New Saab 9-5 may never be released: GM exec

The updated version of the Saab 9-5, which stands ready for production, may very well not make it to market as a result of General Motor’s decision to wind down the Swedish automaker, according to a GM executive.

New Saab 9-5 may never be released: GM exec

“It would be so sad that it never sees the light of day despite the fact that it’s a fantastic car,” GM vice chairman Bob Lutz told the TT news agency.

In admitting that the long-anticipated 9-5 may never make it to market, Lutz also rejected rumours that the car, which is ready for production at Saab’s plant in Trollhättan in western Sweden, would be released under a Buick badge.

“No, that’s completely wrong. It’s not going to be a Buick. Not in the United States, not in China, and not anywhere else,” he said.

According to Lutz, GM would rather shut down Saab Automobile than sell it to a company the US auto giant didn’t believe in.

“Otherwise we still risk being stuck with all the costs,” said the 78-year-old auto executive, adding that it was unlikely that GM would change course at this point.

“We’ve pushed the wind down button and now we intend to wind down the company.

He was also less than optimistic about the chances of anyone saving Saab.

“If you want to earn a small fortune on Saab, you have to start with a huge fortune,” he said.

While not directly involved with negotiations over a potential sale of Saab, Lutz said that chances of a sale are slim and that, while offers are under review, GM had to start winding down Saab at some point.

“Rather an end filled with terror than terror with no end,” he said.

“If a really good offer comes down the road, then we’ll obviously take it. It all depends on us getting more back than the cost of shutting down.”

But cash isn’t the only consideration, according to Lutz. In addition, GM needs to be sure about a potential buyer’s long-term capacity to run Saab successfully.

“We know what it costs to shut down. We can budget for that and then it’s over. But if we sell and it doesn’t work, we’re at risk for all the costs anyway,” he said.

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US judge rejects Saab bankruptcy lawsuit

A US court has dismissed a $3 billion lawsuit by previous Saab owner Spyker alleging that US auto giant General Motors (GM) was responsible for causing the Swedish carmaker's bankruptcy.

US judge rejects Saab bankruptcy lawsuit

The Dutch sports car maker filed suit against GM in August 2012, claiming the US automaker interfered in a transaction that would have allowed Saab to restructure and stay afloat because GM wanted to dominate the Chinese market.

Saab, a former GM subsidiary, filed for bankruptcy in December 2011 after teetering on the edge of financial ruin for almost two years. A last-ditch bid to raise funds in China, with the group Youngman, was nixed by GM over technology transfer issues.

“GM’s actions had the direct and intended objective of driving Saab Automobile into bankruptcy, a result of GM’s tortiously interfering with a transaction… to restructure and remain a solvent growing concern,” Spyker said in the statement at the time.

GM filed a motion to have the lawsuit thrown out and on Monday a federal judge in Detroit agreed.

“General Motors had a contractual right to approve or disapprove the proposed transaction,” U.S. District Court Judge Gershwin Drain said in a hearing in Detroit, according to the Reuters news agency.

“The court is going to grant the motion to dismiss the matter.”

Spyker CEO Victor Muller refused to say whether or not he would appeal the ruling.

“We’ll consider an appeal as soon as soon as we have the written ruling,” Muller told the TT news agency via text message.

Muller has previously explained that the $3 billion figure associate with the lawsuit corresponds to what Saab would have been worth had GM not scuttled the deal with Youngman.

TT/The Local/dl

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