Tag Archives: Koenigsegg

Saab Automobile’s Fate To Be Determined This Week

Posted on 28. Dec, 2009 by .

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This is it, this is the last and final week that Saab Automobile’s fate is to be determined. This fate will ultimately be decided by GM, and here’s hoping that the decision to sell the company to the known entities Spyker Cars, Merbanco or other rumored parties goes as planned.

It was year ago this month when GM indicated that they were planning on selling Saab by the end of 2009. Over the course of this year, Saab had undergone a complete reorganization over 6-months. During that time, Saab Automobile developed a business plan which is to be used for their new independent ownership.

Their original buyer Koenigsegg terminated their program to buy Saab in November which created more pressure for Saab and GM to get things moving, and that’s when Spyker Cars publicly announced their bid. This initial bid however,, was rejected and on December 18th, GM indicated that Saab was to be wound down. Immediately following this rejection, Spyker Cars submitted a revised bid and that has been in process ever since. Immediately following this revised bid, GM made a statement indicating that they still were pursuing interested parties that wanted to buy Saab. These other known and unknown interested parties that also want to buy Saab Automobile, have not made any public statements about such interest at this time.

We have now arrived at the remaining four days for such a deal to be completed. I have said it before and I will say it again, I cannot see a future without Saab Automobile, so here’s hoping a deal is completed prior to the end of the day, Thursday, December 31st, 2009.

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Eker Design Group Sends Saab Aero-X-Mass Holiday Wish

Posted on 24. Dec, 2009 by .

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eker

Eker Design Group, the company owned by Bård Eker of the Koenigsegg Group that previously withdrew their bid to buy Saab back in November, sends an early holiday wish to Saab with card Saab History received from them.

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TTELA Provides Entire GM Press Conference Recap (Long)

Posted on 19. Dec, 2009 by .

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Trollhattan, Sweden’s TTELA provides the entire recap of the GM Press Conference that took place this morning where they indicated that are now planning on winding Saab down.

This is quite long.

Publicerad 18 december 2009 Uppdaterad 19 december 2009

GM:s presskonferens i sin helhet
TROLLHÄTTAN Här är presskonferensen med GM:s vice vd, John Smith, i sin helhet, tyvärr bara på engelska – vi försöker återkomma med en svensk version.

Here is the full length version of the press conference with GM Vice President John Smith compiled by TTELA on GM winding down the Saab brand. Different American, Brittish and Swedish journalists are asking the questions.

In the press release you said issues arose during due diligence. To be clear, that is due diligence that you performed on Spyker or the diligence that Spyker performed on Saab, and what kind of issues arose?

– If you read the press release carefully, what the language says, certain issues arose on both parties which we didn’t believed could be resolved at the time we had available to ourselves. And at this point frankly I’m not going to add very much meat on that set of bones. Everybody worked really hard and not with very much time for a transaction of this type. Everybody appreciate we have been sorting through potential investors for Saab for the better part of this calendar year – after identifying Saab as a brand that we would either sell or wind down back in February as a part of our viability plan. We’ve spent quite a bit of time then and now with one potential investor, Koenigsegg, and got very close, but in the end Koenigsegg discovered some issues they didn’t think they would overcome and elected to withdraw. When I say we didn’t have very much time basically from the middle last month to now to restart, if you will, an investor process in a incredible short period of time, and Spyker was the one candidate we thought there might be a chance to conclude on the due diligence on both sides. Both sides did it with a lot of hard work, lot of support by the way from the Swedish government, and in the end we couldn’t conclude. And at this point I’m not going to get more specific on the issues on either side.

Was there a problem getting a loan from the EIB?

– I would say we were still in discussions as of this morning with the European Investment Bank who were pitching in to the best degrees that we could. We did not as of this morning have that part of the deal done, so it would fair to say that was still an open point.

When was the discussion closed with Spyker?

– We formally closed things this morning, a short time ago, I don’t have the exact time. There were meetings this morning In Stockholm with the Swedish government and representatives from Spyker and General Motors.
[…]

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Saab Sells Old 9-5 To BAIC According To Reports

Posted on 04. Dec, 2009 by .

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Reuters reports that Saab Automobile has now officially sold the old Saab 9-5 to Beijing Automotive Industrial Company (BAIC).

We heard about this back in September, but did not realize that the process would be done before the end of the year.

The question I have now though is that while the old Saab 9-5 sedan is now out of production, what will happen to the old Saab 9-5 wagon as it is supposed to continue production in Sweden until early March. […]

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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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Saab Dealerships In Canada To Continue

Posted on 18. Nov, 2009 by .

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Saab History has covered the status of Saab dealerships in Canada earlier this fall, but now there seems to be a good resolution in place.

