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A stockpile of about 900 Saabs is finally set to be sold off after having sat in three U.S. ports since December 2011 as collateral in the company’s financial snafu.
The saga of Saab‘s bankruptcy seems to be never ending, but that hasn’t dampened the spirits of Saab enthusiasts. The last Saab 9-3 Griffin is scheduled to come off the production line at the end of this month, and SaabsUnited is hoping to purchase the vehicle and place it at the Saab Cars Museum.
Back in 2009, Beijing Auto was able to purchase the rights to several Saab platforms, engines and transmissions. Now that buyout will result in the C70, set to debut at the upcoming Beijing Motor Show.
Alright, so it’s not actually a new Saab per se, but the C70 is one of three Saab-based models that Beijing Auto hopes to launch shortly. Despite having the rights to the Swedish automaker’s platform and some of its drivetrains, Beijing Auto had to come up with a new body for the car. Rumors have us to believe that Italy’s Pininfarina was tasked with the job.
As the Saab bankruptcy saga starts to come to a silent end, or so we hope, the deadline for companies to place their final bids for the Swedish carmaker has been set for April 10th.
Currently, the only company that has publicly registered its interest is Chinese automaker Youngman that has been in the picture since the bankruptcy began. Youngman’s original buyout was essentially broken up by General Motors, which still controls key Saab technology today.
Other companies rumored to be interested include Indian automaker Mahindra & Mahindra and an unnamed Japanese and Chinese consortium interested in producing electric vehicles through the Saab name.
Alas, it seems unlikely that assets raised will cover Saab’s current debt which is estimated to be about $1.8- to $1.97-billion. In fact, the attorneys handling Saab’s estate says any sale is unlikely to even cover “a portion” of the debt.
[Source: Automotive News]
Since Saab‘s bankruptcy, multiple automakers and outfits have expressed interest in purchasing the Swedish marque albeit no deals were sealed. As for Saab Cars North America (SCNA), the distribution company continues its fight against an involuntary bankruptcy filing in Delaware by its dealers and is working to move the case to Michigan.
In the meantime, its North American imports are held in limbo, as roughly 900 new Saabs were spotted at building 263 of a Newark, New Jersey port facility. A disheartening sight, Saab 9-3 and 9-5 sedans and sport combis as far as the eye can see lie neglected under layers of grime. More still are kept inside the warehouse buildings.
According to original poster aireeca of Found Our Own Road, “It’s hard to explain what it was like to just stand there and look at these cars and think, ‘This is it. These are the last new Saabs we’ll ever see.’ It’s not like Oldsmobile or Saturn or Hummer where the parent company lives on.”
GALLERY: Saabs At New Jersey Port
[Source: Found Our Own Road]
Despite the demise of the Saab automaker, racing team Tidö and Flash Engineering are hard at work developing and performing shakedown tests on their new Saab 9-3 TTA race car that will compete in the Swedish Racing Elite League.
Recently, the Saab 9-3 TTA was seen conducting first round testing in France with Swiss driver Fabian Thuner lapping around the Alés track. Then, the race car as well as the new information and developments found during testing will be carried over to undergo official tests in Karlskoga and Anderstorp.
Competing against Saab in the Swedish Racing Elite League include automakers Citroën, BMW, and Volvo. Racing head to head against the Volvo S60 TTA, Flash Engineering Managing Director says enthusiastically, “I have longed for 40 years to see the fight between Saab and Volvo on the race tracks. It becomes reality this summer and my biggest dream is to get all Saab fans to the TTA races to cheer us on.”
GALLERY: Saab 9-3 TTA
Check out the test teaser video of the Saab 9-3 TTA taken at the Alés track of France after the jump: Continue Reading…
The future of Swedish automaker Saab is still up in the air, but that hasn’t dampened the spirits of Saab enthusiasts that still love their cars. Flash Engineering has just unveiled the 9-3 TTA race car that will compete in the Swedish Racing Elite League this year.
In a way it’s nice to see that Saab, at least for now, will live on through racing enthusiasts. The aggressively-designed 9-3 race car sports a nice widebody kit typical to race cars, along with a vented hood, rear diffuser, and your necessarily large rear spoiler. Four of these 9-3 racers will be built and raced by Team Tidö. The team hasn’t finalized the driver lineup, but we can probably expect to see Jan Nilsson, Mattias Andersson, and Linus Ohlsson piloting the machines.
Saab fans will have more to cheer about this season though, as the 9-3 TTA race car will go head to head with the recently announced Volvo S60 TTA car. Jan Nilsson, Flash Engineering Managing Director, probably says it best: “I have longed for 40 years to see the fight between Saab and Volvo on the race tracks. It becomes reality this summer and my biggest dream is to get all Saab fans to the TTA races to cheer us on.”
GALLERY: Saab 9-3 TTA Race Car
Despite the tragic demise of the Saab brand, former Saab CEO Victor Muller isn’t going to quit just yet.
Victor Muller elaborated upon the proclamation and revealed details to keep Spyker Cars, the Dutch hand-made supercar marque that put him on the automotive map. “I’m excited to get back into this business,” said Muller, adding that he has already put most of the liabilities incurred during the Saab fiasco behind him. Cash and finances will now be dedicated to restoring Spyker.
