Tag Archives: Chrysler

Breaking: Swedish Goverment Meets With GM

Posted on 19. Dec, 2009 by .

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The Autoblog has been the first news source that reports that the Swedish Government is meeting with GM about the Saab decision at this time.

I am hoping that not only are they requiring that GM give them the details, but moreover, they both work on a solution in saving Saab Automobile.

Will provide more details as they arise:

Less than a day after General Motors officially announced Saab’s euthanization, it looks like the storied Swedish brand might still have the faintest whisper of a pulse. Motor Trend is reporting that there are rumors swirling that the Swedish government will hold emergency meetings this weekend to try to save Saab. At least some government officials apparently feel that Saab is too important to fail… now where have we heard that before? With such a small population, the closure of Saab could have a major impact on the nation’s economy, much like the failure of GM (and Chrysler, to a lesser extent) was viewed as potentially catastrophic in the States.

Some 3,400 employees will be jobless when GM completes its planned “orderly wind down” starting in January. That estimate doesn’t include workers from the 1,100 Saab dealers that will also be shuttered around the globe.

Despite the failed selloff, things look like they’re picking up at The General. The automaker announced yesterday that they had paid back the first $1 billion TARP money they borrowed from us the U.S. government. BAIC, Koenigsegg, Spyker and others had attempted to jump into the Saab fire-sale, but all have come out burned. Well, BAIC at least scored tooling for the old 9-3 and current 9-5. With a new-for 2010 9-5 having taken the stage at auto shows around the globe in recent months and the 9-4X in the wings, we’d love to see all of the Saab faithful get an early Christmas gift. We’re definitely not holding our breath, but we’ll keep you posted through the weekend should anything materialize.

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Saab History Welcomes Tynan’s Saab As Sponsor

Posted on 22. Jul, 2009 by .

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It is an honor to welcome Tynan’s Saab of Fort Collins, Colorado as a sponsor of Saab History. Tynan’s Saab, dedicated and locally owned Saab dealership, also a sponsor of the 2009 Saab Owners Convention, also in Colorado is excited about the future of Saab with Koenigsegg behind the wheel.

After many years trying to acquire the Saab franchise, please give it up for Tynan’s Saab for their 10-year anniversary this month as a Saab dealership!
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Fiat President Sergio Marchionne, Speaks About Saab Automobile Interest In Bloomberg Interview

Posted on 07. May, 2009 by .

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TTELA reports that Fiat chief, Sergio Marchionne who interviewed with Bloomberg recently, has said the following about Saab Automobile.

Fiat chief condemns Saab’s ability to achieve success on their own. “The Saab is too small” “says Marchionne.

“We could combine Saab with another brand, “says Marchionne. Saab has a network of dealers in the U.S. market. It would be a shame not to use it.

For starters, a while ago, I was interested in the thought about Fiat, Saab’s original planned owner back in 1989, coming about and being a new owner twenty years later.

However, with all of the dialogue about Fiat wanting to be a huge company, I now feel that it makes me think that we could be experiencing economies of scale that would loose sight on the intricate details of a unique Saab all over again with that kind of relationship.

There are a few things that scare me in what Marchionne said to Bloomberg, where he states “Saab is too small”, and secondly, that they would “combine Saab with another brand”, presumably opel? I believe that this idea, would clearly undermine all of the work Saab has done to become independent, so to do a 180 and undo a reconstruction process to independence would be ignorant, failing to see the forest through the trees.

However, the last of the three lines Bloomberg quoted Marchionne, I do agree with. The quote involves the dealerships where Marchionne says “Saab has a network of dealerships in the U.S. (225 to be exact), and it would be a shame not to use it”. I agree with this like I said, but using the dealership to merge Saab into the ether with another car (Fiat or Alfa) that gets huge economies of scale, eventually diluting Saab into a Fiat, then to dust, then I have to disagree.

I want Saab Automobile to live on as a car company, not an “engineering only” facility nor a past memory, I want Saab to continue their pursuit for independence free to plan, choose and think as they feel fit.

