Why companies have PR people

Saab’s bankruptcy administrators, yesterday:

Saab is like a patient who for a long time has bled to death. The brutal verdict is that the patient is dead, but the bleeding has not stopped. Such a large operation dies not die on its own. It takes time and costs to shut down this kind of business.

Their point being that the company is still leaking cash, even in bankruptcy, as it takes money to go through this process and of course, Saab has no income.

The Local, today:

Saab Administrator: The Patient Is Dead

At least they had the good sense to do the press conference on a Saturday. I still expect more newspapers to run a similar headline in the coming 24 hours.

I’m as wary of spin as the next person, but there are ways of saying things, and then there are ways of saying things. The fact that The Local has snipped out this section for their headline won’t come as a surprise to anyone who has followed the news services around Saab for the last 10 months.

This is not a good headline for prospective buyers thinking of putting in bids for Saab this week.

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  1. Saab has been a PR nightmare for, what 3 years now and then the Administrators go and say stuff like this. Lawyers…
    Makes some juicy headlines for sure and this is the stuff people DO remember.

  2. I am sure the administrators thought about their words very closely and maybe even wanted these headlines. If Saab is closed, then it’s as they said. If Saab is purchased, they look like geniuses.

  3. Fire Sale in Lubbock.

    Thought you would want to know.

    To be continued. (Saab)
    Just a thought.

  4. At this point I hope the bidders are sufficiently convinced of the potential in Saab to dismiss the headlines made from the Bankruptcy Admins, but Saab does not need more damage from the bottom feeding press that thrives on depressing headlines.

    I’m not surprised that news agencies will eat up these poor word choices, and hopeful still that Saab can emerge a success from this mess.

    It is of course easy to sit back from afar and judge all that the bankruptcy admins appear to be doing wrong (speaking for myself, not you Swade), yet again I’m holding on to optimism that we are not the only ones who see the potential in Saab and await good news of Saab being saved.

    Still it does feel as though they are kicking Saab yet again, and needlessly, when it is already down.

    Griffin up!


  5. When the book of this saga is written (? Swade?) there should be a chapter working through all the unnecssary and damaging media nonsense which a range of stakeholders have engaged in throughout the last three years. Sadly this is is just one more for the pile. Why engage in hyperbole when you are just an administrator looking to work through a process and maximise outcomes? Well, that question kind of creates its own questions doesn’t it? Oh for the day when the hidden agendas’s that have torpedoed Saab see the light of day. The book Swade, write the book.

  6. Well, it’s quite easy to go and blame “the media” for misinterpreting the situation, but are they really?

    — Is Saab bankrupt? Yes.
    — Did “Swedish Automobile” and all the associated people in particular fail with their “fully-funded business plan”? Yes.
    — Was this a great opportunity, supported by a great amount of good will from automotive enthusiasts from around the world? Yes.
    — Did Saab completely screw up their marketing? Yes. (This may be a personal view, but selling cars with ants pushing paper planes — seriously!?)

    Could go on forever, but it wouldn’t change a thing. Let us not lapse into a process of denial where everything is the fault of an evil GM and the unsupportive media. As a business, Saab first failed as an independent company, then it failed as a subsidiary of the largest automaker on the planet, and then once again it failed as an independent firm. It’s no precedent. Something was wrong.

    And btw. Swade, you should write the book. It would be a fascinating read with all the insights you’ve had. The unfortunate Saab saga is also a prime candidate for a PhD thesis in (mis)management.

  7. Kroum. Let me just correct you when it comes to a fact. Investor did not screw up Saab. The company was sound but Investor sold the company due to moving out of the automotive market. It wasn’t their bag. The same goes for Scania that was sold later on.
    Actually I spoke to a press guy at Investor in 2009 and their will to maybe buying the company back. That employee told me that most of the company would Love to but it wasn’t in Investors plans for the near future… So no, Investors didn’t fail as a owner. Theur only fault was uninterest and not missmanagement.
    After all. They gave us the C900 and beautiful 9000. And yeah with the “help” from Bob Sinclair the C900 Cabriolet. The latter is such a cool story. I hope Steven is willing to tell that story again.


    1. Hey Tom — long time! Good to see you, mate. Likewise Wilfried. 🙂

      I think you must have misunderstood me, or I wasn’t clear enough. Either way, I am not blaming Investor AB, they ran Saab pretty well for the time being. If they did anything bad, it must be selling 50% to GM lol. My comment was more along the lines of Saab having a deeper management / corporate culture problem at the higher levels of the organisation. Part of it came with GM, part of it was home-bred.

      1. Ok Kroum understood and I agree mate. 🙂 Good to be back and active. Hard year behind me as Steven knows.

        Saab has always been a unity when it comes to blue color and white color employees including low to middle management, leaving the “Top brass” out of things regarding product changes. When top management acted they ofted tended to be “bean counters” that suffocated inspiration. One example being the AWD 9000. The car that is now on sale at the museum. How Fudge could it be that a fully functioning AWD system was canned??? Bean counter strike… A Top Management issue. Saab does not need… Blah blah. Costly misstakes.



  8. Generally speaking and simplifying it all: it wasn’t enough mainstream in order to sell more cars and it didn’t have enough quirkyness in the nichemarket to make a difference. I’m looking forward to that book, but Swade take your time to write it, covering all phases in history (I won’t have the time to read it before retirement and that will be some 25-30 years form now 😉 ).

    Reading through this swadeology pages, it is good to see some saabisti still active from the first trollhattansaab.net-years.