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Saab can still be sold: General Motors

Saab can still be sold: General Motors

Published: 09 Jan 2010 08:25 GMT+01:00
Updated: 09 Jan 2010 08:25 GMT+01:00

General Motors announced on Friday it had begun "an orderly wind-down" of its Swedish unit Saab, but would consider any late proposals for the brand, in a move drawing protests from Sweden.

GM said it hired the consulting firm AlixPartners "to supervise the orderly wind-down of Saab, and has requested approval of the selection by the appropriate authority in Sweden."

The US auto giant, in the process of a massive restructuring after bankruptcy last year, said the process for Saab "is expected to take several months, and will ensure that employees, dealers and suppliers are adequately protected."

GM also confirmed that it has received "several proposals" for Saab and "is continuing to evaluate these proposals" even as it begins liquidation of the auto division.

Several groups, including Dutch sportscar maker Spyker and a group comprised of Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone and Genii Capital, a Luxembourg investment firm, have said they presented GM with last-ditch bids to rescue Saab.

The head of Sweden's influential IF Metall union, Stefan Loefven, blasted GM for moving to close the company at the same time as it is evaluating bids for the loss-making brand.

"It is irresponsible of GM as an owner to go in two directions, both pursuing the sale (of Saab) and the winding up," Loefven said.

In addition to the bids disclosed this week, Swedish media also reported Friday that another group headed by Swedish businessmen was interested in acquiring Saab and scaling down its operations to build 45,000 to 50,000 cars a year.

In 2008, the last year for which figures are available, Saab sold 93,295 cars worldwide.

GM Europe's spokesman Stefan Weinmann told AFP that the company was going ahead with the closure of Saab but at the same time considering any new bids.

"Essentially, the two processes will continue in parallel... we will look at the proposals and analyze them and see whether we can find a good solution for everybody," he said.

GM's actions regarding the Saab sale, which it put on the block a year ago, have been repeatedly criticized by the Swedish government and Saab's unions, with questions arising over whether the US giant really intended to sell the unit.

"We will see what we can do, in order to, if possible, contribute to a positive sale of Saab," Jöran Hägglund, Swedish enterprise ministry state secretary, told Swedish news agency TT.

He will be heading a Swedish delegation traveling to Detroit, Michigan, on Saturday to hold talks early next week with officials from GM and Ford, which is in the process of selling its Swedish unit Volvo to Chinese carmaker Geely.

Saab employs 3,400 people in Sweden and is among the brands being shed by GM as part of a massive restructuring effort that began in 2005 and accelerated last year when the largest US automaker went bankrupt.

Analysts have warned that some 8,000 jobs could be lost with Saab's closure. The Swedish brand, which has been owned by GM for two decades, has been on the verge of extinction since GM said on December 18 it would wind down Saab, citing failed talks with Spyker.

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Your comments about this article

10:05 January 9, 2010 by Nemesis
SAAB can only be sold if GM actually want to sell it.

It is starting to look like GM have no intention of selling SAAB and want to close it, so as to destory the brand.
10:25 January 9, 2010 by Ingka71
according to saabsunited.com there are 4 bidders remaining

- Sypker

- Genii-Eccleston

- Merbanco

- Samuelsson-Nygren

I do agree with Nemesis above, however I still believe that a 'Sell' can be made if the swedish government would be more firm in presuring the US and GM (since the US government is 60% shareholder these days it's basically the same) and come up for their workforce. I believe it's unacceptable for the swedish government just to accept that 8,000 people will loose their jobs and a whole region of Sweden will be slammed back into the beginning of the 19th century. Treat them like they would treat you, stand up and fight!
10:43 January 9, 2010 by Rick Methven
What GM is actually doing is looking in to what it will actually cost them to shut down SAAB (which is what they would like to do) and compare that to what offers they can get to sell the company.

it comes down to a trade-off between future competition against the cost of after sales cost for existing owners and redundancy payments etc.

