Tag Archives: Executive

Saab Cars North America Announces New Headquarters

Posted on 16. Mar, 2010 by .

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Saab History has just received the official press release from Saab Cars North America.

Saab Cars North America Announces New Headquarters

* Saab Cars North America to reside in Royal Oak, Michigan
* Company to invest $2.4 million to enhance North American Sales and Marketing Operations
* Over 2000 jobs to be retained or created over the next few years

DETROIT – Saab Cars North America today announced that its headquarters will reside in Royal Oak, Michigan, creating or retaining approximately 2000 jobs in North America. The company will invest $2.4 million to enhance its U.S. Sales and Marketing operations. Saab Automobile AB was recently purchased by the Dutch automobile company, Spyker Cars NV.

“Saab Cars North America appreciates the assistance and cooperation of the City of Royal Oak and the Governor’s office in helping make the company’s decision a reality during tough economic times,” said Mike Colleran, President and COO, Saab Cars North America. “As a direct result in acquiring local and state assistance, we look forward to renewing our U.S. presence as an independent, premium luxury automotive brand with Swedish heritage while maintaining our loyal following and potentially attracting new customers.”

“From advanced batteries to homeland security and life sciences to building materials, companies across all industry sectors are choosing Michigan for their growth plans, because our state is a great state in which to do business,” Governor Granholm said.

The State of Michigan Economic Development Council worked with the City of Royal Oak to secure the project. Governor Granholm approved a state tax credit, with local contribution by the City of Royal Oak, for a total benefit of $1.4 million over five years to encourage the company to expand in Michigan versus other competing states.

“This is tremendous news for Oakland County. While the county continues to transform into a knowledge-based economy through my Emerging Sectors, Medical Main Street and Automation Alley initiatives, the automobile industry still employs a large segment of our workforce. This affirms that we remain the global center of the auto industry. Credit is due to the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, my Economic Development Department and Royal Oak,” said L. Brooks Patterson, Oakland County Executive.

Saab entered the auto business in 1949 with the first model 92. Its aerodynamic shape and advanced technology drew from the company’s roots as an aircraft maker and helped create what was to become a loyal and passionate customer base. GM acquired a 50 percent stake in Saab in 1990 and acquired the balance of Saab in 2000. As part of its strategy to focus on its four strongest brands in the U.S., GM began seeking a buyer for Saab in January 2009, a concerted effort that led to Spyker Cars NV purchasing Saab Automobile AB from General Motors on February 23, 2010.

For more information and a listing of Saab dealerships, please visit the website: www.saabusa.com.

CONTACT:
Michelle Tinson
Saab Cars North America
Phone: 248-705-0604

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What Would Bob Sinclair Have Said About All Of This?

Posted on 21. Dec, 2009 by .

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What would Bob Sinclair have said about all of this situation with Saab & GM over the last 20 years? This is what automotive news has recently written as a focus on the ongoing situation with Saab with reference to Bob Sinclair, Saab’s former chief in the United States for many years.

Here’s the article referenced below:

If this truly is the end of Saab, maybe it’s just as well Bob Sinclair isn’t around to see it.

Sinclair, who died in May at age 77, made Saab a success in the United States. As head of U.S. operations in the 1980s, he pushed his reluctant Swedish bosses to add content and luxury to their cars.

We forget just how well Saab was doing in this country a couple of decades ago, nearly hitting sales of 50,000 units before the October 1987 stock market crash. Saab was quirky, but also cool.

Think how hard it is these days to take a brand upmarket. You have to marvel at Sinclair, who retired in 1991. In fact, Saab may be the last brand to make a successful transition from downmarket to upmarket — here or anywhere.

In December 1989, General Motors was cash-flush and distressed that it had lost out to Ford in bidding for Jaguar. So GM acquired half of Saab. Several years later, it bought the rest.
[…]

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Koenigsegg CEO Still Aims For Saab Deal By October

Posted on 27. Sep, 2009 by .

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Koenigsegg’s CEO, Christian Von Koenigsegg, whom I interviewed a few weeks ago in Frankfurt, says that the deal to acquire Saab Automobile is still on track to be completed by the end of October according to Reuters.