Evidently, according to the global and mail, the dealerships will continue by Saab Cars North America working directly with distributor, International Fleet Sales, Inc. of California to make it all happen.

While this is positive news, how is it that so many of these dealerships have been told that they are to close, and now many months later, they are asked to stay?

Saab’s history in Canada started in 1975 with a distributor, so continuing this plan will not be any different than it was since it began.

Here’s the story below.

canadaflag1.jpg

Saab, one of four brands being jettisoned or sold by General Motors Co., will continue in Canada under new ownership and a smaller dealer network, Canadian dealers say.
[…]

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Saab Cars North America Picks 137 Saab Dealers For Future, While GM Terminates 81 Saab Dealers In The U.S.

Posted on 13. Nov, 2009 by .

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Photo Credit: Saab Automobile USA

Saab History has confirmed reports from Reuters, and Automotive News this morning about the selection process of Saab Dealerships in the U.S.

According Mike Colleran of the SCNA, the new Saab organization in the U.S. has chosen 137 Saab Dealers that were best positioned for the future, to continue as sales, service and parts retailers in the United States.

In parallel, GM Terminates 81 Saab Dealers that did not meet the criteria for potential throughput, profitability and other criteria that the new new owners of Saab Automobile set.

The results of this process boils down to approximately 37% out of the existing 218 Saab dealerships in the United States that will not be able to continue with the new era of Saab, moving ahead, while 63% will.

Once the Saab sale has been completed which is targeted for November 30th, the 81 Saab dealers will need to cease Saab operations, while the remaining 137 Saab dealerships will be operating under a new sales, service and parts agreement.

Below is a double quoted reference by both GM & Automotive news outlining the details on both sides of the spectrum.

As part of the continuing progress in the proposed sale of Saab, letters have been sent (Nov. 9) to selected Saab dealers in the U.S.

One set of letters is from Saab Cars North America (SCNA) to the Saab dealers it has selected to move forward with SCNA as a dealer and/or service center upon completion of the Saab AB sale transaction. There are approximately 137 dealers in this group.

The other set of letters comes from General Motors and indicates that the remaining approximately 81 dealers will now be expected to terminate their dealership under the terms of the Dealer Termination Agreement (DTA) that all Saab dealers signed in June. Those terminations are expected to happen when the sale closes between GM and the buyer of Saab.

If no sale closing occurs, the provisions of the DTA will stay in place for all 218 Saab dealers based on a ?no buyer scenario.?

Saab buyer rejects 81 U.S. stores

Jamie LaReau
Automotive News
November 12, 2009 – 5:08 pm ET

DETROIT — Saab’s new owner will reject 81 of Saab’s 218 U.S. dealerships, General Motors Co. said today.

GM said in a letter received by dealers today that Saab’s buyer, Swedish exclusive sportscar maker Koenigsegg, selected the surviving stores. Koenigsegg will operate the brand here through a new entity, Saab Cars North America Inc.

The target date to close the sale of Saab is Nov. 30, but it could take until year end, says Mike Colleran, COO of Saab Cars North America in Detroit.

“SCNA did make its selection of (go-forward) dealers based on our business plan and the needs of that plan,” Colleran says. “Essentially, we’re looking for strong dealers who have good profitability and good throughput.”

Location also factored into the decision, he said.

GM sent letters out through Federal Express on Wednesday to rejected dealers, GM spokeswoman Ryndee Carney said. Saab will have 137 U.S. dealers after the sale.

All Saab dealers signed a termination agreement in June when GM entered federal bankruptcy protection, Carney says. The terms of those termination agreements will go into effect for rejected dealerships.

If the deal to sell Saab falls through — as GM’s deal to sell Saturn to Penske Automotive Group did — GM would close Saab and all the dealerships would be terminated, Carney says.

The surviving dealerships will remain under their current dealer contract with GM until it expires in October 2010, Colleran says. Then they will get new franchise agreements with Saab Cars North America.

You can reach Jamie LaReau at jlareau@crain.com.

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Saab 9-3x Review Reinterates TTiD Without The XWD

Posted on 14. Oct, 2009 by .

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9-3xttidxwd.jpg

Photo Credit: Automobile

A review in the Irish Times reports that the Saab 9-3x, while a good addition to the existing 9-3 lineup is difficult to appreciate given it’s lack of integration of two of the most important technologies, together in one model.

These technologies that are mutually exclusive of course are the TTiD, 1.9 liter Diesel engine and the XWD, Cross-Wheel Drive system.

As we learned, the reason for not integrating them together was due to the amount CO2 output which exceeded the Swedish Government’s mandated amount so therefore Saab would not receive the certain tax credits, etc. if they chose to offer it. Of course, Saab could have offered this combination if customers required it and not get the tax credits, but that unfortunately did not appear to be considered.