Hell being American they most probably think they can fire people at not cost: LOL
13:25 January 9, 2010 by tillerman
Let's be real. The people lookjng at Saab now are bottom feeders, the same kind that screwed the UK over MG, Rover, and Ford.

They are coming forward now trying to make a last minute deal that will benefit them, not GM, not Saab, and not Sweden.

Certainly GM will look at the offers, if they aren't worthwhile Saab is toast.
14:58 January 9, 2010 by spy
BREAKING NEWS - Shame on GM is there no end to their deceit?

According to reports, sources within GM in Germany have leaked that GM has booked transport for the 15 Jan to move the new 9-5 production line to China in order that it can be built in China as a Buick. Why on earth would GM do this if they were still trying to sell Saab in good faith?

If this is a charade, and it looks suspiciously like it is, I can imagine that lawyers of prospective buyers and dealers will be sharpening their pencils as we speak.
15:04 January 9, 2010 by GlobalDispute
@Spy

I am not sure if you understand the situation. GM is not trying to sell SAAB any longer. They have chosen to wind them down. They have said they will look at offers through this process. They did not say they would stop this process to listen to offers. SAAB has been for sale for a year now. Where were all of the offers when there was time to play with?
15:31 January 9, 2010 by gpg
The Swedish Gov't needs to set up a costly system to prevent GM from dismanteling SAAB. They also need to contact the U.S. Government and demand that GM sell SAAB.
15:43 January 9, 2010 by spy
GlobalDispute

I think I understand pretty well. To put it into terms you may understand:

If you were selling a car on behalf of its owner (ie the shareholders) and you received a number of offers for the car would you:

a) Dismantle the car before reviewing the offers while deceiving everyone that you were trying to sell it

b) Or, review the offers while planning a how you would dismantle it if they were not good enough

Whatever you say GM has a responsibility to its shareholders to make the right commercial decision and this latest decision is clearly questionable.
15:51 January 9, 2010 by Gletta
1. Very sad for Saab workers and associated industry

2. Wind down the company and ensure GM pays full redundancy etc

3. Invest in retraining of workers into industries or services that will sustain themselves and grow in the future giving Trollhättan and other towns a real future with a real industry. No public investment in a product - Saab - that not enough people want to buy to make it sustainable. No more false hope for workers from asset strippers or 'SAAB buyers' it is just prolonging the inevitable.
16:03 January 9, 2010 by tzatara1
What is all about ....? MONEY.....

That's a pure extortion.If someone want to safe SAAB , "he" have to pay some huge cipher,or GM will shut down SAAB.

And because no one has so much capital ,the Swedesh government (using "private" investors) will have to take loan from guess who ...?

Of course from Rockefeller,Newhouse family....the buddies of FORD

And why .... because USA have to be the only one car maker, everybody else will be consumers

That is economic war
18:01 January 9, 2010 by volvoman9
@spy Spy, I feel you are closer to the truth than most realize. Ford's sales in China are up a whopping 44% last year. There are some issues that we are missing here. Ford and GM want market share in the largest emerging nation of late. This doesn't come without some sacrifices. The country that is unwilling or unable to provide enough financial incentive to keep their manufacturing entities in country will lose them to the highest bidder in order to fulfill a much larger vision; market share. Germany bailed out Opel to a degree Vauxhaul's days are probably numbered. China is hungry to shortcut the technological advantage we enjoy in the west in order to hasten their quest for global dominance. Remember the U.S. navy spy planes forced down over the China sea a few years ago? Few countries would have had the audacity to commit this act and the pay off was huge for them. A peek into our secrets to hopefully advance their edge. Same philosophy here. It worked for the Japanese in the post war years. Although they were a bit more subtle. The Chinese are not known for this trait. That the 9/5 will be produced in China as a Buick is no surprise. The Buick is known as the "blue hair Cadillac" in the U.S. They sell more of them in China than any where else. If this was not the case then they would have gone the way of Pontiac. The GM business model has always been to build a few mediocre platforms and then tart them up with cosmetic changes to lure a comatose American buyer into thinking they are buying something different than a Chevy. Same plan in China. This is what they did to Saab, Opel, Vauxhaul to dilute their quality and save money. Ford has had a little more sophisticated approach because they have been in the world market longer. However they had to placate the Asians so Volvo must go. The sad thing is that we are allowing our future to be sold to the highest bidder and by the time we turn off the tele and wake up from our collective comas we will not recognize what has become of our world. Workers of the world unite and demand what you have toiled for before it's to late!
18:27 January 9, 2010 by GlobalDispute
Do I hear the approach of the black helocopters? LMAO.
19:26 January 9, 2010 by karex
@volvoman9

