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General Motors has made the surprising decision to sell its Saab brand to Swedish supercar maker Koenigsegg. The move comes as such a shock because the two other final bidders were wealthy and mainstream American entities: the Wyoming investment group Merbanco and U.S. billionaire Ira Rennert’s Renco Group.
Koenigsegg, on the other hand, is a little-known (and unpronounceable) builder of million-dollar exotics, some of which make over 1,000hp – like the CCXR pictured above.
Swedish news reports indicate Koenigsegg and a group of Swedish investors have signed a letter of intent with General Motors.
Bloomberg is also reporting the news and according to a source familiar with the deal, Koenigsegg was chosen because of it is an auto manufacturer and because it is committed to the Swedish brand.
According to the Financial Times, the deal will see General Motors provide $500 million in both cash and assets, as well as production equipment for a new model. Saab will also get to keep the $150 million it currently has banked. Koenigsegg and the three investors will only have to pay GM back if they succeed in making Saab a profitable automaker.
The sale of Saab is the final step for General Motors in its corporate reorganization that will see the company reduced from eight brands to just four. GM recently agreed to sell its Hummer brand to Chinese industrial machine manufacturer Tengzhong and has arranged to sell its Saturn brand to the Penske Automotive Group. The Pontiac brand is scheduled to be mothballed at the end of 2010.
[Source: Automotive News]
With news of a tentative deal to sell off Hummer coming yesterday, GM still hasn’t made any decisions about its Saturn or Saab brands – but apparently it has plenty of offers to entertain.
GM CFO Ray Young said that Saturn has as many as 16 suitors, while the Swedish Saab brand has three.
The list of Saturn buyers is reported to include Penske Automotive Group, Malcolm Bricklin, Mitsubishi, Nissan/Renault and investment firm Telesto Ventures.
Young did say that it is interested in working with the Saturn buyer when it comes to vehicle assembly.
As for Saab, Swedish business paper Dagens Industri is reporting that the three buyers are U.S. financier Ira Rennert and his Renco Group, Fiat and Swedish supercar maker Koenigsegg.