The second reason about why the combination was not offered was that Saab Automobile also believed there wouldn’t be enough buyers wanting this combination, to justify it as well. I have to disagree with this, especially given that diesel wagons in the United States in particular are selling so fast that dealers cannot even keep them on the lot and pre-owned diesel vehicles are seeing very high prices as well. Then of course, think about a diesel wagon, that’s raised like the Audi, Volvo or Subaru, but this is not just diesel, it has cross-wheel drive as well. While the product came out seven years later than it was planned, with that combination, it may have a chance.

So, is it too late for Saab to give customers the option if they are interested in having both TTiD & XWD outfitted on the 9-3x? Time will tell.

In the meantime, here’s the review below discussing this issue.

FIRSTDRIVE SAAB 9-3X : Saab’s lifestyle crossover should fit KYLE FORTUNE’s life perfectly.

I ski and I own a mountain bike; for my birthday this year I received windsurfing lessons and I’ve even been known to do a spot of paragliding. Oh, and some golf, too. Badly. I’d never consider myself the sort of “lifestyle” person marketing people get so excited about in new car presentations, but I guess I fit the mould fairly well. At a push I reckon I could find the money to spend on Saab’s 9-3X SportWagon.

It should suit me perfectly – I’ve always liked estates (have you ever tried to get skis into a saloon?) and I guess I’m a practical kind of chap at heart. I can’t walk past an outdoor gear shop without wandering inside and wondering how I could possibly justify buying another GoreTex jacket, which means I’m usually to be found wearing some sort of technical clothing that offers capabilities way beyond what I actually need. Which is why I love cars like this.

Like those outdoor shops, I find plastic-clad wheel arches and big chunky bumpers on an estate absolutely irresistible. Add the raised ride height and I’m smitten. I think all estates should look this rugged, but if you’re like me, you’ve only really got a choice of four: Audi’s allroads (the A4 or the A6), Volvo’s XC70 and Subaru’s Legacy Outback. And this new Saab. It’s hardly surprising that two of the crossover machines come from Scandinavian firms, as the sort of conditions we have to deal with once in a lifetime have to be lived with for months at a time in their home markets.

So the 9-3X has all-wheel drive – XWD, in Saab-speak. At least it does on the version we tested, this 9-3X having a 207bhp 2-litre turbocharged petrol engine. But the chances of anyone in Ireland buying this model are slim, not least because its 194g/km emission figure puts it in band F and will result in annual road tax of €1,050. So, the 1.9-litre TTiD turbodiesel makes more sense – €302 a year to tax and likely to have a much more attractive price. Factor in the diesel’s fuel consumption advantage; at 5.5l/100km – compared to 8.1l/100km for the petrol – on the combined cycle, and it’s a good deal more parsimonious. It’s not much slower either, the diesel only trailing the petrol’s 0-100km/h time of 8.2 seconds by a mere tenth of a second.

Diesel it is then, but a quick look at the specification states that if you want the diesel, you can only have it in front-wheel drive. That’s shattered any fantasies of winter drives in the Alps for me. When I’m at the bottom of a snowy track I want all wheels driven, and snow chains in the boot. The 9-3X TTiD is a charlatan then, a pseudo off-roader without the ability to match its looks.

We could perhaps forgive this if it was otherwise outstanding, but the 9-3 feels old and the addition of an X doesn’t change that. The usual Saab quirks remain – a transmission tunnel ignition and cup holder that opens with an action like the stop-motion footage of a flower blossoming. Then there’s the Nightpanel button that blacks out all but the speedometer’s dial to lessen distraction and eye strain. Why the rest of the industry hasn’t copied this remains a mystery. It looks good, inside and out, but it’s otherwise utterly forgettable to drive. It steers, stops and goes, but with nothing resembling verve.

Years of GM stewardship and underinvestment has left Saab on the ropes, trailing its premium rivals and only just keeping up with the mainstream. Every bit of me wanted to like the 9-3X, but it just didn’t stack up.

Saab used to stand for out-there engineering, quirky detailing and individuality – I remember reading adverts stating that, through the gears, Saabs could out-accelerate Lamborghinis. That a 9-3 driver stopped to mention that their car was just an Opel when they spotted me getting out of the 9-3X SportWagon does rather suggest a brand that’s lost its lustre.

If there is hope, it’s that Saab is to be taken over by Swedish supercar firm, Koenigsegg. If it can inject the new 9-5 and the 9-3’s replacement with some of the lunacy of its own hypercars, Saab should have a future. I hope they ski too.

** Saab will launch the 9-3X in Ireland in time for January 2010

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