Tag Archives: chief executive

Saab Automobile Down To Two Possible Buyers?

Posted on 03. Jun, 2009 by .

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Saab Automobile AB’s Managing Director, Jan-Ake Jonsson indicates that the company is now down to two possible buyers in an interview conducted with Dagens Industri via reuters.

Here’s hoping that one of those possible buyers at this time is Koenigsegg, the other, who really knows at this point as they were apparently one that was part of the original 27 bidders.

It’s really getting down to the wire, and hopefully it will be disclosed shortly. We must continue to respect the process, it’s in our interest, but it’s still tough to continue to wait.

While waiting is one thing, the articles that continue to include “loss making unit” are also starting to annoy me. I hope that people begin to change their tone and give Saab Automobile a break, it was GM that caused this trouble for them, not themselves. Here’s hoping that when their new buyer comes, they will be more optimistic and positive.

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) – General Motors Corp’ Saab Automobile unit has narrowed talks with potential buyers for the loss-making Swedish brand to two, Saab’s top executive was quoted as saying in a Swedish business daily on Tuesday.

“Now we are negotiating with just two parties,” Saab’s chief executive, Jan-Ake Jonsson, said in Dagens Industri.

Jonsson said final negotiations with one of those two potential suitors could start this week.

“This can go fast now and should absolutely be wrapped up in a maximum of two weeks,” he said in the report, adding a letter of intent with a “serious buyer” could be ready before mid-June.
[…]

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Saab Automobile AB Board Deciding On Reorganizing

Posted on 19. Feb, 2009 by .

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According to multiple news agencies, the Local, Reuters and Nyteknik, the Saab Automobile AB board met this morning to decide to reorganize the company.

I have sent in some requests to contact Saab Automobile AB this morning (afternoon their time), and I have not received an immediate response as of yet, with an understanding that they are obviously quite busy at this time.

I am looking for some clarity on where we are at this point however here is the piece from the local below:

The board of Swedish automaker Saab is expected to make a decision about whether or not to seek bankruptcy protection during a special meeting of the company’s board on Thursday.

The news comes from anonymous sources within Saab, according to several Swedish media outlets.

The move, which comes a day after both General Motors (GM) and the Swedish government said they had no plans to support the troubled brand, would likely resulted in major changes at the company, including staff cuts and alterations in production.

Saab Automobile spokesperson Eric Geers declined to confirm the reports.

“We can’t comment on that,” he told the TT news agency.

Speaking to Sveriges Radio (SR), Saab chief executive also Jan-Aake Jonsson refused to confirm the information.

“I don’t want to speculate on the different alternatives that Saab has when it comes to running our operations going forward,” he told SR.

Early Wednesday morning Swedish time, news came from the United States that GM had no plans to invest further in Saab and hoped to sell the company by January 2010.
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General Motors Europe To Create New Auto Group In Collaboration With FIAT in Turin, Italy?

Posted on 07. Jan, 2009 by .

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This process of Saab Automobile looking for a new owner, is getting kind of interesting now, given that all three of the possible candidates indicated have said they are not interested in Saab Automobile including speculation on Porsche as well, which turned up to be just a rumor.

However, let’s not forget that it has been Fiat that have continuously indicated in their dialog here at Saab History, that they are not in a position to comment about their status even though they have also said that they are not interested in acquiring Saab Automobile.

What’s new to this developing story for Saab is that, a late breaking article has shown up on Sweden’s expression, which appears to indicate some talk between Saab Automobile’s Jan-Ã…ke Jonsson and General Motors Europe’s chairman, Carl-Peter Forster, about forming some new group.

This new group will quite possibly be between General Motors Europe and FIAT and will be located in Turin, Italy.

Turin Italy, if you may or may not know is where one of GM’s design studios are located. It was at this studio, where the Saab 9-4x BioPower Concept car was put together as illustrated on a promotional video filmed there. The Saab 9-4x BioPower concept was shown back in January of 2008 at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan.

Here is a translation of the high points of the article thanks to Sweden’s Jan Ollsson.

Carl-Peter Forster

GM’s Europan president has been unusually withdrawn in recent weeks. The first time I listened to Forster, I was convinced that he wanted to bully Saab to show off his own dear Opel. But when the E85-liquor was served Forster’s liking of Saab suddenly increased. Forster has not chosen siden yet – probably because he does not want to be seen make to much noise. If he is forced to leave Wagoners side much speaks for Forster joining Saab’s Jan-Ã…ke Jonsson and take a flight to Turin to piece together a new group together with Fiat.

