Archive for March, 2009
Posted on 31. Mar, 2009 by Ryan.
Photo Credit: Arild
The Washington, D.C. Politico Magazine has recently indicated that the current administration at the White House favors Saab Automobiles as noted in their sightings of Saabs, from the climate czar Carol Browner that used to own a Saab 9-5 SE, to the White House Staffer parking lot sprinked with Saabs, amongst other vehicles.
As you know, the Washington, D.C. area as I reported in my Saab Sightings, has a lot of Saabs per capita, so this no real surprise, although it’s nice to see!
With President Barack Obama showing the ailing U.S. auto industry some tough love Monday, POLITICO wondered — what’s …
… in the driveways of White House aides? A lot of foreign cars, as it turns out.
A survey of West Executive Drive, where White House staffers park, revealed only five American cars out of 23 –a Dodge Grand Caravan, two Ford Escapes, a Jeep Cherokee and a Cadillac.
The lot was sprinkled with BMWs, Mercedes, Hondas, Toyotas, Saabs, Audis, Volkswagens and a Volvo.
Obama himself owns a Ford Escape Hybrid (apparently sitting in Chicago), according to his press secretary Robert Gibbs, who said he drives a gray Ford Escape.
As for Obama’s presidential task force on the auto industry, The Detroit News reported what many of them drive when the task force formed. The News said:
Timothy Geithner owns a 2008 Acura TSX and once owned a 1999 Honda Accord, as well as a 2002 Acura MDX.
Larry Summers owns a 1995 Mazda ProtÃ©gÃ© and previously owned a 1996 Ford Taurus GL.
Peter Orszag owns a 2008 Honda Odyssey and a 2004 Volvo S60, and he previously owned a 1997 Jeep Grand Cherokee and 1982 Datsun.
“Climate czar” Carol Browner has recently said she doesn’t own an automobile, although she used to own a 1999 Saab 9-5 SE.
Energy’s Steven Chu’s wife told the Free Press that he doesn’t own a car.
The vice president’s economist Jared Bernstein owns a 2005 Honda Odyssey.
Obama’s economic adviser Austan Goolsbee owns a 2004 Toyota Highlander.
Midwest recovery chief Ed Montgomery owns a 1991 Harley-Davidson and previously owned a 1990 Ford Taurus L station wagon.
Gene Sperling, counsel to the Treasury secretary, owns a 2003 Lincoln LS, and previously owned a 1993 Saturn SL2.
A search by POLITICO on Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood shows he owns a 1997 Buick Regal and a Ford Escape Hybrid. He previously owned a Cadillac Deville.
Records could not be found for Christina Romer and Gary Locke.
Posted on 31. Mar, 2009 by Ryan.
Photo Credit: Saab History / Shaw Saab
The Internal Revenue Service has done an incredible job with incentives for FY2009 tax season for those living in the United States, applicable to any new car up to $49,500 which basically covers all of the Saab 9-3, 9-3 and 9-7x range to date at any of the 226 Saab dealerships nationwide.
This is a great shot in the arm to the sales department for Saab dealerships and what’s incredible that incentive came from the U.S. Government and not General Motors this time!
IR-2009-30, March 30, 2009
WASHINGTON â€” The Internal Revenue Service announced today that taxpayers who buy a new passenger vehicle this year may be entitled to deduct state and local sales and excise taxes paid on the purchase on their 2009 tax returns next year.
â€œFor those thinking about buying a new car this year, this deduction may give them a little more drive to make their purchase this year,â€ said IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman. â€œThis deduction enables taxpayers to buy now and get cash back later on their tax returns.â€
The deduction is limited to the state and local sales and excise taxes paid on up to $49,500 of the purchase price of a qualified new car, light truck, motor home or motorcycle.
The amount of the deduction is phased out for taxpayers whose modified adjusted gross income is between $125,000 and $135,000 for individual filers and between $250,000 and $260,000 for joint filers.
IRS also alerted taxpayers that the vehicle must be purchased after Feb. 16, 2009, and before Jan. 1, 2010, to qualify for the deduction.
The special deduction is available regardless of whether a taxpayer itemizes deductions on their return. The IRS reminded taxpayers the deduction may not be taken on 2008 tax returns.
