GM Had Discussions With KIA Over Saab Automobile Brand

Posted on 12. Feb, 2009 by in 2000-2009

kia.jpg

Photo Credit: Kia Motors

According to Reuters, executives of KIA, have been having discussions with GM over the Saab premium brand.

Since this is the first source that have indicated this, I really have no idea what to say. I know Reuters is a fairly credible source than say Automotive News, so I wonder what else we’ll hear of this. I guess we’ll find out on Super Tuesday, the 17th of February?

Executives of Kia, led by Kia President Eui-sun Chung, have had discussions with GM over the Saab premium brand, three sources with knowledge of the talks said.

I think Kia’s North American tagline “the power to surprise” is an understatement, because I am certainly surprised that GM has been having talks with KIA about Saab.

However, if KIA does end up becoming the new owner for Saab Automobile, and Saab Automobile’s business plans for loans for a Sweden-based company come through, then all I ask is that KIA just invest and take a completely hands-off approach from the brand.

Here is KIA’s response to this rumor:

Subject: RE: KIA To Buy Saab Automobile AB?
Date: Mon, 23 Feb 2009 08:26:55 -0800

Ryan,

That’s an old rumor that has been dug up and re-circulated and is pure
speculation.

Alex Fedorak
Director, Public Relations
Kia Motors America, Inc.
111 Peters Canyon Road
Irvine, CA 92606

Office: 949.468.4813
Cell: 949.697.5803

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No Responses to “GM Had Discussions With KIA Over Saab Automobile Brand”

  1. peter

    13. Feb, 2009

    This is a plausible story.

    The Korean motor industry has expanded rapidly over the last 20 years. The manufacturers all produce a very wide range of cars at home, but need a “premium” brand name to complete their global ambitions.

    Kia are roughly where Toyota was 25 years ago – recognised as good value, quality manufacturers, but without a reputable brand name.

    Kia was established before Saab, but moved into car production later, producing its own car in 1974. They expanded rapidly over the years producing Fiat, Peugeot, and latterly Ford/Mazda under license.

    They had financial problems in 1997 and were acquired by Hyundai. Ford subsequently released its 9% shareholding shortly afterwards.

    Global sales are around 1.3m split fairly equally between domestic, europe, us and “other”.

    The upside is that they have good distribution channels and efficient, low cost manufacturing facilities.

    The risk is that after buying Saab for SEK1, they will move manufacture to the Far East.

    Peter

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  2. Jesse Jaakkola

    13. Feb, 2009

    That would be awful!

    Reply to this comment
  3. mark93

    14. Feb, 2009

    I think Kia looked at Saab back in December when it first came under review. It’s probably moved on.

    Reply to this comment

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