Jan-Ã…ke Jonsson

Saab’s chief executive has worked hard since GM announced the company on “Blocket, online ad service” Jan-Ã…ke have fought hard to maintain Saab’s position in the car market. He has managed so so… with a practically impossible task. Jan-Ã…ke Jonsson is sticking his chin out and try to defend himslef which he should have credit for. Playing dirty is not Jan-Ã…kes style which should not be interpreted to mean that he can withstand any amount at any time. Whatever happens, I hope that Jan-Ã…ke Jonsson will come unscrathed from the fight and that Saab survives.

At this point, I almost think it’s pointless to send e-mails to both General Motors Europe and again Fiat because what will they really tell the public about a “possible” development?

Here’s hoping an insider contacts Saab History to provide some more details about anything that’s going on, so we know where Saab Automobile stands moving forward.

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The Fiat Acquistion of Saab-Scania’s Car Division – 1989

Posted on 29. Jul, 2008 by .

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The Attempted Fiat Acquistion of Saab-Scania’s Car Division – 1989

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.

Saab-Scania as you may know, previously worked with Fiat’s lancia group for a number of years to develop and produce both the highly acclaimed Saab 9000 (1985-1998) as well as the Saab-Lancia 600, a vehicle that only reached the Swedish Market.

GM on the other hand, had apparently sold parts to both the SAAB aircraft division as well as the Saab automotive division of Saab-Scania for years, but I think that the only relationship they had with Saab-Scania prior to the acquisition.

What strikes me looking back on the apparently imminent deal by Fiat to acquire Saab-Scania’s automotive division from the Wallenberg’s investor AB group, was how GM ended up as the victor by offering less money and having no significant previous relationships with the company unlike Fiat did on two vehicle projects, etc.

I have decided to start digging through the archives with a few colleagues who frequently write for Nines Magazine, in order to see how the Fiat SpA acquisition dialog unfolded right until the December 15th announcement in Stockholm. We must remember that those who were watching the news at that time, as you will see below, it felt as if out of nowhere, GM offered to buy Saab-Scania’s auto division when most people at that point, thought that the Fiat deal was inevitable.

So here’s the question: As you read the newspaper articles below leading up to the announcement, there was no material between the dates of December December 5th & December 14th, 1989 that has shown up yet in my searches, so what do you think actually took place between Saab-Scania, Fiat SpA and then General Motors between those dates?

If you have the necessary information, please provide it in comments here, as the the greater Saab community has been wondering exactly what happened for a number of years now, so let’s get this resolved once and for all as to why the Fiat conversations broke up and Saab accepted an offer from GM.

Here are the news articles below leading up and covering both the Fiat as well as GM acquisition announcements.

The Saab-Scania & Fiat News as it unfolded in the late fall of 1989

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Saab-Fiat Venture Seen
REUTERS

Published: November 11, 1989

LEAD: A venture between Saab-Scania of Sweden and Fiat of Italy could be agreed upon before the end of the year, Sweden’s Industry Minister was quoted as saying today.

A venture between Saab-Scania of Sweden and Fiat of Italy could be agreed upon before the end of the year, Sweden’s Industry Minister was quoted as saying today.

[…]

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American Airlines Divests Eagle Operations With Saab 340s

Posted on 27. May, 2008 by .

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Photo Credit: Saab History / Worcester, MA Airport taken on May 13th, 2001

According to Flight Global, American Airlines has plans to divest it’s American Eagle operations which includes 34 SAAB 340b Turboprop airplanes.

Here is the writeup on this decision by American Airlines:

American Airlines to divest of Eagle division as part of capacity cuts

By Mary Kirby

AMR is pressing forward with plans to divest its wholly owned regional American Eagle Airlines even as it prepares to slash the carrier’s fleet and reduce feeder services to sister American Airlines in response to record-high fuel costs and growing economic concerns.

The company in November 2007 said it would consider a spin-off to shareholders or a sale to a third party this year, among other options. A separation is still in the works despite AMR’s announcement that as many as 40 regional jets, plus an unidentified number of turboprops, will be culled at Eagle to facilitate a 10-11% reduction in regional affiliate capacity in the fourth quarter.

This is in addition to the retirement of up to 45 aircraft operated by American – mostly Boeing MD-80s, but some Airbus A300s – which is in line with a reduction in fourth quarter domestic mainline domestic capacity of 11-12%. Service cuts and thousands of job losses are expected as a result, as well as the potential closure of some facilities.

“We are moving aggressively to stabilise the economics of our core airline business, while moving forward with initiatives – including the divestiture of American Eagle and [investment advisory] American Beacon – that we believe will unlock value for you and your fellow owners of the company,” says AMR chief executive Gerard Arpey.

