Tag Archives: Detroit Free Press

Bankruptcy Judge Approves GM’s Sale Of Saab Automobile

Posted on 06. Jul, 2009 by .

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The Associated Press along with the Detroit Free Press and others has just learned that a federal bankruptcy judge in New York has approved GM’s plan to sell its assets, most importantly, Saab Automobile.

This is a good piece of news because it allows Saab Automobile to be officially sold to Koenigsegg. However, the big question is now, what will be considered “Old GM”, and what will be considered the “new GM”?

NEW YORK (AP) – A federal bankruptcy judge says General Motors can sell the bulk of its assets to a new company, potentially clearing the way for the automaker to quickly emerge from bankruptcy.

Saying “the only alternative to an immediate sale is liquidation,” Judge Robert Gerber ruled late last night in New York that the sale is needed to avoid “immediate and irreparable harm” to GM.

Assets that GM does not sell to the new company will become part of a separate “old GM” and will be sold to the highest bidder under court supervision.

The old GM will include properties such as a stamping plant in Indianapolis that is slated to close. Other assets to be filed under the old GM include brands like Hummer, Saturn and Saab, for which GM has lined up buyers.

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Saab Automobile AB Status Meeting Set For April 6th

Posted on 27. Mar, 2009 by .

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As I mentioned earlier, Saab Automobile is setting up their reconstruction mid-review status meeting for April 6th.

The Detroit Free Press has also updated us on this status meeting with an e-mail over to Joe Oliver, who works at Saab Automobile AB who is the Manager, Global Media Initiatives within the Mölnlycke facility just outside of Gothenburg, Sweden.

Update: Saab History has also just received a more detailed update from Saab Automobile’s Joe Oliver to augment this piece below, with a second follow-up from Joe saying that the Detroit Free Press piece is not 100% correct, and will be removing it per his suggestion.

Here is this brief summary below:

Joe Oliver to Saab History

Background:
On the 6th April there will be a creditors meeting which will be administered by the court of Vänersborg. Saab Automobile’s reorganization team, interested creditors and court staff will be in attendance. As a result of the meeting the court will determine if Saab is on track to proceed to the 3 month point in the reorganization process.

“This meeting will act as a “check-point” for the court to confirm that reorganization plans are moving forward as expected. Our primary focus has been for some time and continues to be to reorganize effectively and attract potential new investors – we are making good progress on both of these fronts.”

“We still plan to launch 3 new cars in the next 18 months and are very confident that Saab will move forward as a sustainable, profitable company.”

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Chinese Automotive Companies Express Interest In Saab?

Posted on 04. Mar, 2009 by .

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According to multiple news sources, from Forbes, to Reuters, Detroit Free press as well as Sweden’s The Local, apparently a number of potential buyers of Saab are Chinese automotive companies.

The two companies mentioned, are Geely Automobile in Shanghai and Dongfeng Motor Group. I wonder if they are also two out of the 7 or 8 potential companies interested in buying Saab Automobile AB at this time?

The first time we heard that Saab Automobile AB could be sold to a Chinese Automotive company, was back in 2005, when this road to independence began, where there were rumors of being sold to Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation (SAIC) according to SVT.

Dongfeng, is interesting however because they have partnered with Peugeot/Citroen as well as KIA in China. Furthermore, Dongfeng is 51% owner of Nissan! Perhaps we’re seeing a connection here?

In the meantime, I have contacted, Geely Automobile, Dongfeng Motor Group and Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation (SAIC) as well as Nissan Corporation, to see what they have to say here on Saab History about this.

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Saab History On The General Motors Press Conference

Posted on 18. Feb, 2009 by .

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The General Motors Press Conference Took Place On 6:30pm and ran for nearly an hour until 7:30pm, on February 17th, 2009.

I managed to capture the dialog from what was said with specific attention to Saab Automobile by what the GM Execs have said in addition to what they have said in response to the questions that the journalists both in person and on the phone have asked:

It’s clear General Motors wants “nothing” to do with Saab Automobile AB at all, and could offer GM technology if Saab Automobile were able to “buy” it from them.

