GM has ‘no plans to drop Saab’

Struggling automaker General Motors has no plans to drop its Swedish Saab brand despite pressure to cut down its brand portfolio, a senior executive said on Monday.

Saab, along with Hummer, is “intrinsically woven” into GM’s global strategy, Mark LaNeve, head of North American sales and marketing, said during a conference call.

Billionaire Kirk Kerkorian, who owns 9.9 percent of GM’s shares, has said that GM needs to focus on its top nameplates if it is going to be able to get its finances back on track.

GM, which lost 10.6 billion dollars last year, is in the midst of laying off 30,000 workers and closing 12 facilities.

The world’s largest automaker has been struggling with a steady decline in market share and a sharp drop in revenue when consumers began to shy away from gas-guzzling but highly profitable sport-utility vehicles.

GM expects its market share in the critical US market to fall about a half a percentage point in the first quarter of 2006. Sales analyst Paul Ballew told the conference call that he expects a US market share of 24 percent in March, down from 26.7 percent in March 2005.



Former Swedish Saab bosses appear in court

Swedish car maker Saab's former CEO Jan Åke Jonsson and the firm's former head lawyer Kristina Geers have appeared in court in Vänersborg in west Sweden, accused of falsifying financial documents shortly before the company went bankrupt in 2011.

Former Swedish Saab bosses appear in court
Saab's former CEO Jan Åke Jonsson. Photo: Karin Olander/TT
The pair are accused of falsifying the paperwork at the height of the Swedish company's financial difficulties at the start of the decade.
A third person – who has not been named in the Swedish media – is accused of assisting them by issuing false invoices adding up to a total of 30 million kronor ($3.55m).
According to court documents, the charges relate to the firm's business in Ukraine and the paperwork in question was signed just before former CEO Jan Åke Jonsson resigned.
Both Jonsson and Saab's former head lawyer Kristina Geers have admitted signing the papers but denied knowledge of the Ukranian firm implicated in the case.
All three suspects deny all the charges against them.

Saab's former head lawyer Kristina Geers. Photo:  Björn Larsson Rosvall/TT
Saab filed for bankruptcy at the end of 2011, after teetering on the edge of collapse for nearly two years.
Chief prosecutor Olof Sahlgren told the court in Vänersborg on Wednesday that the alleged crimes took place in March 2011, when Saab was briefly owned by the Dutch company Spyker Cars.
It was eventually bought by National Electric Vehicle Sweden (Nevs), a Chinese-owned company after hundreds of staff lost their jobs.
The car maker, which is based in west Sweden, has struggled to resolve serious financial difficulties by attracting new investors since the takeover.
In October 2014 it announced it had axed 155 workers, close to a third of its workforce.
Since 2000, Saab automobile has had no connection with the defence and aeronautics firm with the same name. It only produces one model today, the electric 9-3 Aero Sedan, mainly targeting the Chinese market.