Posted on 31. Mar, 2009 by Ryan.
Photo Credit: Saab History
I applaud Maud Olofsson for initiating this dialog with Mr. Bloom at the U.S. Treasury Department.
Published March 31, 2009 Updated March 31, 2009
Maud talking Saab in the U.S.
TROLLHÃ„TTAN On Monday will be Saab’s survival plan up to the evidence in VÃ¤nersborgs District Court.
And Industry Minister Maud Olofsson (C) is in Washington to talk about GM’s sale of Saab.
Industry Minister Maud Olofsson (C) is in Washington to talk about GM’s sale of Saab.
- I wanted to assure them that Saab’s sales process may actually be completed, that if there are buyers who are interested, the harder this regard Obama talked about do not have the effect that it only closes down and does not consider that there is a sales process, “says Olofsson.
President Barack Obama on Monday made it clear to the American automobile industry that their actions so far are not enough. While he made clear that the automotive industry should not be allowed to go up in smoke, he was also very clear that funding by the taxpayer can not last very long.
GM was up to the end of May to develop a sustainable business plan.
Olofsson met on Tuesday, Ron Bloom, U.S. Treasury Department’s chief negotiator with the automotive industry. She stated to TT that she made it clear to Bloom that she hopes that the tightening of being had not “put obstacles in the way” for GM’s sale of Saab.
That GM was up to the end of May – is it good or bad for Saab process?
- It gives us these 60 days to continue working on a possible purchase of Saab, respond Olofsson.
For nearly six weeks, the Saab Automobile reorganization going on. A relief in the first months was to Saab lax wage in the state wage entered. County Administrative Board of VÃ¤stra GÃ¶taland has SHELL OUT 217 million, including social security contributions.
Olofsson is aware of the risks in the event of a bankruptcy:
- There is a risk that wage goes to nothing and that we may pay the bill.
If reorganization is successful, it is money to be paid back.
On Monday, the creditors’ meeting held in the town hall in VÃ¤nersborg. Work on the reorganization plan has been made by a lawyer Guy Lofalk and Saab’s CEO Jan Ã…ke Jonsson.
The determination of the work may continue to have VÃ¤nersborgs District Court. Up to three judges to participate. Alderman Tisell Cecilia is one of them.
- There must be a fundamental business concept. The proposal must be serious and not unrealistic. It is important which creditors have comments, she said to TT.
If reconstruction is Saab which ends with their debts and it would then be few other ways than a bankruptcy.
Posted on 31. Mar, 2009 by Ryan.
General Motors new CEO, Fritz Henderson held a press conference this morning, anyone have a copy of it? GM refuses to re-broadcast it on their website in my dialogue with them, strange.
As of now, no mentions of Saab in this process which is good, so effectively Saab Automobile AB’s reconstruction has surpassed another milestone following the February 17th announcement by General Motors.
Here’s the piece below:
GM CEO Fritz Henderson To Discuss Announcements Made By President Obama
Detroit, Mich. (NYSE: GM) – General Motors CEO Fritz Henderson will hold a news conference tomorrow, Tuesday, March 31, to discuss announcements made by President Obama about the Task Force on Autosâ€™ and U.S. Treasuryâ€™s decisions on aid to the auto industry.
The press conference will begin at 10:00 a.m. EDT. It will take place in the Jefferson Room of the Renaissance Conference Center on the second level of Tower 300 in GMâ€™s global headquarters in Detroit.
The satellite feed for the press conference is:
* Satellite: AMC 15 KU Band Analog
* Transponder: KO1
* Downlink 11720 Vertical
* Audios 6.2/6.8
A listen and Q&A line will be available for media:
* U.S. (800) 553-0329
* International: (612) 332-1213
No pass code is required; just ask for the General Motors press conference
To view the press conference via webcast use the following link:
Posted on 30. Mar, 2009 by Ryan.
Photo Credit: Saab History / Caption: Saab Automobile Technical Development Center
Bloomberg News says that Saab Automobile may become an engineering contractor only if potential buyers balk at investing in Saab, but they have not named any real sources, so they are merely speculating.
I really hope that this does not happen to Saab Automobile AB, Saab has more potential as a full-on independent company, not just engineering. The lesson learned should be from the GM/Saab agreement over the past 20 years.