I leave you with the TTELA piece below.

While all the focus is directed against Fiat’s plans to incorporate Saab and Opel in a new major group, the Saab is working on with his own hunt for a new owner..

In parallel with the Saab-track continues to Geely paired with Volvo, which is also for sale.
Yesterday also clarified Fiat boss Sergio Marchionne its interest in Saab.
In an interview with American news agency Bloomberg called his Saab for “an interesting opportunity”.

Fiat chief condemns Saab’s ability to achieve success on their own. The Saab is too small, “says Marchionne.
– We could combine Saab with another brand, “says Marchionne. Saab has a network of dealers in the U.S. market. It would be a shame not to use it.

What Sergio Marchionne believes in combining Saab with another brand develops he is not in the interview.
Sergio Marchionne made his statements on the Saab in connection with a visit to the USA, where he is to discuss a merger with Chrysler.

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Saab History Receives Book “Saab-Ana The First 50 Years”

Posted on 04. May, 2009 by .

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Saab History has just received the book “Saab-Ana The First 50 Years”. This book published in 1987 and written by acclaimed Anders Tunberg, showcases how Saab & ANA collaborated over the years including the involvement with Chrysler & Dodge which was also a part of ANA when Saab overtook ANA to create Saab-ANA in 1960.

This relationship lasted approximately 9 years, until Saab merged with SCANIA to create the historic Saab-Scania partnership in 1969.

Sten Wennlo, who started with ANA in 1957, responsible for ensuring that the Saab 99 Turbo came into production in 1977 was interviewed last year. I suggest you listen to our interview together that took place last year at the 2008 Saab Owners Convention as there is a lot of great information about the partnership and a number of important Saab milestones as well.

I leave you with a very interesting photograph of what the Saab-ANA dealerships in Sweden looked like, this one taken in somewhere between 1964 and 1966 in Stockholm. Interesting to see Saab, Chrysler & Dodge in the same showroom, isn’t it? I wonder if that would happen again with the possible Fiat/ Chrysler/GM Europe dialogue taking place in the news as of late?

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I have added this book to both the physical Saab history library as well as the online Saab History library for our reference, which marks 50 books in the library.

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Fiat Group’s President, Sergio Marchionne To Present Plan Of Large European Car Company With Chrysler, GM Europe

Posted on 03. May, 2009 by .

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The Financial Times Reports that Fiat is planning on presenting a plan to create a large european car company with Chrysler and General Motors Europe to transform the automotive landscape.

It finally looks like what I heard about a long time ago, may be going through with Fiat & General Motors Europe’s new group.

The question at this time is, what does that mean for Saab Automobile as well given that they are still currently part of General Motors Europe?

Here are some excerpts from the column.

Sergio Marchionne, Fiat chief executive, is on Monday due to outline plans to transform the global automotive landscape by spinning off Fiat’s core cars division, joining it with Chrysler and General Motors Europe, and creating a new publicly traded European car company.

Mr Marchionne wants Italy’s largest industrial group to separate Fiat Auto from its other divisions, join them with Opel / Vauxhall, Saab, and GM’s other European operations, and Fiat’s stake in Chrysler to create a company with about €80bn ($106bn) of revenues and sales of 6m-7m vehicles a year – second to Toyota, more than Renault / Nissan or Ford Motor, or GM itself, and roughly as many as Volkswagen.

Mr Marchionne had spoken of spinning off Fiat Auto from the group’s Iveco trucks, CNH farm and construction equipment, and Ferrari / Maserati luxury divisions as long ago as 2004.

In an interview with the Financial Times, Mr Marchionne said: “From an engineering and industrial point of view, this is a marriage made in heaven”.

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Fiat Considering To Partner With GM Europe?

Posted on 20. Apr, 2009 by .

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The Motor Authority & “Hotstocked” are reporting that Fiat, the company that got away from Saab Automobile back in 1989, is back in the news again this week. Apparently, Fiat is planning on partnering with GM Europe in addition to their attempts to partner with Chrysler in case that goes south.

