IMPORTANT NEWS: National Electric Vehicle Sweden has agreed to buy the assets of Saab Automobile and the sale is expected to be finalized during the summer.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Turkish minister says Saab not a profitable option

Updated with new information from Dagens Industri regarding embassy meeting

Yesterday we got the news that there had been interest for the Saab Automobile bankruptcy estate from Turkey. Now Turkey's Minister of Science, Technology and Industry warns that Saab "may not be a profitable option".

 Science, Technology and Industry Minister Nihat Ergün spoke to representatives of Turkish elevator dealer firms and industrialists today and afterwards answered reporters questions about Turkish companies ambitions to buy a foreign car brand.

Accoring to Today's Zaman, the minister said that the Turkish private sector should consider acquiring a foreign auto brand as part of efforts to create the first local car brand, but said that Saab "may not be a profitable option".

Ergün said the Turkish government had no plans to acquire Saab and added that companies that are interested in this purchase "should make a good profit and loss analysis before taking such a step".

"Acquiring a foreign car brand for technology and know-how transfer to Turkey will be a strategic maneuver, but we should choose the option that will bring the best benefits to us," Ergün said.

This evening Dagens Industri writes that it was in fact Victor Muller which contacted the Turkish embassy a few days before the bankruptcy filing and not the other way around as reported in swedish media. This according to Turkey's ambassador to Sweden.

"Last week, Saab's CEO and Chairman Victor Muller contacted the embassy and said that he wanted to come and see me. I accepted the invitation, he came and we had a meeting on December 14th at 9:00 at the Embassy. He brought with him Saab's legal advisors," said ambassador Zergün Korutürk to

"He explained to me how it would be beneficial for Turkey if cars were manufactured with Saab's technology in Turkey. I took notes and told him that I would report it to the [Turkish] authorities and that was all," Korutürk said.

"I guess he was trying to save the company," she continued.

Dagens Industri has been in contact with Victor Muller regarding the embassy meeting.

"Youngman was fully informed and supported me in my efforts to get an opening against the Turks, because they would not compete at all. On the contrary, both parties would benefit if the Phoenix platform would be divided between Saab and a Turkish manufacturer in order to build a Turkish car," Muller said to DI.

"The intention was to find extra backers who had an interest in Saab's Phoenix technology. We found these parties, but we ran out of time as you know."

Victor Muller would not comment on who these parties were, but he did confirm that it is the same parties that has shown interest in the bankruptcy estate.