It remains to be seen if the sale of Eagle will pose a challenge to AMR. The carrier owns a large fleet of small regional jets – aircraft that face increasing pressure in today’s tough operating environment. Flight’s ACAS database lists Fort Worth, Texas-headquartered American Eagle as operating 25 Bombardier CRJ700s, 38 Embraer ERJ-135s, 59 ERJ-140s, and 29 Saab 340B turboprops. Executive Airlines – which flies as American Eagle from San Juan – operates 39 ATR 72 turboprops.

Divestiture of Eagle is less about making money “and more about a return to sane strategy” where costs can be better controlled, says Richard Aboulafia, vice-president analysis at Teal Group. “I never understood why any mainline carrier would want to own its own feeder. That’s like outsourcing to your own factory. How do you pressure them for costs?”

AMR has stayed mum about what regional types will be affected by the fleet cuts. Merrill Lynch analyst Michael Linenberg in his latest report says aircraft most likely to be removed are the 37-seat ERJ-135 jets, which “probably aren’t even close to hitting break-even at current fuel prices”. Among Eagle’s turboprops, he says, “it would seem that some or all of the 34 Saab 340Bs are the best candidates for removal”.

Should Saab 340Bs be cut from the fleet, Saab Aircraft Leasing (SAL) chief executive Michael Magnusson believes the market can soak them up, but notes: “Obviously it depends on how many come out how quickly.” Also in question is whether the turboprops would even be put up for sale. A large batch of Eagle Saab 340Bs have been parked since 9/11. “Eagle has refused to sell them in case they need them. Now it will be interesting to see if they will change that policy,” says Magnusson.

Source: Mary Kirby / Flight Global

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GM Dealer Of The Year Award to Six Saab Dealerships

Posted on 10. Mar, 2008 by .

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Image Credit: GM

Out of the 235 Saab Dealerships in the United States, six Saab dealerships received the “GM Dealer of The Year” award. from General Motors on the following criteria:

* Dealership (BAC) must meet or exceed all Divisional qualifiers;

* SEI, CSI, RSI, GM Training/ STS Certification.

* Dealerships (BAC) are stack-ranked by unit sales, by Region and by Division.

* Top Dealerships (BAC) in each region and Division earn the GM Dealer of the Year honor.

I will be getting more detailed information in the coming days, specific to the Saab dealerships involved.

Here is the press release below:

General Motors Honors Top Dealers with Jack Smith Leadership Award

New York, NY – General Motors held its annual GM Dealer Of The Year award ceremony in New York City today to present the Jack Smith Leadership Award to its top 115 dealers. Honorees were chosen from more than 6,700 GM dealers across the U.S., and exemplify the company’s dedication to exceptional sales performance and superior customer service. The Jack Smith Leadership Award, a Steuben crystal obelisk, represents excellence and high achievement.

“GM Dealer Of The Year winners deliver consistently great sales and customer service, and play an active role in the communities they serve,” said Rick Wagoner, GM Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. “These elite dealers are the face of GM to thousands of our customers across the country, and we congratulate them for representing GM’s best in this, our centennial year.”

“It is important to recognize that this exceptional group of General Motors’ dealers consistently shows strong sales performance and exceptional customer service. They represent the finest aspects of American business and creativity, and serve as an example to all of us,” said Mark LaNeve, vice president of vehicle sales, service and marketing, GM North America.

Please visit the website directly for more information about this award: http://www.gmdealeroftheyear.com/ and click here for the Saab dealership listing.

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GM COO, Saab Owner & Enthusiast, Now GM President

Posted on 04. Mar, 2008 by .

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Frederick ‘Fritz’ Henderson, former Chairman of GM Europe responsible for Saab Automobile and a Saab enthusiast himself on his (count them) 4th Saab, has now been promoted to President of General Motors.

Some of you may have experienced his presentation while attending the 2007 Saab Owners Convention dinner banquet this past August in Troy, Michigan at the GM Heritage Center.

It is really good to hear that someone who really knows a lot about Saab, and owns a Saab, now has more autonomy over the Saab Automobile brand. If you have not already watched it, please enjoy his presentation that starts at 11:00 minutes in.

Here is the press release below.

GM Appoints Henderson President and Chief Operating Officer, Announces Other Senior Executive Appointments

Rick Wagoner, GM chairman and chief executive officer, announced that the GM board of directors approved the following appointments, effective immediately, at its meeting today:

* Frederick (Fritz) A. Henderson, 49, vice chairman and chief financial officer, is elected president and chief operating officer.
* Ray Young, 46, currently group vice president – finance, is elected executive vice president and chief financial officer, replacing Henderson.
* Thomas G. Stephens, 59, currently group vice president, global powertrain and global quality, is also elected executive vice president.

“There’s a lot going on at GM today,” Wagoner said. “Besides our massive business transformations in the U.S. and Europe, we’re experiencing explosive growth in emerging markets – in some cases, in countries where GM doesn’t have a long history. The industry is in the midst of the largest technology transformation it has ever faced. And GM continues to implement a truly global automotive operating structure.