I am interested in this news because it sounds like the original story I heard back in January about GM Europe forming a new auto group with Fiat.

What is interesting about this is that the Motor Authority says that the partnership will not include Saab. I sure hope they are wrong as I’d like to see Fiat partnering with Saab, even though it’s 20 years too late. Furthermore, I wonder who their “source” was that provided this information. What do you think?

Here is Motor Authorities quote:

While Fiat and Chrysler are desperately trying to secure an alliance here in the United States, the Italian side of the duo is also reportedly considering an alliance with General Motors’ core operations in Europe and Latin America. If all goes ahead, a merged Fiat and Chrysler, along with the GM operations, would become the world’s second-largest auto group.

The latest information comes from a source familiar with the matter, who revealed to Automotive News that talks between Fiat and GM are in the early phase and are not an alternative to Fiat’s ongoing negotiations with Chrysler. The GM operations involved would include the Opel and Vauxhall brands in Europe and GM Latin America in South America. Not included is Saab and Chevrolet’s European operations.

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Saab Automobile May Become Engineering Contractor, Bloomberg Speculates

Posted on 30. Mar, 2009 by .

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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
Trollhättan:

March 30 (Bloomberg) — General Motors Corp.’s Saab Automobile, the Swedish carmaker that filed for bankruptcy protection, may become an engineering contractor for other manufacturers if it can’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. Saab’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. Saab’s heritage as a maker of turbo-loaded luxury vehicles may instead attract other carmakers seeking a subcontractor with engineering, safety and design credentials.

“The longer the sales process goes on, the harder it is to see Saab finding a buyer and then all options are viable,” said Stephen Pope, chief global strategist at Cantor Fitzgerald in London. “If Saab’s management can draw on its strong lineage, they could be seen as a design specialist that adds flurry to other models.”

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 management’s priority is to move production to Sweden and introduce three new models in the next 18 months, spokesman Joe Oliver said.

Lamborghini, Alfa

Saab has drawn interest from rivals as well as investment companies and is looking for a buyer who is “financially strong” and offers “long-term ownership and commitment,” 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 Saab’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 Saab’s priority is to emerge from reorganization and pool production in Sweden.

Saab’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 shouldn’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 akirchfeld@bloomberg.net

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Saab Automobile AB & Fiat/Alfa Romeo?, Continued.

Posted on 27. Mar, 2009 by .

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The Fiat dialogue returns as the examiner has discussed that there have been “internal” discussions with Saab Automobile & Fiat, now that it looks like the Fiat / Chrysler deal will be falling through.

Fiat, headquartered in Torino, Italy, has previously worked with Saab Automobile on the Fiat/Lancia/Alfa Romeo Saab 600 and later and well known Saab 9000 platforms in the late seventies. In fact, Fiat continued to work with Saab Automobile many years later on the Saab 9-5’s successor “premium” platform, until General Motors shelved it in 2002 that was supposed to debut in 2005.

I think that a new group could emerge with Saab Automobile & Fiat as previously mentioned in Sweden’s Expression, that involves Saab Automobile, Fiat & Alfa Romeo.

Let’s look at it for a moment, Fiat & Alfa Romeo are planning on re-entering the United States market, and what a better way to do that with an established dealership network of 226 dealerships, 76 of which are exclusive that are eagerly awaiting new product. I could certainly see a Fiat/Alfa-Romeo/Saab dealership, much better than the Saab/Hummer Cadillac dealership combination, wouldn’t you think? Fiat’s products are right-sized and may include the possibility of bringing diesel to the United States given their power train lineups. Historically in the United States Saab dealerships also sold both the Alfa-Romeo as well as Fiat. One example I can provide you right now, was Dean Hill Motors in New Hampshire that sold FIAT & SAABs. This dealership combination has had happened before in multiple dealerships, so I don’t see why it could not come back again.

I would say that a joint partnership with Fiat would be about twenty years overdue since Fiat was originally supposed to be the owner of Saab Automobile in 1989, not GM.

Here’s hoping we see more details with Fiat & Saab Automobile coming into full focus.

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Production Concept