other topic to rant at.

    Enjoy your sanding therapy 😉

  5. Having been in your shoes before, I can assure you that your anger will grow and wane in waves. That’s the nature of such things. I spent my time on the ‘dot com’ start up merry-go-round and suffered two such unceremonious bouts of unemployment. You feel betrayed. It’s difficult.

    As for GM, I’m of different mind set than others. Blaming GM is akin to blaming the executioner for the execution. Sure, he carried out the sentence, but the judge and jury condemned the executed for things done weeks or months prior. So it is with Saab. Saab ran out of money. Then the suppliers stopped production by withholding product. Then the labor unions filed for back wages. Then the government delayed reorganization. Then reorganization under Lofalk was a farce. Then Muller pinned Saab’s salvation to a Chinese competitor to GM. And GM is to blame for it all? No, I can’t accept that.

    I admire VM for all that he did, but he didn’t raise enough money to save Saab with the minimal sales that followed. That’s the deal in my opinion.

  6. I still hope that Saab can continue some way. And especially with all those people who´ve been doing Saabs so far. There has to be a way for it.

    Thank you for for inside-saab redux. It´s really worth saving. I had to browse through all those pages when I noticed that you saved them on different server and name. It was all too good to be true.. So sad.

    Btw, what did you do to your red ´91 900S?