The Saab Automobile facilities as you know involve more than just their technical development center as shown at their facilities.
Here is their piece below:
For your background information, some more speculation to what’s already out there… Whatever the case, there’s no shortage of activity in
March 30 (Bloomberg) — General Motors Corp.â€™s Saab Automobile, the Swedish carmaker that filed for bankruptcy protection, may become an engineering contractor for other manufacturers if it canâ€™t find a buyer willing to keep up mass production of its brand, people familiar with the matter said.
Some of the investors who expressed interest in Trollhattan, Sweden-based Saab are drawn to the company by its engineering and design know-how, the people said. Saabâ€™s preferred options are a sale to a carmaker or a financial owner, and being a subcontractor ranks third, said the people, who spoke on condition of anonymity as the talks are private.
Abandoning production of its own cars would let the Swedish company pull out of a mass market that has relegated Saab to a niche existence, with fewer than 100,000 cars sold worldwide in 2008. Saabâ€™s heritage as a maker of turbo-loaded luxury vehicles may instead attract other carmakers seeking a subcontractor with engineering, safety and design credentials.
â€œThe longer the sales process goes on, the harder it is to see Saab finding a buyer and then all options are viable,â€ said Stephen Pope, chief global strategist at Cantor Fitzgerald in London. â€œIf Saabâ€™s management can draw on its strong lineage, they could be seen as a design specialist that adds flurry to other models.â€
Saab has attracted as many as 10 possible investors, including potential buyers from China and Sweden, said one person, who spoke on condition of anonymity. Saab managementâ€™s priority is to move production to Sweden and introduce three new models in the next 18 months, spokesman Joe Oliver said.
Saab has drawn interest from rivals as well as investment companies and is looking for a buyer who is â€œfinancially strongâ€ and offers â€œlong-term ownership and commitment,â€ Chief Executive Officer Jan-Aake Jonsson said March 4.
General Motors said last month that it would cut Saab loose after owning the company for almost two decades and failing to make the business profitable in most of that time. Saab already cooperates with another automotive contractor, Magna International Inc., which makes roof tops for Saabâ€™s 9-3 convertible, among other vehicle parts and car bodies.
Saab may model itself on European subcontractors including Wilhelm Karmann GmbH in Germany, which makes some Chrysler cars, Heuliez SA in France, Gruppo Bertone and Pininfarina SpA in Italy, and Valmet Automotive in Finland, which assembled Porsche Boxter cars and also worked with Saab Automobile for decades.
Falling Market Share
Automobile subcontractors help carmakers manufacture more exotic models such as sports utility vehicles, sports cars and convertibles. Austria-based Magna Steyr makes the boxy G-Class Mercedes SUV, and Bertone has worked with Volvo Cars, Lamborghini and Alfa Romeo.
Working with Saab would hand other manufacturers a European brand celebrated by car enthusiasts as an emblem of engineering. Saab was the first carmaker to introduce side- impact protection systems in 1972, and it spearheaded the use of turbo-charged engines. Saab also made its mark with aerodynamic designs and convertibles.
Saab employs about 4,100 people in Sweden, and the company racked up an operating loss of 16.5 billion kronor ($2 billion) in the five years until 2008, a deficit Saab attributed to an ageing and narrow product range. Saab aims to return to profit by 2011. Oliver, the spokesman, said Saabâ€™s priority is to emerge from reorganization and pool production in Sweden.
Saabâ€™s European market share in 2008 was 0.4 percent, according to the European Automobile Manufacturers Association. That compares with 1.5 percent for Swedish rival Volvo. The BMW brand last year had a European market share of 4.6 percent, Mercedes-Benz held 4.7 percent and Audi stood at 4.5 percent.
Sweden has ruled out taking over Saab, saying taxpayers shouldnâ€™t support the unprofitable company. Deutsche Bank is overseeing the possible sale of the carmaker, which lost about 3 billion kronor in 2008 and said it will have a similar deficit this year.
To contact the reporter on this story: Aaron Kirchfeld in Frankfurt at firstname.lastname@example.org
Posted on 30. Mar, 2009 by Ryan.
