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GM 'won't support' new plans to save Saab

TT/The Local/dl · 17 Dec 2011, 19:38

Published: 17 Dec 2011 19:38 GMT+01:00

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In an email statement issued on Saturday, GM spokesperson James Cain said Saab’s new proposals were “not meaningfully different” from previous solutions which GM had already rejected.

"Each proposal results either directly or indirectly in the transfer of control and/or ownership of the company in a manner that would be detrimental to GM and its shareholders,” said Cain.

“As such, GM cannot support any of these proposed alternatives.”

Speaking with Swedish daily Svenska Dagbladet (SvD), Saab CEO Victor Muller countered by saying that “GM doesn’t have anything to say” on a deal in which Chinese automaker Youngman would receive “zero percent” of the shares in Saab Automobile.

“The statement obviously comes from hearsay and is meant to negatively affect Monday’s court proceedings,” Muller told SvD.

On Monday, Vänersborg District Court will convene to decide on whether Saab’s reorganization should be terminated or extended.

The court will also examine the question of whether, Guy Lofalk, the current administrator appointed by the court to oversee Saab's business reorganization, should have his term extended or if he should be replaced by Lars Söderqvist.

Citing sources within Saab, SvD reported the company plans to present a plan to the court on Monday whereby the Swedish automaker would launch a technology development company in the Netherlands, half of which would be owned by Youngman.

“I don’t understand at all why GM would say something like this,” Söderqvist told the TT news agency.

Story continues below…

“The latest proposal isn’t formulated in such a way as to require approval from GM.”

If GM’s statement stems from a misunderstanding of some sort, Söderqvist is convinced that GM will be supplied with the information it needs.

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

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Your comments about this article

20:19 December 17, 2011 by tgolan
EAW (European Arrest warrant) and the international arrest warrant should be issued against the whole leadership in GM. Either they let Saab be or their assets in Europe should be confiscated, Do you really think if the tables were turned and saab was an American company the US government would not act?
22:12 December 17, 2011 by Osk
Through out the sentiment its about business. If I was a GM shareholder why would I want another company - and one that I used to own - competing with me in a new market? I would not so I would try to crush it at any stage.
23:09 December 17, 2011 by Carbarrister
We need to remember that at the end of the day Saab doesn't own the technology used in its vehicles. It was previously transferred to GM for value . The only thing it owns is the Saab brand for automobiles. if Youngman wants to continue manufacturing the 9-3 and/or 9-5 in China they need a license from GM regardless of whether they have any ownership interest or not and that license is not going to happen. There is no way GM's Chinese partner SAIC would permit it.
03:03 December 18, 2011 by Eagle63
I'm glad I traded in my GM-era Saab for a wonderful Saab 9000 2.3T !

Its getting more and more difficult to find one in good condition, but it still is a great car; a true Saab without any crappy GM parts !

'back to the good ol' days....'
11:54 December 18, 2011 by Localer
why GM is so evil ? if they want SAAB to go bankrupt why don't let it in the first place instead of selling off them !
14:58 December 18, 2011 by RobinHood
@tgolan and Localer

I want you to give me your most valuable possessions. When's a good time for me to drop in to collect them?
17:36 December 18, 2011 by bjinger
American is American.
20:29 December 18, 2011 by Carbarrister
why GM is so evil ? if they want SAAB to go bankrupt why don't let it in the first place instead of selling off them !

GM paid a lot of money to Investor AB (who acquired it along with Scania from the Swedish Government) for Saab and then tried to recoup some of its investment by selling it to a European buyer and provided that buyer a non-assignable license to technology that would permit them to operate in a way that would not create a major competitive threat for GM in other parts of the world. The buyer agreed to the terms but it didn't work out. I am hard pressed to see GM as being "evil" in this regard. If the Swedish Government wants Saab to continue to operate despite it's loss situation to preserve employment and give it an opportunity to turn itself around it could buy it and operated it in Sweden. I suspect GM would have no problem with it.
01:04 December 19, 2011 by MikeSar
The above comment by Carbarrister makes sense.

With the new computer-controlled assembly line, like Audi has, the labor costs are minimal and SAAB could compete in an even field, and blow away competitors.

Yes, this will not bring great number of jobs but could be the start of new assembly line designs by SAAB -the wave of the future.

In some cases, the assembly could be made in a site near the market, maybe SAAB could build a secondary assembly line with low-cost labor say, in Mexico.

Even Bombardier of Canada has found such an arrangement to be profitable.

Pratt & Whitney is testing a new jet engine assembly line in Canada with fewer

workers (the assembly line was designed and build by Audi of Germany).

That's where the action is: An assembly line with no workers that produces the finest products with transportation to the markets. SAAB can do it and reap the profits. OK, the assembly line in Sweden would be first and used to improve it forever, with versions used at strategic locations with low labor costs and access to the markets. Maybe?
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