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Continued uncertainty over fate of Saab

TT/AFP/The Local · 12 Jan 2010, 09:26

Published: 12 Jan 2010 07:47 GMT+01:00
Updated: 12 Jan 2010 09:26 GMT+01:00

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GM is still talking to Dutch sportscar maker Spyker about the sale of Saab after beginning a wind-down of operations last week, a source familiar with the talks said on Monday.

Spyker is "the only one" with an "attractive" offer, the source said, adding that additional information may be available later in the week.

A GM spokesman said there was no new information on Saab after Friday's announcement of "an orderly wind-down" of its Swedish unit.

Meanwhile, GM chair and acting CEO Ed Whitacre said on Monday that Saab was to be shut down.

“We're closing down Saab,” he told reporters at the Detroit auto show, according to the Reuters news agency.

“We really haven’t decided to do anything other than close down Saab.”

Speaking to the TT news agency, however, Whitacre signaled that GM would sell if “someone with a lot of money came quickly”.

When asked for specifics, the GM CEO elaborated.

“Give us $450 million dollars and we’re in a different situation,” he told TT.

GM said on Friday it would consider any late proposals for the brand even as it began shutting down operations. GM hired the consulting firm AlixPartners "to supervise the orderly wind-down of Saab."

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.

Story continues below…

Union leaders in Sweden blasted GM for moving to close the company at the same time as it is evaluating bids for the loss-making brand.

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.

TT/AFP/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

08:55 January 12, 2010 by Rick Methven
"Give us $450 dollars and we're in a different situation," he told TT.

I can afford 450 dollars to buy SAAB, I'll even pay cash.
09:22 January 12, 2010 by kilou
Why are Volvo AB / Scania not interested in buying Volvo and Saab? A Volvo-Saab merger should be considered and these cars should go back from where they all started. If Koenisgegg or Spyker can make decent offers for Saab to GM, I can't see why Volvo AB couldn't....and the Swedish government should support that process. I can't imagine how Sweden can let her car industry go this way!
09:31 January 12, 2010 by byke
@ kilou

Why should the government take on debt in the name of national brand identity?

While I agree that it may be nice to see the legacy of such a brand be saved ... it shouldnt be done with national tax money.

If no large companies wants to buy Saab, it says quite a lot.

What I cant understand is why Swedes who feel passionately about this dont try to start to boycott GM related products.
10:14 January 12, 2010 by Rick Methven
"What I cant understand is why Swedes who feel passionately about this don't try to start to boycott GM related products."

The way that GM has being playing around on the whole matter of SAAB will end up damaging sales of GM cars around the world. In Sweden you will see Opel sales drop. Not just from SAAB aficionados such as myself but from other car buyers who dislike the way GM has run the brand into the ground and keeps on playing games.

There is a strong Anti-GM movement in the US after the way that they have taken government bailout cash and can not organise any real recovery.

In the long term, Ford, European and Japanese manufacturers are going to benefit from the "I wont buy a GM car" backlash
10:20 January 12, 2010 by Puffin
GM are showing why they are on the verge of bankrupcy - that their leadership can make 2 conflicting statements on the same day about the furture of SAAB shows the poor level of leadership.

The constant brinkmanship has damaged GMs credibility - how many times have GM announced that they are closing SAAB now - 3or 4? - only to come out with a later statement that they don't really mean it.......
11:23 January 12, 2010 by byke
Could GM's stance be part of a larger plan to try and generate more cash for the sale of the company (creating a hype and keeping it in the news?)
11:50 January 12, 2010 by GlobalDispute
I for one would like to see the offers that have been made. How can you blame GM for not accepting what you know nothing about? GM has quite simply said that no one has shown up with the money. Spyker hasn't denied this so I assume that it is true. They want something for nothing. They want the Swedish people to be on the hook for the loan.

Come on Spyker print your offer.

I think SAAB will have a good chance of survival IF someone shows up and has money in their hand. Up until now you have no idea what they are asking for but are blaming GM for not taking it! UNBELIEVABLE!
12:37 January 12, 2010 by Twiceshy
"I can afford 450 dollars to buy SAAB, I'll even pay cash."

Do you also have cash to pay SAAB's remaining liabilities? :P
12:38 January 12, 2010 by tillerman
I am always amazed at the number of comments that suggest conspiratorial motives for GM. Frankly, they aren't that smart and organized. Their motives are simple: get rid of things that aren't making money--hence the shutdown of Pontiac and Saturn--and concentrate on things that are. When you look at GM finances Saab is a loser, a very small piece of the pie, and requiring so much effort that it isn't worth it.

GM has been trying to get rid of it for more than a year. No one significant wants it, so it will shut it down unless someone steps forward with cash.

Interestingly, U.S. leaders think investing in GM's restructuring was a good idea. Of course, they actually see that the company can be turned around:


You would be better off directing anger toward the Swedish government. You might actually be able to do something about it rather than just bitching and moaning about GM and the U.S. But, then again, I don't want my Swedish taxes going to a company that hasn't been able to make money for a decade.
12:43 January 12, 2010 by Nemesis
If someone turned up with twice the amount of the asking price in cash, they would probably still be turned down.

GM messed around Konegsegg and turned down Spyker a cash buyer.

GM are intent on closing SAAB no matter what. That has become obvious.
12:58 January 12, 2010 by podga
@ Nemesis

As usual, you have no idea what you're talking about. What messed around Koenigsegg is their own shareholders, the EIB that took ages to approve the loan, the process, whereby the EE approval for Sweden to grant the guarantee wasn't ready simultaneously with the EIB approval and the fact that after all that time Koenigsegg were no longer sure their plan could work.

I've also seen no indication that Spyker was a "cash buyer" but of course you might have information that the rest of us mere mortals are not privy to.
13:20 January 12, 2010 by byke
@ podga .... exactly.
13:02 January 13, 2010 by Lon Ernwall
As for the spyker deal, I know the dutch here in the States are always looking for something for nothing and then flip it for a profit. Keep Saab Swedish!
17:15 January 13, 2010 by muda
"Give us $450 million dollars and we're in a different situation," he told TT.

Save SAAB. Every Swede just comes out with $45 and SAAB will be back to Sweden.
16:55 January 16, 2010 by michalino
@muds I will spent 100 EUR in time :) You are right the people should think about.
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