As an analyst, and having worked in the industry for nearly 30 years, I have to agree with you on this one.

Unless western industry laborers are set to retire in the next 5 years or so (maybe 10), I would start training for a new career if I were them...
19:29 January 9, 2010 by Per Johansson52
GM is sucker and playing games to make look Swedish Brand Cars SAAB,Volvo so on look cheap in the World's market. And Swedish government is big sucker for not helping SAAB.
20:01 January 9, 2010 by muda
i wonder why Swedish government is not bailing out SAAB. The US government spent trillion of dollars to bail out companies having problems created by them.
20:10 January 9, 2010 by Huey
Feel sorry for the 8,000 or so workers that will lose their jobs. NOT sorry for sweden selling SAAB to and international company GM. Dumb ass's. NOT sorry if this is the end of one of the ugliest cars on the market. Sweden got a good car in Volvo very popular in the States with the middle and upper class of American's.
21:40 January 9, 2010 by karex
@muda

The US government bailed Pan Am out what two, three times? And it still went bust. Incompetent management is usually what sinks companies, not government policies, otherwise an entire sector would go bust, not just some companies.

The US is also the biggest debtor in the world now. Sweden is a small country, a socialist one. You can't afford the public services offered here and still bail out companies with trillions of dollars.

The irony is that most Americans probably don't know that by far the greatets creditors of the US are now China and Japan...
00:10 January 10, 2010 by Zoolander428
Does anyone else get frustrated at the complete lack of intelligence behind these comments?

(globaldispute, rick, and tillerman exluded - you actually have grasp on reality)
00:15 January 10, 2010 by 2394040
This sounds like a flock of vultures flying lazy circles overhead, waiting to pick the bones for whatever is left.
00:19 January 10, 2010 by GlobalDispute
The comment from GMs CEO Ed Whitacre "It's real easy, just show up with the money and you can have it," Whitacre said. "But nobody's shown up with the money so we're in wind-down mode here."

True there are people interested. Let us see there offer! These offers are obviously companies trying to get something for free. The sad part is that if SAAB does get sold and they last another 3 years then it will be someone elses fault. People just can't say it didn't work! I am also very sorry for the workers but this is not the only company that has gone under in the last year. Do you want to venture a guess at how many people have lost their jobs in Detroit through this mess?
00:20 January 10, 2010 by Thebinary1
@Karex: Japan is in even a bigger shithole than the US. Infact, the US's current economic policies are inspired by the Japanese. The inspiration being living fantastically beyond one's means. They dip into ('thieve' is a better word) the freedoms of the future generations to feed their present desires.

Bus yes - you are correct in that China is one of the greatest creditors. The Middle East (not Japan) is second! Basically the IMF and countries of the bottom of the following list are the sources of credit for the countries on the top of the list:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_public_debt

@all:

Just a general FYI - yes, this is all about money. SAAB's reputation is worth nothing when making money is concerned. The workforce and livelihoods at stake are worth nothing when making money is concerned. Fact is that GM played their cards wrongly and lost a lot of money. They intend to recoup their losses at any cost! And if the Swedish government steps in and offers money ... GM will be getting more cash so they will smile broadly .... and GM will still let SAAB fall apart because GM will hold the SAAB carrot over the Swedish government's head to squeeze any penny it can from you and me - the taxpayers!