This news comes immediately following a mis-interpreted story about Koenigsegg Group’s co-owner, BÃ¥rd Eker.

It’s good to know that the Koenigsegg Group is on the ball when it comes to the news about them as their process in securing the deal with Saab by October gets closer.

Koenigsegg CEO says still aims for Saab deal in October

Saturday, September 26, 2009; 11:16 AM

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) – Koenigsegg’s top executive said on Saturday the luxury sport scar maker still aimed to finalize a deal to buy Saab Automobile from General Motors by the end of October.

Koenigsegg Chief Executive and part owner Christian von Koenigsegg also told Reuters that good progress was being made in talks to secure Swedish state guarantees for billions of crowns of loans from the European Investment Bank (EIB).

“Our deadline for the deal still remains the end of October as we have previously said,” he said

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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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The Saab Automobile AB Management Board

Posted on 19. Feb, 2009 by .

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The Saab Automobile AB Management board are deciding Saab’s future in their discussions with General Motors & the Swedish Government. I am interested in what became of the meeting because those results would presumably set the direction for Saab’s process towards financial as well as organizational independence from General Motors.

cph.jpgThe individuals that this board consist of their chairman, Carl-Peter Forster as well as the rest of the management board of Saab Automobile AB.

I am wondering if Percy Barnevik who resigned from GM’s Management board earlier this month, is a consultant to this board now or is he totally retired?

In the meantime, here is the Management Board for your reference.

management_board.jpg

Jan Ã…ke Jonsson Managing Director of Saab Automobile
Kjell Bergström Managing Director, CEO of General Motors Powertrain Sweden
Executive Director, Advanced Engineering, General Motors Powertrain Europe
Jürgen Burghardt Executive Director Manufacturing
Johan Formgren Director Saab Global Aftersales
Eric Geers Director Communications
Kristina Geers General Counsel, Saab Automobile AB
Lars Hägerborg Finance Director, Saab Automobile AB
Martin Larsson Director GME Global Purchasing & Supply Chain
Jörgen Nylén Vehicle Line Director
Simon Padian Director Design
Allan Rothlind Director Personnel
Steve Shannon General Manager of Saab USA
Jonathan Nash, Managing Director, Saab Great Britain Limited
Knut Simonsson Executive Director Global Brand & Sales Operations, Saab
HÃ¥kan Skarin CIO Information Systems & Services
Anders Svensson Vehicle Line Director

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GM Europes’s Chairman Carl Peter Forster At NAIAS Speaks On Future of Saab Automobile

Posted on 13. Jan, 2009 by .

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GM Europe’s Chairman Carl Peter Forster, who I interviewed last year, was interviewed this year at the NAIAS where he speaks about the future of Saab Automobile.

He believes that the future of Saab Automobile will be predominately coming from the Swedish Government, even though there will be aid coming from the European Investment bank.

Assistance from the Swedish state is the only way Saab Automobile can bring any new models to market, a General Motors (GM) executive said over the weekend.

* GM denies problems selling Saab brand (9 Jan 09)
* Agency condemns Sweden’s GMO labeling as ‘misleading’ (20 Dec 08)
* Sweden to launch car industry aid package (11 Dec 08)

“We are dependent on it,” said President of GM Europe Carl-Peter Forster during a press conference with Swedish journalists at the Detroit Auto Show at the weekend.

“A lot of money is needed in 2009 and 2010 and financing is hard to come by everywhere. One alternative is to sell Saab,” he added.

Forster explained, however, that one previous effort undertaken by GM to sell Saab a few months ago was unsuccessful.

“Now we’re not really talking to any buyers because we first need to go through the company,” he said.

A key challenge for Saab is the ability to expand its number of available models.

Last year, the company saw its sales drop by 25 percent, resulting in the sale of around 93,000 cars – the same number of Saab’s sold back in 1990.

A follow up to Saab’s 9-5 model, which is built in Germany, is a long way off, as are plans for the SUV-like 9-4X, which is to be built in Mexico.

And now the economic crisis has put a further crimp in Saab’s plans for the future.

“We need Swedish money in order to get the cars to market,” said Forster.
[…]

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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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Saab History Visits Shaw Saab – Norwell, MA

Posted on 10. Nov, 2008 by .

