Archive for November, 2009

Saab Automobile AB Management & Swedish Government Delegates Arrive In Detroit Prior to GM Board Meeting

Posted on 30. Nov, 2009 by .

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The Saab Automobile management board along with delegates from the Swedish Government will be in Detroit Monday, a day prior to the GM board meeting on Tuesday, December 1st where the fate of Saab will be determined.

It will be at GM’s HQ where Jan-Ã…ke Jonsson and others from Saab Automobile will be giving a presentation on the future of the company.

Here’s the article from Sweden’s The Local

Swedish officials in last ditch Saab rescue plea

A Swedish government representative is due to land shortly in Detroit to provide input to the General Motors (GM) board ahead of a Tuesday meeting where it is expected to decide the fate of Saab Automobile.

State secretary Jöran Hägglund of the Ministry of Enterprise, Energy and Communications (Näringsdepartamentet) is set to meet the GM top brass on Monday in what is viewed as a last ditch effort to convince the US automaker to pick a solution other than shuttering Saab for good.

Hägglund traveled to Detroit on short notice as part of a delegation from both his ministry and the Swedish Ministry of Finance.

When the GM board meets on Tuesday to formulate its decision, it will hold the future of roughly 4,000 residents of Trollhättan in western Sweden in its hands, as well as the fates of an additional 4,000 workers throughout Västra Götaland.

Saab CEO Jan Ã…ke Jonsson criticized the government last week for not doing enough to save Saab, which unions also charged in even more pointed language.

Hägglund’s meeting with the GM leadership is an effort to sort out any remaining questions and give the Detroit bosses insights into the facts following the drawn out and now collapsed process with Koeningsegg.

“Another important mission to also to try to determine what sort of financial muscle the prospective buyers have,” Hägglund told Svergies Televsion (SVT) in a pre-taped segment which broadcast on Sunday night.

Hägglund has previously confirmed that there is interest in taking over Saab from several potential suitors, but he refused to divulge any names.

In the meantime, one name has emerged – that of the American investment group Merbanco.

But the interest remains only if it’s possible to avoid a new, six-month long process, Merbanco CEO Christopher Johnston told the Reuters news agency.

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Saab History Visits Pioneer Saab Dealership

Posted on 30. Nov, 2009 by .

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Film Credit: Saab History

This past weekend, I had the opportunity to visit Pioneer Saab in South Deerfield, Massachusetts which was the first Saab dealership that I had the opportunity to experience many years ago.

Having grown up Western, Massachusetts and owning my first Saab while experiencing this dealership, I began to realize why many others like me, continued their ownership and loyalty to products that come from Saab Automobile in Sweden. While the products have been great, it was the dealership like Pioneer Saab as I continue to learn, that significantly contributed to keeping me and many others in the region with Saab, over the years.
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Beijing Automotive Plans to ‘Move Fast’ on GM’s Saab

Posted on 30. Nov, 2009 by .

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Bloomberg reports Beijing Automotive Industry Holding Co. (BAIC), will “move fast” on GM’s Saab.

BAIC, who previously entered into agreement with the former candidate for Saab, still plan on continuing the old Saab 9-5 production in China which will require that the dealerships to double.

When asked about whether BAIC would want to acquire Saab by itself or as a consortium, the CEO Wang Dazong responded by saying “stay tuned”.

Here’s the report below:

By Bloomberg News

Nov. 30 (Bloomberg) — Beijing Automotive Industry Holding Co. said it will “move fast” on General Motors Co.’s Saab unit after its partner pulled out of making a bid for the Swedish automaker.

“Stay tuned,” Beijing Auto President Wang Dazong told reporters today in Nanjing, China, when asked whether the company would bid alone for Saab or as part of a group. The automaker is considering an offer, he reiterated.

Wang declined to say whether the company would submit a Saab bid before Detroit-based GM’s board discusses the unit’s future at a meeting tomorrow. Koenigsegg Group AB walked away from a Saab deal, backed by Beijing Auto, last week.

“I can’t control GM’s timetable,” Wang said. “We want to move fast.”

Beijing Auto, Merbanco Inc. and Renco Group Inc. have all made approaches about Saab, two people familiar with the situation said last week. Wang declined to say whether Beijing Auto has made an approach.

GM decided to dispose of Saab in February as the U.S. automaker undergoes bankruptcy reorganization. The Swedish unit has been unprofitable for most of the two decades GM has owned it. Saab sold fewer than 100,000 vehicles worldwide last year.