Here is the press release below:
FOR RELEASE: 2009-03-30
GM Statement on Officer and Board Announcements
GM is announcing the following changes in the corporate officers and the board of directors:
Rick Wagoner is stepping down as chairman and CEO, effective immediately. Wagoner, 56, was named president and CEO in 2000, and assumed the role of chairman in 2003.
Fritz Henderson, GM president and chief operating officer, will serve as CEO. Henderson, 50, was named to his current position in 2008. He was previously vice chairman and chief financial officer.
Kent Kresa, chairman emeritus, Northrop Grumman Corporation, has been named interim non-executive chairman of the board of directors. Kresa became a GM director in 2003
GM is awaiting further announcements by the President and the Task Force on Automotive Reconstruction, and we will have additional comments at that time.
GM Board of Directors statement, attributable to Kent Kresa, Chairman
â€œThe Board has recognized for some time that the Companyâ€™s restructuring will likely cause a significant change in the stockholders of the Company and create the need for new directors with additional skills and experience. The Board intends to work to nominate a slate of directors for the next annual meeting that will include a majority of new directors taking into account the addition of new directors, retirement, and decisions by individual directors not to stand for re-election, although the specific individuals who will be nominated or choose not to run or leave the board are not yet known.â€
Posted on 30. Mar, 2009 by Ryan.
Photo Credits: TTELA / Caption: Guy Lofalk, Appointed Attorney on Saab’s Reconstruction Team
Trollhattan, Sweden’s own TTELA has recently provided some interesting material this past weekend covering the Saab Reconstruction team’s Guy Lofalk, the state appointed attorney that is acting as administrator for Saab Automobile.
There are also more details as to the four areas of reconstruction, the 1) The Process, 2) De-integrating from GM, 3) Producing Information for Potential Buyers and 4) Restructuring so that the company is strong when it has completed the process.
Almost exactly one week from now on April 6th, we’ll hear a complete update on the reconstruction process which could not come any sooner.
Here is the piece below loosely translated thanks to google.
“An inspiring challenge,” said attorney Guy Lofalk to sit as administrator at Saab, in what in many ways is a unique reorganization in American history. If he succeeds remains to be seen. What speaks against is that the automobile is in deep crisis. But while pointing Guy Lofalk that a buyer for Saab, a company that is newly renovated, with reconstruction. “If you buy a Saab to get a lot of money. Moreover, it is very affordable in the context of money, “he says.
TROLLHÃ„TTAN Shaping of Saab that operates four complex processes simultaneously.
But he is aware of GM’s full support. And he is open to a non-car finally able to act as buyers.
TTELA have met Saab administrator Guy Lofalk.
It was February 20 which Guy Lofalk presented as Saab’s administrator – and in a flash was rikskÃ¤nd.
He was still somewhat lunda prepared for what awaited him.
- This reconstruction is quite unique. First of its size, but also because it affects so many people and has a political tone.
The reconstruction work Guy Lofalk closely with CEO Jan Ã…ke Jonsson, Stephen Taylor, an international expert on the reconstructions, and Martin Brindley, production and vehicle specialist.
In practice, there are four processes that should be run in parallel.
* The reorganization process.
* Decoupling Saab from GM.
* To produce material for potential buyers.
* Restructuring, so that the company is strong when you go from the reconstruction.
- It is incredibly demanding. The processes are in each other and each of them had been enough.
How long do you have on you? It has been said that money is sufficient for the summer.
- To be completely straight, I do not want to answer it. I am also about to buyers how to upload their hearing.
- But we do not have money forever, and the harder you run the process, the higher the margins you.
But being in the case to May 20 (when else must apply for an extension of the reconstruction) is not realistic?
- No, it is not.
What makes a good owner like?
- Capital Stark, of course, with a clear idea of how Saab will look in the future.
Need it be a car?
- It need not be a car manufacturer. However, you need to have a cooperation with other car manufacturers such as platforms and purchasing.
Given Saab’s history withGM: Could it be an advantage if it is not a car?
- It is actually a point.
According to Guy Lofalk has sales process has reached a good bit. Those who expressed interest received a 2-page teaser with basic facts about the Saab.
Now the next phase, which focus on the highest ranked of the stakeholders, and provide them with a deeper material. Deutsche Bank has been engaged.