This is the true face of The Corporation (note that I did not say American Corporation). Deal with it! You hate GM for what they have done to / are doing to SAAB - I suggest that you stop buying GM cars.

Swear on your gradchildren that you will not buy the following cars brands:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/General_Motors#Brands_and_subsidiaries

If you do have one of the cars listed above, I suggest you sell it now before their re-sale value drops.
00:39 January 10, 2010 by americanska
@ everyone dumping on GM just because it's American. & Everyone trying to say the Governments should get in on this.

It's extremely frustrating and annoying how many people in the world from socialist counties just don't get it. It's NOT a good thing for governments to own companies. It's GOOD that the swedish government doesn't own Absolut or Volvo or SAAB.

Yes - the US government has a lot of debt. And yes we know that China lends us the money - at least Repulbicans know. Republicans also don't agree with the bailouts.

I don't care if GM fails or SAAB fails - if they fail something else will take it's place. The Unions are causing these failures since companies can't scale down down to sustainable levels.

@ Spy. I don't think GM ever planned on selling certain models with the SAAB brand. I'm sure it's conditions like that, I'm sure, that are sticking points in negotiations with European companies and investors that want that technology.

Sorry if that post was kind of all over the place. - it's just frustration reading 95% of the posts on here.
01:07 January 10, 2010 by DaisyCutter
@americaniska

With all due respect, there is no way the next gen 9-5 was designed with anything but Saab design DNA. Sure they can facelift the front and rear fascias and grille with a Buick flavour (my stomach is heaving at the mere thought of such an identity crime), but every other surface on that car is derived and evolved from established Saab design themes.

From a personal perspective I can't help but feel that what GM is doing reflects badly upon the US. Tell me how it couldn't...
01:47 January 10, 2010 by muda
@karex

@americanska

Of course incompetent managements collapse companies. However good companies also collapse in the sub prime crisis created by the US due to chain reactions. Who will be the last saviour of these good companies if not the government, It is not a policy for the government to bailout companies especially in the free market like the US. US will condemn other countries which bailout national companies, but when they are facing sub prime crisis they have to swallow back what they said and practised.

Republicans don't agree with the bailout but George Bush was the one who announced the initial bailout package.

Why put the blame solely on the unoins for the company failure. What about company private jet ownership and top managements travelled on private jets. This may not affect the company operations much as compared to unions demand.

SAAB will be extinct if there is no last minute saviour. Where is Swedish national pride? VOLVO has gone.
02:48 January 10, 2010 by repat_xpat
Daisy,

The New 9-5 is a fantastic car and SAAB did a fantastic job of making GM's Global Epsilon II platform look and feel like a SAAB for it. It is terrible to see it go, but GM doesn't need to put a new grill on it to make it a Buick, there are already Buick's built on that platform (they are indeed Lexus beaters). The 2009 EU car of the year, the Opel Insignia, was also built on that platform. This technology is the real reason companies are bidding on SAAB, but GM isn't that dumb. They wont give it away just to reduce its liability to SAAB.

SAAB is gone, there is nothing left to buy and the new 9-5 will probably not be revived as another brand. Its sad, but true.
04:29 January 10, 2010 by porksteak
@ americanska

Since you and I are both Americans, we both know the Republicans caused the bailouts. Six years of (R) controlled executive and legislative branches has one heck of a payback. Just recall that they ran deficits when there was no reason to. I don't think I need to elaborate further on this.

GM owes the taxpayers for it's continued survival. On that note they need to sell SAAB at least for the simple reason to recover some value to their lenders (us).