The writing on the wall for Saab Automobile AB in terms of General Motors future with them was indicated by none other than Rick Wagoner’s response to Mark Phelan of the Detroit Free Press when asked if there could be a third option with Saab if they aren’t sold or owned by the Swedish Government:

Rick Wagoneer, CEO of GM: “I do not see any continued ownership of Saab”

So, Saab Automobile in the words of GM, have NO future with General Motors at all, so it’s either Saab becomes an independent company and/or sold to a new company because the Swedish Government has expressed that they are also not interested in “owning” Saab Automobile.

What really got under my skin is Rick Wagoneer’s second answer to I believe it was a journalist from Auto Magazine who called in asking if Saab could “buy” GM technology if they got spun off or sold.

Rick Wagoneer, CEO of GM”:: “Yes, Saab could buy the GM technology if that happened, yes”

This really sickens me because this was originally Saab’s innovations and technology, and now Saab Automobile may have to buy their own technology back again?? Not nice at all.

Here is my recap below verbatim:

6:33pm – Thanked Sweden for helping with the plan

6:35pm – GM has conducted a strategic review of the global Saab business and has offered it for sale. Given the urgency of stemming sizeable cash demands associated with Saab operations, GM is requesting Swedish government support prior to any sale. The company has developed a specific proposal that would have the effect of capping GM’s financial support, with Saab’s operations effectively becoming an independent business entity Jan. 1, 2010. While GM hopes to reach agreement with the Swedish government, the Saab Automobile AB subsidiary could file for reorganization as early as this month.

6:36pm GM’s Rick Wagoner indicates that the PR version of the “GM 2009 – 2014 Restructuring Plan” which you can download directly at this link here.

7:00pm – Swedish Journalist in person asks question: How have you been treated in your relations with the Swedish Government regarding the Saab situation?

Fritz Henderson: “We haven’t found a solution yet, has the highest regard”. Fritz Henderson has no difficulties with how they have been treated by the Swedish Government.

7:06pm – Auto Magazine calls in: Could Saab buy GM technology if they were to be spun off?

Rick Wagoneer: Yes, Saab could buy the GM technology if that happened, yes.

7:12pm – Mark Phelan, Detroit Free Press: Talks that if Saab not sold, there will be a 3rd option if the Swedish Government does not take it?

Rick Wagoneer: “I do not see any continued ownership of Saab”

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U.S. Treasury To Give GM A Second Loan For $5.4 Billion

Posted on 06. Jan, 2009 by .

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Photo Credit: Saab History

The U.S. Treasury has just indicated plans on providing GM a second loan for $5.4 on Jan 16th, following the first loan for $4 billion just last week according to the Detroit Free Press.

I thought that the $4 billion was supposed to hold GM over until March? GM needed to prove that it was worthy of it with a written report due by February 17th, so what does this do shelling out more cash to GM prior to providing such proof that they are worthy? This is not a good precident to set for GM, because now GM is probably thinking that no matter what they do, they don’t really need to prove anything because they’ll get money no matter what from the general public.

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Detroit Free Press Underestimates Saab Automobile’s Future

Posted on 24. Dec, 2008 by .

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Mark Phelan of the Detroit Free Press has recently written an article about why he believes that Saab Automobile won’t be bought from GM anytime soon.

He indicates the following, while true, misses the entire point of a company which would choose to buy Saab:

“Saab has never made a dime for GM, but it has contributed to the automaker. It’s been a test bed for alternative-fuel technology with ethanol-burning cars that account for a huge chunk of its sales in Sweden.

Like Volvo, Saab provides great expertise in safety. Saab’s leadership in turbocharging helped GM develop the fuel-efficient engines that will push the 2011 Chevrolet Cruze’s fuel economy well past 40 m.p.g. on the highway.”

