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The end for SAAB
by IKE 18-Dec-2009 15:03

GM just announced that after another fail to close a deal for selling SAAB the company will now close and in the next months operations in its main plant in Trollhättan will gradually wind down. After last years mayhem in Detroit GM decided to give away SAAB to another company. SAAB for the last years has almost exclusively owned by GM, which increased its share of 50% that held for a long time to own the entire company. The fact that GM hold half the shares of SAAB was held for many responsible for the lack of initiative and investments in the company that was for years stuck with a very limited range of two models and very scarce resources. High hopes were placed in the buyout from Koenigsegg, which while very small was supposed to establish SAAB in the position that the heritage and the extremely loyal fan base of the company wanted for decades. The deal with Koenigsegg collapsed suddenly when everything appeared to be ready for the owner transfer and the next deal with Spyker was spookily similar in every way.

It is a very sad day for automotive industry but the fate of SAAB was predefined by decades of bureaucracy and bad strategy despite the moments of brilliance and the efforts of the majority of engineers and workers in Trollhättan.---

Here below is the press release from GM:

Detroit. General Motors announced today that the intended sale of Saab Automobile AB would not be concluded. After the withdrawal of Koenigsegg Group AB last month, GM had been in discussions with Spyker Cars about its interest in acquiring Saab. During the due diligence, certain issues arose that both parties believe could not be resolved. As a result, GM will start an orderly wind-down of Saab operations.

“Despite the best efforts of all involved, it has become very clear that the due diligence required to complete this complex transaction could not be executed in a reasonable time. In order to maintain operations, Saab needed a quick resolution,” said GM Europe President Nick Reilly. “We regret that we were not able to complete this transaction with Spyker Cars. We will work closely with the Saab organization to wind down the business in an orderly and responsible manner. This is not a bankruptcy or forced liquidation process. Consequently, we expect Saab to satisfy debts including supplier payments, and to wind down production and the distribution channel in an orderly manner while looking after our customers.”

Saab will continue to honor warranties, while providing service and spare parts to current Saab owners around the world.

As part of its efforts to become a leaner organization, GM began seeking a buyer for Saab’s operations in January. Last week, Saab Automobile AB announced that it had closed on the sale of certain Saab 9-3, current 9-5 and powertrain technology and tooling to Beijing Automotive Industry Holdings Co. Ltd. (BAIC). GM expects today’s announcement to have no impact on the earlier sale.

As the company continues to reinvent itself, GM has been faced with some very difficult but necessary business decisions. The focus will remain on the four core brands – Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet and GMC – and several regional brands, including Opel / Vauxhall in Europe. This will enable the company to devote more engineering and marketing resources to each brand and model.

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