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95_mavic_600.jpg

Photo Credit: Saab History

On Saturday, November 8th, I departed on a journey to visit Saab History site sponsor, Shaw Saab in Norwell, Massachusetts.

The day began with a number of Saab sightings, beginning with a talladega Red Saab 900 SPG in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, a Lightening Blue Saab 9-3 Viggen and finally just prior to approaching the dealership, a Saab XWD bulletin board ad in Boston on the Southbound only lane of Interstate 93.

As I arrived at Shaw Saab I was excited to see the owner’s 1972 SAAB 95 Wagon proudly displayed out front of the building’s modern facade. Upon entering the dealership, I was greeted by the owner, Fred Shaw Jr. and introduced to his Father, Fred Shaw Sr., who started the dealership all the way back in 1968. That location was nearby the former port in Hingham, Massachusetts, the first arrival port of SAABs in the United States. Today, this Saab exclusive dealership is now located conveniently off of route 3, and continues to uphold its unparalleled commitment to customer service since Fred Shaw Jr. and his Brother, Raymond in Service, Warranty and Parts were handed over the torch in 1992.

After the initial meet and greet, I was invited for a tour of the dealership along with my wife in addition to my friend, Carl. This tour included the sales, service and parts areas to personal introductions of each staff member. I was amazed to hear that “most” of his staff have been with the company has been retained for nearly 10+ years and a few 20, including to a Swede by the name of Karl-Erik as well as a former Saab Cars USA executive staffer, Rick Cutler who formerly worked at Executive Boulevard in Orange, Connecticut, Saab USA’s former home. Shaw Saab by far, has one of the most impressive array of backgrounds at a Saab exclusive dealership that I have ever experienced, and what’s more, I did not get the chance to meet everyone yet!

I can say that, this Saab dealership facility, new in 2005, is absolutely state of the art and with a staff that is extremely professional, knowledgeable and just about everything that they do, it is no surprise that customers continue coming back to Shaw Saab year after year. From Boston’s Sara Edwards to the widow of Walter Kern (creator of the SAAB Quantums and electric Sonett III), customer loyalty is maintained through customer service.

During my visit, I also had the opportunity to explore a number of vintage photo albums covering years of Saab history here in the United States in addition to Shaw Saab’s own unique history with the Saab brand as well. While the material was a bit overwhelming, even for me, I began to realize another visit was necessary in order to capture the photos and information as a whole.

While I was looking through the last of the photos with the owner, Fred Shaw Jr., I spotted, out of the corner of my eye, a yellow “Mavic” 2008 Saab 9-3 Mavic SportCombi driving down Pond Street in front of the dealership. When we got up to look at it through the office window, we presumed it would be driving into the dealership, but after we saw it pass both entrances, we decided to head for the nearest available vehicle, and chase it down as inquiring minds wanted to know why it was in the neighborhood. As we hit the accelerator on the 9-7x 5.3i out front, we fast approached the “Mavic” SportCombi, pulled into a nearby convenience car, and began running towards the Saab now turning around. Out of breath, I reached this yellow Saab first and asked the driver, “hello, did you miss the turn and are now heading back to Shaw Saab?” In response, the driver told me that he was heading to get a Taco for lunch and would be able to meet us later at the dealer.

Approximately 15 minutes later, the Saab 9-3 SportCombi “Mavic” arrived on site and we were outside asking questions of the driver and employee of Mavic USA by the name of Pete who operates out of Mavic’s Haverhill, MA office. Through an in-depth dialog out in front of the dealership, I have found that there are 5 of these vehicles along with 2 9-7x utility vehicles nationwide. I have also found out that the Saab USA – Mavic partnership began this February and will be up for review again in February 2009. While I see this to be an interesting vehicle, and certainly a head-turner with its color and labeling, I realized that there were a lot of opportunities even with dealerships that could be had with this partnership.

This experience rounded out the day, and as we thanked the folks at Shaw Saab for their time, we couldn’t stop thinking about how incredible the Shaw Saab dealership experience was as we headed over to the other Swedish company, IKEA.

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Production Concept