My dad was a GM guy and that is what I grew up with. GM management dug their hole and I don't see myself owning one of their products any time soon. I hope SAAB makes it out of this and prospers.
05:56 January 10, 2010 by falcon
Should have supported the consortium Wyoming. They would have closed by now. The government is a joke.
08:07 January 10, 2010 by DaisyCutter
@repat_xpat

Well aware of the Insignia's multiple personalities and the common platforms. I was commenting on a post suggesting the next gen 9-5 wasn't going to be sold by GM, if that indeed was one of many potential 'sticking points'. If GM then kept the 9-5 and it was shipping tooling to China it stands to reason they would sell it as one brand or another. Technologies and platforms apart, the design DNA (the way it looks) both interior and exterior-wise has Saab written all over it.

Perhaps a crossed line or two here.
11:25 January 10, 2010 by tennent
GM needs money to restructure Opel (estimate: 3.3 billion Euro) and to pay back a US Government loan not later than June (US$6.7 billion).

It would be preferable to avoid getting a non-GM competitor to Opel while collecting the best possible money for Saab assets.

Apparently, the Chinese have the money Whitacre says he wants to see, but won't (be allowed to?) buy the whole factory, brand, etc.

Among potential buyers, Genii Capital may have an advantage in that Bernie Ecclestone, 79, is in the same age group as GM Board members.
11:58 January 10, 2010 by americanska
I don't agree with ANY government bailing out companies. The Republican's hopefully learned theirs lesson. But it's a Liberal mindset for the Government to step in every time there is a problems.

But we all the the Unions made it not free enterprise. And the Obama machine didn't want GM to file bankruptsy because that would cause union jobs. So they gave them money to limp along until it couldn't be stopped. But even the democrats in the US aren't so stupid as to think they should get involved with business decisions.

@porksteak - lets be realistic. GM's lenders are China
18:18 January 10, 2010 by GlobalDispute
The new 9-5 was styled in Rüsselsheim. The wagon version had it's modifications done in Detroit.

I would still like to see a good argument to the following.

"It's real easy, just show up with the money and you can have it," Whitacre said. "But nobody's shown up with the money so we're in wind-down mode here."

I guess there isn't anyone to hate with that comment so Nemesis will keep his mouth shut!
21:04 January 10, 2010 by Hong Kong Phooey
The 9-5 sedan and 9-3 sedan were designed in Saab design center in 2004 and the projects were shelved because -

1) The new Opel Vectra looked like the old Opel Vectra - SH*TE, and GM though money was better spent in Russelsheim, and

2) Brian Nesquick could not be bothered to travel to Trollhättan so he asked one of Fat Pig uncles to move Saab to Russelsheim.

With all the money diverted from Saab projects, all the skilled Staff moved from Saab to Opel, and four more years p*ssing around, opel released the Insignia. Nice car, but it cost twice as much as it should have done to develop, like most things GM develop, which is why they don't make money, then blame a small town in Sweden.

Saab 1990 - 2 models 93000 units sold

Saab 2008 - 2 models 93000 units sold

Saab would like to thank GM for the last fruitful and prosperous 20 years.
23:24 January 10, 2010 by wenddiver
Pressure OBAMA the Ubber Liberal US government currently controls 60% of GM's stock.

Europeans have been telling us how magical he is. Tell him to save or sell SAAB.
19:38 January 11, 2010 by Mr B
Well,its really sad being a devoted Saab owner for the last 20 years.Lots of my friend also drive Saab's.If GM had a concience,they would sell Saab and save and 8000 Swedish jobs and a great car icon to boot.But it looks bad.I'm sure Saab could easily turn a profit if it was run well,maybe GM don't want this,it would reveal the truth that we already know,GM is a lumbering giant,incompetent and useless,greedy management,flying all over the world in private jets,doing a rubbish job and getting paid incredibly high wages,no wonderv they went bust.Get some Toyota management in there,cut out the waste and move on to profitability.
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