First Time In Years Media Mentions Saab Acquisition By GM

Posted on 20. Jun, 2008 by in 2000-2009, Company

CNN has recently made the first mention in years, when it comes to the GM acquisition of the Saab brand back in December 15th of 1989.

Ironically, this same article mentions GM spending 2.5 billion to not have to acquire Fiat back in 2005. Fiat as many of you know, were in line and prepared to be the original owners of the Saab car division back in 1989 until GM came in with a larger bid to buy Saab. This acquisition by GM was to originally be Volvo, but they defaulted to Saab because Ford bought Volvo first.

In all of GM’s 18 years of partial (1989-1999) and now full (2000-Present) ownership, what do you think things would have been like if Fiat was the owner all of this time? Interesting for discussion sake, don’t you think?

For those of you not fully informed about this original Saab-Scania / GM Joint Venture that took place back then, please watch the video below that features former Saab-Scania of America President, Bob Sinclair introducing and concluding the Saab-Scania / GM joint venture in addition to the actual press conference in Stockholm, Sweden.

Enjoy the video and a full transcript of the conference below:

Press Conference

Stockholm, Sweden
December 15, 1989

Sten Gustafsson – Chairman Saab-Scania AB:

I am of course extremely happy to announce that General Motors and Saab-Scania have signed two agreements signifying that we are launching joint ventures in the passenger cars and engineering businesses. I am also happy to announce that Hughes Aircraft a company within the General Motors Corporation and Saab-Scania will establish working relationships on the defence related projects. It’s a priveledge to have General Motors as a partner and I can assure all of you here by pulling our resources as Saab Automobile company and it’s business can now meet the future with great confidence. I now very pleased to introduce Mr. Jack Smith.

John F. Smith Jr. – Executive Vice President International General Motors Corp:

Ladies and Gentleman, I am extremely pleased to be here in Stockholm today to discuss with you, the future cooperation between General Motors and one of the most reknowned Swedish and European companies. Mr. Gustafsson has already told you about the main points about the future cooperation between Saab and General Motors. Before we get into your questions, let me please take just a minute to tell you a little bit about the spirit of this cooperation as we proceed. As many of you already know, General Motors has been deeply involved in the European auto industry over the last 60 years. We are a global company, but in Europe, we feel and act as Europeans. Even today, Vauxhaul in the United Kingdom has a British Image and Opel is considered as a traditional German product, developed by German engineers. I am mentioning this as a means of clearly stating that we regard the Swedish and European identity of Saab as an important asset we want to maintain and cultivate. We may be the largest company in the world but we known that in this business, it is not quantity but quality that counts. This new company will allow General Motors to more fully participate in the upper end of the car market and appeal to a broader spectrum of luxury car buyers and to make available additional capacity to assemble General Motors Europe cars. We believe that the combined resources of Saab Scania and General Motors and these new ventures, will result in products that are more than competitive in the nineties and I believe we have tremendous potential. Thank you very much for your attention. I am pleased that we are today beginning a new chapter of international cooperation which will intensify Sweden in the United States as well as our own dedication to Europe. Thank you very much.

Georg Karnsund – President Saab Scania AB

Ladies and Gentleman, Saab Scania and General Motors have signed agreements that join forces in the car business in order to increase our competitiveness for the nineties and beyond. A new jointly owned Swedish company, Saab Automobile AB, will create the conditions for developing and strengthening the Saab brand and Saab business. We have also decided to cooperate in the field of automotive electronics, an area which will create predominant growth in the development of new car generations. The business concept of this cooperation is the complimentarity of our two companies, by cooperating in areas such as product development and manufacturing, it will be possible for Saab Scania and GM to pool resources and achieve economies of scale as well as to increase volume and profits. Cooperation with GM will allow Saab Automobile AB to acquire the resources needed to challenge the growing competition in the international marketplace. Saab Automobile AB will be responsible for further developing the Saab 900 and Saab 9000 operations. It will also be responsible for successively launching during the nineties, new and broader product programs in different market segments for exclusive cars. A new third top of the line car will be developed, the engine program will be extended with high performance 6-cylinder engines for the most exclusive models. This signifies that the various Saab product lines can broaden the market coverage substantially for Saab and offer new choices for the Saab car population of 1.3 million customers as well as potential buyers. For Saab dealers, the Saab car franchise will become one of the most attractive franchises in the upper segments. It is intended that Saab should to have an exclusive and independent sales network with a potential to expand further. An expanded Saab car program will maintain and strengthen the distinctive image of Saab cars as technologically advanced and exclusive quality products. In addition to the Saab product range, the available car production capacity in Sweden and Finland will also be utilized to assemble GM cars. Production increases will thus take place at existing facilities in Sweden and Finland. Saab Automobile AB will therefore launch an extensive investment program concerning product development, production and marketing. I am very satisfied not only with our automobile cooperation, but with the fact that Hughes aircraft company of GM and Saab missiles of Saab-Scania, will start cooperation. I think that this cooperation will prove to be of great importance in the future. Let me conclude by saying life is getting tougher every day, higher costs for example of product development, demand increasing volumes and resources. Therefore, we are convinced that the best way we can defend and expand our industry in Sweden is through extensive international cooperation. Thank you ladies and Gentlemen.

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Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Saab History » The General Motors Ownership Of Saab Automobile - July 8, 2008

    […] General Motors has owned Saab Automobile for the better part of 18 years this year, 50% since 1989/1990 and 100% since 2000. […]

  2. Saab History » The Fiat Acquistion of Saab-Scania’s Car Division - 1989 - July 29, 2008

    […] In October of 1989 The Swedish based Saab-Scania group were in discussions with the Italian based, Fiat SpA group about the possibility of Fiat acquiring 51% of Saab for a figure of $780 million. This figure was $180 more than GM’s $600 million 50% acquisition which they subsequently offered Saab on December 15th, 1989 when the press release hit the wire. […]

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