Report: GM shutting down Saab

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Report: GM shutting down Saab

General Motors has announced it will close down Saab after discussions to sell the brand fell through.

“Despite the best efforts of all involved, it has become very clear that the due diligence required to complete this complex transaction could not be executed in a reasonable time,” said Nick Reilly, president of GM Europe. “In order to maintain operations, Saab needed a quick resolution.”

GM had been in discussions to sell Saab to Spyker Cars but was unable to resolve some issues with the Dutch manufacturer. Last month, Koenigsegg also had interest in acquiring Saab before backing out.

Reilly says Saab will continue to honor warranties and provide service and parts to current owners.

Beijing Automotive Industry Holdings’ purchase of some Saab property, notably 9-3 and 9-5 powertrain technology, is not expected to be impacted by today’s annoucement.

Official release after the jump:

Detroit.  General Motors announced today that the intended sale of Saab Automobile AB would not be concluded. After the withdrawal of Koenigsegg Group AB last month, GM had been in discussions with Spyker Cars about its interest in acquiring Saab. During the due diligence, certain issues arose that both parties believe could not be resolved.  As a result, GM will start an orderly wind-down of Saab operations.

“Despite the best efforts of all involved, it has become very clear that the due diligence required to complete this complex transaction could not be executed in a reasonable time. In order to maintain operations, Saab needed a quick resolution,” said GM Europe President Nick Reilly.  “We regret that we were not able to complete this transaction with Spyker Cars. We will work closely with the Saab organization to wind down the business in an orderly and responsible manner. This is not a bankruptcy or forced liquidation process. Consequently, we expect Saab to satisfy debts including supplier payments, and to wind down production and the distribution channel in an orderly manner while looking after our customers.”

Saab will continue to honor warranties, while providing service and spare parts to current Saab owners around the world.

As part of its efforts to become a leaner organization, GM began seeking a buyer for Saab’s operations in January.  Last week, Saab Automobile AB announced that it had closed on the sale of certain Saab 9-3, current 9-5 and powertrain technology and tooling to Beijing Automotive Industry Holdings Co. Ltd. (BAIC).  GM expects today’s announcement to have no impact on the earlier sale.

As the company continues to reinvent itself, GM has been faced with some very difficult but necessary business decisions. The focus will remain on the four core brands – Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet and GMC – and several regional brands, including Opel / Vauxhall in Europe.  This will enable the company to devote more engineering and marketing resources to each brand and model.

  • Martin Trettel

    I can’t believe GM has murdered Saab! I have owned 3 of them and it is the only repeat car that I have ever bought. If GM is trying to reinvent itself, they better open their eyes……I am 46 years old and would never consider buying a Buick or a Chevy. It is unfortunate that for the years that GM owned Saab that they didn’t continue to advance this fine automobile. I don’t understand why GM would not want some diversity in it’s portfolio…..here in the US.

  • Richard Post

    I’ve owned six Saab’s since 1980 and had planned to buy another in a couple years once my 9-5 Aero was 10 years old. The cars offer great handling and safety, reasonable gas mileage – I love the Saab turbo 4’s that have the horsepower/torque of V6’s and even some of the cruder American V8’s. Saab’s new AWD system is one of the best available – too bad few knew about it – thanks GM for your lack of marketing.

    GM did little to market Saabs and to continue to keep the brand ahead of much of the competition, as they had been up until GM took over. Of course some of us expected this much from GM, who seemed only capable of designing mediocre vehicles in the US market (except for a handful such as Corvette and some NEW Cadillacs).

    I will NEVER buy a GM vehicle since they are responsible for the demise of a great and unique automobile. They don’t seem able to build many great cars and cater to mediocre vehicles – even now with all of their recent advancement.

    Anyone interested in starting a “boycot GM” web site?

    There is SLIGHT hope that a deal will do through before Dec. 31 2009 but I’m not going to hold my breath…but will hope!

  • Jason Hamilton

    Out of the four cars I’ve owned, two have been SAAB’s. My second was a 1989 900S with over 140k on the broken odometer before I got it. It still drove beautifully even though the engine looked like it was a solid block of rust. And what about all those amenities! ABS, power locks and windows, and sunroof, all standard even back in ’89! (My girlfriend’s 2002 Saturn doesn’t even have ABS because it was an OPTION!) Then one winter it lost a fight with a tree and I was forced to buy a $900 Hyundai whose auto transmission began a slow death soon after.

    I was smart the next time and got a 1997 900S with 145k on the clock (and considerably less rust than the last one). Four years later I still wouldn’t trade my car for many newer ones, and it has 207k under its belt. The ride quality and amenities are outstanding. Since I’m on a low budget, it’s amazing that so many things are easy to replace or fix. Heck, with no tools at all I can change practically any dead bulb in less than 5 minutes, including headlights! (Fog lights are tricky though.) The mileage and power are more than enough, and it drives smoother than any of the other vehicles in my ‘extended’ family that I’ve driven (5 Saturns, 1 Honda, 1 Scion, and a Pontiac).

    My next car WILL be a 2006 or 2007 SAAB 93 sportcombi (Aero, manual, preferably dark grey). SAAB’s are just such good cars. It’s sad that I’ll be a SAABer for life, and SAAB might not be there anymore. I really hope SAAB survives and can regain it’s glory from pre-GM takeover. Yes, some GM tech was nice, but GM did nothing to help market the brand as it should have. GM also threw it scraps. Come on, the SAAB-aru? What the heck was that?

    But even if SAAB doesn’t make it, I will still remain a loyal SAAB buyer until I they are gone. I’ll take a used mid mileage SAAB over GM mediocrity any day.

    I still have hopes for newer 93’s and 94’s though…
    Are you listening, Santa? 😉

    On another note, I’ve spread the SAAB bug, and now my girlfriend, her sister, and my cousin all notice SAAB’s on the road and will even point them out when we drive past them. Take THAT, Blue Punch-Buggy!

  • stefan

    GM kommer alldrig att sälja saab, det har aldrig varit i deras intresse. saab är och kommer att lägas ner, opel saab efter som opel och saab liknar varandra i visa detlajer tekniskt så är risken att opel förlorar en del på en försäljning så ser GM det så konkursen kvar står om inte svenksa regeringen går in med krav

  • ted

    Typical american unsuccesful enterprise example. With high sales, they found a way to invest then did nothing to push the brand, added nothingon the safety or other features, just took advantage of the legacy, and put a 1.8 cc engine to make it more accessible to the public (that’s the only positive input). And now they won’t sell it to protect the largely borrowed know-how. What know-how? Smae story with opel. In both cases who is to blame other than the american government which supported with tax payers money the GM and allowed them to play it hard. Ford sold vovlo, but these GM guys are not willing to sell it becaue there is no bonus involved in this. Too bad one of the brnads which paved the way in safety years before the others thought abiout it, will go down.

  • Boyd

    GM should simplify their product line and invest their resources into into the best of the best. Long ago they should have dropped Pontiac, Olds and Hummer.Buick as well. Just make the Cadillacs a little afforable to cover Buick. Also forget about GMC. Put that commercial grade into ALL Chevrolet products. Keepers should include: Chevrolet, Cadillac, Saab and Saturn. That spectrum would accomodate all buyers. I own a Chevrolet truck, a SAAB 900s and purchased Saturns for my daughters. They are all outsanding vehichles. I did plan on another SAAB but will go to another brand completely if GM ruins SAAB. They need to wake up!