For Related News and Information: Top transportation stories: TOP TRN GM revenue breakdown: GM US CN PGEO China auto news: TNI CHINA AUT
Last Updated: November 29, 2009 21:52 EST

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Swedish Government Confirms Speculated Saab Bidders

Posted on 30. Nov, 2009 by .

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The Swedish Government following GM, has now officially confirmed the speculated Saab bidders, but has not indicated exactly who they are, if different from speculated bidders BAIC, Merbanco & Renco, according to Stockholm News.

Jöran Hägglund, a Swedish Government official who will be in Detroit on Monday, has indicated there are buyers.

Please read the rest of the details below:

Government confirms more potential SAAB buyers

The rumors about other potential owners to the Swedish car manufacturer SAAB is now confirmed also by the government.

Undersecretary Jöran Hägglund confirmed this today but at the same time, he did not want to sound too hopefull. Hägglund will now go to Detroit for intense negotiations with GM before their board meeting on Tuesday. The negotiations with the other potential buyers take place in parallel to this.

– We have contact with several stakeholders, partly we describe the instrument we have, but also to see what they have to offer and how their plans are for SAAB, Hägglund says to Swedish Public radio channel SR.

To the question from SR of whether we can still have hope for SAAB, Hägglund said:

– I have repeated that the whole time. Since they say at GM that they have no given up, I think this is what should guide us here also.

Undersecretary Hägglund does not want to give any details on which stakeholders he refers to, but according to SR the investment group Merbanco is still interested.

Already tomorrow, Hägglund will meet several important persons in GM in Detroit which he values very much before the board meeting on Tuesday.

– For us this is important. We have had running and intense contacts with GM for a long time now. But is is crucial for us to clear out all the facts before their board meeting. There must be no vagueness about what economic securities we can offer. It is also important for us to have a chance to speak our mind to them, sayd Mr. Hägglund to SR.

(note that the quotes are translated from Swedish and not exact)

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All New Saab 9-5 Showcased At San Francisco Auto Show

Posted on 29. Nov, 2009 by .

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svgallery=2009_SAAB_9_5_SAN_FRAN

Photo Credit: Dino

The second North American preview for the all new Saab 9-5 debuted at the San Francisco Auto Show this past Thursday (Thanksgiving). This show will continue until Tuesday, December 2nd, but the all new 9-5 leaves today to head to the Los Angeles show.

Dino, a Saab History frequenter has been kind enough to share with us photographs from the experience above. It’s nice to see the all new Saab 9-5 continuing the auto show circuit that began in Miami last month here in the United States as it’s European tour was recently canceled.

Here is a summary he provided of his experience:

The show and the Saab booth were relatively well attended, considering it was Thanksgiving. All of the comments I overheard were all quite positive and complimentary about the new 9-5. Many people examined it from all angles. The new 9-5 has real presence – especially from the front. The fit and finish were superb and what I liked most were the details e.g. The half black mirrors that matched the window frames, the “notch” in the front of the hood that the upper part of the grill nested in. down-turn on the front upper part of the front grill etc.

The next show where the all new Saab 9-5 will be scheduled to be, is Los Angeles as well as Boston starting this week. These two parallel shows with a little overlap, will wrap up the all new Saab 9-5’s United States tour in 2009.

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Swedish Government Still Prepared To Guarantee EIB Loan

Posted on 28. Nov, 2009 by .

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The Wall Street Journal indicates that the Swedish Government is still prepared to Guarantee EIB loans.

In addition, Jöran Hägglund, Sweden’s state secretary that has been fighting for Saab’s success since January, will be heading to Detroit again early this week to talk with GM prior to their board meeting on Tuesday.

Here’s hoping all is going to be positive early week as it sounds like support systems are in place short of a secured buyer.

STOCKHOLM (Dow Jones)-

A Swedish government delegation will travel to Detroit early next week to discuss Saab Automobile AB’s future with General Motors Co., an official said. State Secretary Joran Hagglund, the Swedish government’s main liaison to the auto industry, said Friday that Sweden was still prepared to act as Saab’s guarantor to loans from the European Investment Bank if required by the EIB. Hagglund himself will be part of the delegation to Detroit next week.
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The First Official Photo Of All New 9-5 Produced In Sweden

Posted on 28. Nov, 2009 by .

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allnew9 5a600 The First Official Photo Of All New 9 5 Produced In Sweden

Photo Credit: Saab Automobile AB

The first official photo of the all new Saab 9-5 produced at the factory in Trollhättan, Sweden has come out and Auto Motor & Sport has provided it.

This is certainly a better photo than the earlier one we had here on Saab History this week. It was certainly nice to see everyone so happy!