- I would not go in so exactly how many they are, but we have a 10-tal good stakeholders.
In parallel work on that “cut” Saab from GM. Guy Lofalk sighs its complexity.
- It’s about creating a Saab that is more self-sufficient and take their own decisions, above all, but still purchases services.
Is there a risk that GM could prevent a sale?
- I have met with GM Europe’s top management. Their very clear message is that they do not intend to put to any problems. They want a solution.
Who owns the patents?
- It is a mixture, and much is gathered in a GM company. What we will do is to license out all the technology that Saab need. Then is not it done in an afternoon.
Next up is the creditors’ meeting April 6, when Guy Lofalk and Jan Ã…ke Jonsson presents a preliminary reorganization plan to the creditors.
It is the creditors’ chance to be heard before the court decides on an extension of the reconstruction.
- There are many creditors’ meetings, which are in full agreement, but in one of these major reorganization can probably count on many different views will appear.
How common is it that a reorganization is terminated after the creditors’ meeting?
- I have not been the case. But it may well occur.
Short-term working Guy Lofalks team to adjust the cost for the decrease in production volume. Varslet of 750 services is the clearest example. If it will be followed by further measures would not speculate Guy Lofalk in.
Long-term aim is to make Saab attractive to a buyer. For in the end it is still there as are necessary for its reconstruction to succeed.
The question is whether it will make it?
- Yes, I really hope. Because Saab has many qualities. Then although we know that the motor industry has fallen like a stone, and that Saab does not have the best starting position.
Then he takes on fÃ¶rsÃ¤ljarmÃ¶ssan and pointing to the positive side of the Saab is under reconstruction: for a buyer, the heavy lifting with the cost to adapt the company to be already done.
- The buyer of Saab may be a lot of money. Then you must be smart and have the stamina, so you are positioned right in the back.
Posted on 30. Mar, 2009 by Ryan.
CNN, Reuters, Business Week, Detroit News Examiner, and the New York Times report that General Motors’s CEO, Rick Wagoneer was asked to step down immediately, by U.S. Government ahead of March 31st deadline.
Rick Wagoneer began his position with GM back in 1977, and was installed as CEO in 2000, the same year GM took over 100% of Saab Automobile, then bought Hummer and shelved the successful EV-1 electric vehicle program.
Wagoneer, 56, who made only $14.7 Million dollars last year, will apparently be leaving his post almost immediately. His position as Captain of the Titanic, will be replaced by co-captain Fritz Henderson, the self-proclaimed Saab “Lover” (who made only $2 million last year) and the one who said that “Saab is not a U.S. Strategy”.
This news will all be going down today (Monday, March 30th), and with it, more press releases, more news and more of just about everything, so here’s hoping we also hear anything positive about Saab as well.
In just a few days following this announcement (March 31st), we should be expected to hear another announcement about GM’s strategy for continuity and restructuring.
Here is Rick Wagoneers message in a GM press release:
FOR RELEASE: 2009-03-30
GM Message from Rick Wagoner
On Friday I was in Washington for a meeting with Administration officials. In the course of that meeting, they requested that I â€œstep asideâ€ as CEO of GM, and so I have.
Fritz Henderson is an excellent choice to be the next CEO of GM. Having worked closely with Fritz for many years, I know that he is the ideal person to lead the company through the completion of our restructuring efforts. His knowledge of the global industry and the company are exceptional, and he has the intellect, energy, and support among GMâ€™ers worldwide to succeed. I wish him well, and I stand ready to support him, and interim Non-Executive Chairman Kent Kresa, in every way possible.
I also want to extend my sincerest thanks to everyone who supported GM and me during my time as CEO. I deeply appreciate the excellent counsel and commitment of the GM Board and the strong support of our many partners including our terrific dealers, suppliers, and community leaders. I am grateful as well to the union leaders with whom I have had the chance to work closely to implement numerous tough but necessary restructuring agreements.
Most important of all I want to express my deepest appreciation to the extraordinary team of GM employees around the world. You have been a tremendous source of inspiration and pride to me, and I will be forever grateful for the courage and commitment you have shown as we have confronted the unprecedented challenges of the past few years. GM is a great company with a storied history. Ignore the doubters because I know it is also a company with a great future.
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