It’s not what Saab Automobile provides to GM, because let’s be frank, GM has exploited Saab Automobile since December of 1989 when it was officially purchased for “less than” what FIAT was originally offering. Fiat offered $780 million, GM of course offered lower at $600 million.

This relationship began as a lower bid offer, and for some reason the Wallenberg’s Investor AB allowed Saab Automobile AB to be sold for less than FIAT’s offering. When you begin a relationship with a buyer that offers less as the first business transaction, the precident has already been set in stone. Over the course of the past 19 years, GM has continued this idea by always investing “less than needed” in the company, and as a result, Saab Automobile has suffered and has been reduced to a brand that GM finally admits they are selling.

If we look at all of what Saab has done for GM, not vice versa, we begin to see the nature of this single-sided relationship, such as the lack of investment in seeing the brand profitable, the transfer of Saab’s technologies to the rest of their portfolio (9-5x /Opel Insignia, 9-4x/Cadillac SRX, Saab 9-3 /Cadillac BLS, 9-7x/Chevy Trailblazer, Saab’s Direct Ignition now in new GM SUV’s, Chevy Malibu’s 5-star safety rating from Saab’s Engineering Team, 4-cylinder turbocharged engines to be in Chevy Cobalts, etc.), a depletion of existing 2009 inventory (ie. 9-7x, 9-5 and 9-3 models) coupled with the never ending desire to produce concept cars not for consumers, but for perspective buyers to see value in buying the brand for its future. It should finally be obvious to us all now what the plan is/was, of course now in restrospect.

GM has never seen the relationship with Saab as a two-way street, it was just a way to build their other brands exploiting Saab along the way. After nearly twenty years of damage to the brand, GM decides to start thinking about dumping them after they’ve exhausted all possible technologies, resources, staff, etc. If the next company chooses to go the same route as GM, they will be in for a problem, however if they choose the high road, by making a significantly “long-term” and sustained investment in a winner (ie. Saab Automobile), they will see the fruits via their committment towards the brand. The market is already in Saab Automobile’s lap. the new owner needs some significant on-board intelligence to see this and realize the untapped market potential which GM chose not to realize for Saab.

I end this response to Mark Phelan and the Detroit Free Press with a clear message: Saab has done more for GM than GM has done for Saab, and if you do some serious research into Saab’s history and the facts, you may come across the real details as to what has actually transpired in this relationship over the years.

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General Motors To Merge With Chrysler?

Posted on 31. Oct, 2008 by .

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There has been a tremendous amount of news coverage lately speculating on discussions between General Motors & Chrysler about a possible merger.

This merger apparently will require United States taxpayers another 10 billion dollars in addition to the already requested 25 Billion dollars.

Here’s a question, why not put this vote on the November ballot asking us taxpayers if we want to allow you to merge, since you’re planning on using our money?

Secondly, where is Saab in all of this, just more reprioritization from GM that won’t ever come Saabs way now that they are focusing on a merger? GM holds the crown jewel (Saab), but think that it makes sense to focus on merging with a completely different company instead of turning the brand that they own, around for a profit.

I for one won’t approve of anymore bureaucratic mergers, acquisitions, if given the chance to vote on it, this is just more “shuffling of the deck chairs of the titanic”…

I leave you with a growing list of reputable news outlets covering this developing story over the past week:

The Los Angeles Times “In Troubled Times..”

Reuters “GM Chrysler Merger..

Wall Street Journal“Chrysler Faces Massive Cuts in a GM Deal”

Detroit Free Press “Why help for GM, Chrysler seems to be coming soon”

Autoblog “GM merger would eliminate Chrysler vehicles”

Business Week “GM’s Latest Retooling: The Chrysler Merger”

CFO “Will GM Take Driver’s Seat at Chrysler?”

CNN Money “GM, Chrysler Face Liquidity Challenges Even With Merger -S&P”

Bloomberg “GM Rises on Report Issues Resolved in Chrysler Merger”

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