Saab 9-5, first manufactured in Trollhättan
Pär Brandt – 2009-11-27 16:05

A few days ago was mounted on the first “real” Saab 9-5 at the factory. Previously, staff trained in the prototype workshop on the new car, with a dozen training cars, but now it is officially launched production of Saab’s new 9-5.

The first “real” Saab 9-5 has rolled the tape in Trollhättan. Production Stig Runesson, next to the far right, leaving the symbolic over the keys to Anders Svensson (right) who is responsible for production.

Saab Automobile is most associated with black doomsday headlines, and sometimes it’s easy to forget what business is that all about – building cars. Therefore, it is not without a certain pride that Saab now reports that they had built the first “real” Saab 9-5 on the tape. Production of the new model is officially launched, that is.

Parallel to the development of the car has been preparing to produce the car, with all that implies. Total work has been going on for four years and got extra boost last fall when it became clear that production would be moved from the Opel factory in Rüsselsheim to Saab’s own factory in Trollhättan. Some tools were made in duplicate in order to produce the Opel Insignia in Rüsselsheim and 9-5 in Trollhattan, but the extra cost paid by the Saab before GM entered its reorganization during the summer.

A dozen bodies were pressed in Rüsselsheim before the final move was carried out in autumn, from Germany to Trollhättan. Before that, the Opel factory “hand built” around 50 9-5: or used to test and crash tests, and exhibitions. The ten body structures has been working as “guinea pigs” in Saab’s prototype workshop where they built up and dismantled several times to train staff on the new model. These first cars were built at Saab’s prototype shop, which resembles a “mini factory” with the same workstations as the major production line.

The next time performed a series of tests, “a hundred cars, all pre-fixed to selected internal customers within the organization. Then start the production of regular customers and if all goes as hoped with Saab ownership can soon bring full speed at the factory again.

Saab’s production line is the so-called “flexible”, it means that all models can be mixed and incorporated into any number on the same line. This makes it easy to adapt production to demand. Right now produced 9-3 Sport Sedan, 9-3, 9-3X, ‘old’ 9-5 SportCombi and the new 9-5. In the spring you should also start building 9-3 Convertible, which moved up from Magna in Austria.

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GM Confirms: Talks With Possible Buyers For Saab

Posted on 28. Nov, 2009 by .

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Reuters reports that with just four days before the GM board meeting, they have officially indicated that they are in talks with possible buyers for Saab Automobile at this time.

This is encouraging news and timely. I look forward to positive results as a result of this.

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) – General Motors Co GM.UL said on Friday it was talking to possible buyers of Saab, four days before a GM board meeting considers whether to attempt to revive a sale process or eliminate the 60-year-old Swedish auto brand.

“We can confirm that we have heard from different investors. We have a close dialogue and close contact with several who have expressed interest in buying Saab Automobile,” Saab spokeswoman Gunilla Gustavs said.

“It is not so surprising, given that there were 27 parties who were interested (when Saab was initially put up for sale) and 10 who came and looked the company over in April and May.”

Gustavs would not give any further information about whom the possible buyers might be or how many potential suitors loss-making Saab had approached since a potential sale to Sweden-based sports car builder Koenigsegg collapsed.

Koenigsegg on Tuesday pulled out of a deal it had been negotiating with GM to buy Saab, blaming the length of time it was taking to finalize the agreement and obtain European Investment Bank loans and loan guarantees.

GM has not been in discussions with any other bidders for Saab and analysts have said they expect the most likely outcome to be closure of the brand.

Beijing Automotive Industry Holding Co, China’s No. 10 automaker, had planned to take a stake in Koenigsegg as part of the Saab bid.

A BAIC representative did not have any knowledge of separate talks with GM.

Merbanco Merchant Banking Co, based in Wyoming, had also been interested in Saab.

Merbanco remains interested but has not had any talks with GM since the Koenigsegg deal fell through, Merbanco Chief Executive Chris Johnston told Reuters.

“We are interested, definitely,” Johnston told Reuters on Friday. “Are we interested in a six-month odyssey? Not really.”

Johnston said he thinks Saab deserves to survive. “It’s a great brand and a terrific company. It’s got great management,” he said.

GM’s board meets next week and the question of what to do with Saab will top the agenda.

Saab has not made a profit since it was taken over by GM 20 years ago and estimated it would make a loss of 3 billion Swedish crowns ($427 million) this year and again in 2010.

U.S. financier Ira Rennert and his Renco Group had expressed an interest in pursuing a deal for Saab. A Renco representative could not be reached for comment on Friday.

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