Maybe I was a bit harsh with Peter Windsor just now, but to be honest today’s a bit of a bad day for me.
Reason is I had a long meeting yesterday with Gerard Lopez, my money friend from Luxembourg. (Sounds a bit redundant, doesn’t it? -ed.) Gerard had been going through the figures again on our Saab offer, and the picture wasn’t good. “They’re winding it down as we speak, Bernie,” he said. “Every day it’s starting to look more like throwing good money after bad.”
It’s a shame. Such a nice brand. Saabs always make me realise there’s motor oil in my veins instead of blood. On the other hand, Gerard’s right. In the end it always comes down to the cold hard numbers. There’s no room for sentimentality. And even if there were, sentimental I am not. Ever tried keeping a bunch of ruthless car manufacturers, arrogant team bosses, penny-pinching circuit owners and hormone-ridden race drivers together for a couple of decades, shaping up the greatest sports spectacle on Earth? No? I don’t think so. Well, I assure you, soft heartedness gets you nowhere in the dog eat dog world of motor sports.
So we had to withdraw the bid. And if that isn’t bad enough, that prat Victor Muller immediately starts sending messages out to Reuters and everyone else who doesn’t want to hear that Spyker is the only bidder left, and don’t you know it. Doesn’t matter that he doesn’t stand a shadow of a chance. Ed Whitacre loathes him too. They call him the Lying Dutchman. Muller’s been peppering everybody in Detroit, Ed included, with text messages and Powerpoint emails full of the most ludicrous projections. Not to mention lying through his teeth that his Russian financier crook wouldn’t be the one putting up all the money. Ed sent him a single Powerpoint slide back (see below) and the cheesehead still wouldn’t get the message.
Too bad for Saab, all this. A marque like that deserves better. But life goes on.