“It’s an opportune time to further bolster our top leadership structure; specifically, it’s the right time to reestablish GM’s traditional President and Chief Operating Officer position,” Wagoner continued. “And Fritz Henderson is the right person to assume this role. He’s had a broad range of experiences in leading three of our regions and in a number of other GM businesses over the years, and he’s made a tremendous contribution in each role. I look forward to working closely with Fritz and Bob Lutz, who so ably leads our global product development team, as we continue to implement the plan to transform General Motors for our second 100 years.

“Ray Young brings a wealth of finance and operating experience to the CFO role, including leading GM do Brasil to record business results in his most recent assignment. Tom Stephens’ promotion recognizes the huge role that advanced propulsion strategies will play in GM’s future, as well as Tom’s strong leadership and technical skills,” Wagoner added.

George Fisher, presiding director of the GM board of directors, commented, “GM is in the process of a remarkable transformation under Rick Wagoner’s strong leadership. Tremendous progress has been made. The promotion of Fritz Henderson to president and chief operating officer, along with Bob Lutz’s continued success at transforming our global product activities, and the promotions of Ray Young and Tom Stephens, will further solidify our leadership structure for today and the future. The GM board is excited about the direction that GM is headed and believes these executive appointments will further support our business strategy and the work that needs to be done to achieve our growth, technology leadership and financial objectives.”

Henderson and Young will report to Wagoner. Reporting to Henderson, in addition to Stephens, will be the four regional presidents; Troy Clarke, GM North America; Carl-Peter Forster, GM Europe; Maureen Kempston Darkes, GM Latin America, Africa and Middle East; and Nick Reilly, GM Asia-Pacific. Also reporting to Henderson will be Bo Andersson, group vice president, global purchasing and supply chain, and Gary Cowger, group vice president, global manufacturing and labor relations. The remaining global functional leaders and Vice Chairman Bob Lutz will continue to report to Wagoner.

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Carl-Peter Forster on Saab Automobile’s 3rd Saab Model

Posted on 07. Mar, 2007 by .

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This fresh in from the Geneva Motor Show.

Source: Market Watch

GM Executive Says 3rd Saab Model to Bring Brand to Profitability – DowJones Marketwatch

March 6, 2007

The head of General Motors Corp.’s European division said Tuesday that a third Saab model due to be launched will bring GM’s premium Swedish brand to above break-even level around 2010, while the company’s overall Russian sales may possibly be as high as 200,000 vehicles in 2007.

Speaking to a group of journalists at the Geneva Motor Show, Carl-Peter Forster hailed the recent turnaround at Saab, which saw annual sales growth of over 10% in 2006.

A year ago, GM was considering what to do with Saab, having been unable to make it profitable over several years. However, 2006 was a better year as the company brought down the cost base of the unit while at the same time improving sales through a revamped 9-5 range of models.

“The decision has been taken to grow the brand,” Forster said, and the soon-to-be-launched Saab sports utility vehicle and a revamp of its 9-3 model range should make the brand profitable.

Saab’s development of biofuel technology could also pay big dividends going forward, having already worked well in Sweden and grabbed some interest in the U.K., he said.

It “could very well be” that there will be heightened demand for biofuel-driven cars across Europe, he said, and the technology could also be a proposition in helping meet European Union lawmakers’ proposals to force down emissions of carbon dioxide from cars.

Forster conceded that for GM Europe as a whole, Western Europe remains highly competitive, but that growth in Russia is set to continue. Having sold 130,000 vehicles in Russia in 2006, GM could possibly hit 200,000 sales in that country this year, he said.
Most of the growth in sales is coming from GM’s South Korea-based Chevrolet brand, he said.

However, Forster said GM Europe had now put itself in a strong position in terms of brand positioning across Europe. Chevrolet is acting as the company’s low-cost brand, GM has improved revenue per vehicle at Vauxhall and Opel by improving the quality and options available on those vehicles, making them “upper mid-market brands,” while Saab and Cadillac are the company’s two growth brands, albeit from low bases, he said.

He dismissed the need for Opel or Vauxhall to produce a new low-cost car, saying Chevrolet is filling that segment with models like the Matiz and Lanos.

He said GM Europe is targeting a rise in profitability in 2007 over 2006. “I think Rick would be disappointed if the budget was below the 2006 number,” he said, referring to GM Chief Executive Rick Wagoner.

However, Forster dismissed media speculation that he could be set for a promotion to a global role at GM’s worldwide headquarters. “It’s rumors. It’s flattering, but it’s a little too much rumor. I’m happy where I am and I’m happy with the success we’re achieving,” he said.

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