What’s more, Russian business partner Vladimir Antonov invested a significant amount into Saab and Spyker during its most turbulent period. Now, Muller is happy to say that Antonov is “out of the picture” entirely, suggesting more freedom for Muller to run his business. He ambitiously suggests the expansion of the Spyker line-up as well, which had never produced more than 100 vehicles a year.
Letting out a sigh at the mention of Saab, Muller hinted that Saab isn’t through with all nine of its lives. Some reports have indicated the possibility of several potential investors that could revive the Swedish brand. Unfortunately, the speed bump is dealing with intellectual properties from GM that are found within the 9-5 and 9-4X models. In any case, Saab is no longer Muller’s problem.
[Source: The Detroit Bureau]
Swedish automaker Saab is attracting more interest dead than alive. The officially bankrupt automaker is in the process of liquidating its assets and former rivals are lining up to buy a piece of the much-talked-about but little-bought maker of quirky cars.
Recent reports indicated that German automaker BMW was interested in purchasing Saab, but we now have confirmation of another bid. This latest offer comes from Saab’s Swedish rival Volvo, which is now owned by China’s Zhejiang Geely Holdings Group Co.
Other interested parties include China’s Zhejiang Youngman Lotus Automobile Co., Turkish private investment firm Brightwell Holdings and Indian truck maker Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd.
Those in charge of liquidating Saab have commented that the ideal solution would be to sell off the company’s manufacturing facilities as a whole, keeping in mind the best interests of the creditors, employees and the city of Trollhattan. Sale to a tier one automaker like BMW would certainly fulfill those qualifications, although sale to an automaker like Volvo with a heritage and interest in Sweden could out-weigh that.
At their weekly press conference, the company touched on its pressing salary situation for its current employees and mentioned that it would take at least another week to sort things out; but the more interesting news is that the highest bidder may not get the deal, according to Saab. The Swedish automaker is looking for a company that will present the best option for the creditors, employees, and the region the most. Which essentially means that Saab will go to the company that has the money, knowledge, experience, and credibility to continue producing Saab vehicles.
It was confirmed that one of the six or seven bidders was a European automaker based out of Munich, which leads many to believe that it is BMW since the two firms once signed an engine purchasing agreement back in 2010. It would be mighty interesting if BMW is able to come out of this one to not only continue producing Saab vehicles, but using their platforms for their own models and even MINI ones.
[Source: Saabs United]
The latest detail in what’s become a sad saga of failure has to do with dealerships and their reaction to being caught in the fallout. It’s probably easy to forget, but if an automaker goes belly-up, the folks who made a living pedaling their products have to find a new source or go home.
That’s exactly what’s happening with many of the 900 Saab dealers worldwide who are either giving up the ghost or getting creative to stay in business.
Depending on their plans for the company, anyone trying to resurrect the defunct brand may find a dealer exodus too great a burden to overcome.
Without a conduit to sell cars, there is very little an automaker can do to bring their vehicles to market. Given this development, there is only one realistic business option: a company absorbing Saab purely to own their patents and to adopt their engineering.
If that were the case, we could start seeing Saab drivetrains and tech popping up in other cars around the world.
Brand names changing hands isn’t uncommon in the automotive world, Fiat now owns Chrysler and Ferrari, Volkswagen is the master puppeteer behind a myriad of companies including Porsche and Lamborghini and the automotive smorgasbord is hardly finished.
That said, we’re anticipating Saab will continue its slow somersault into the scrap bin with fewer hands reaching to catch their fall as the months wear on.
[Source: the Detroit News]
Following Saab‘s declared bankruptcy, the outstanding balance on the $400 million euro ($526 million) loan given to the automaker by the European Investment Bank required payment, since it had been guaranteed by the Swedish Debt Office.
Now, the Debt Office has reported that the outstanding balance on the loan (equivalent to some $325 million) has been paid, making the Swedish government the former automaker’s largest creditor.
With Saab assets, including shares in the parts and tooling divisions held as collateral by the Debt Office (which are worth more than the loan itself), sources have reported that the Swedish government is looking to sell the automaker as a whole entity, instead of breaking up and selling off various assets through bankruptcy.
Former suitor Zhejiang Youngman Lotus Automobile Group, whose last-minute rescue bid was blocked by General Motors, causing Saab to collapse in December, is reportedly still interested in acquiring the former Swedish automaker, though so far, no official bids have been announced.
[Source: Auto News]
Last week we reported the news that Saab was auctioning off the vehicles in its museum, with over 120 different models looking to be separated from one another. It appears that Saab enthusiasts and the city of Trollhättan, where the museum is located, wasn’t too keen on that idea.
The museum has been saved thanks to the city of Trollhättan, SAAB AB and The Wallenburg foundations. The trio paid over $4.1-million for the whole collection to remain in Trollhättan, but more importantly none of the cars will be separated from one another. The running costs of the museum will also be absorbed by the city and the regional government.
This is great news for what little may remain of Saab history, with the museum presumably housing the most complete collection of Saab vehicles in the world.
[Source: Saabs United]
A Turkish private equity firm, Brightwell Holdings, has announced its interest in placing a bid on now bankrupt Swedish automaker, Saab. The firm, based out of Istanbul, invests in energy, transport and technology and wishes to buy all of Saab and wishes to keep production in Sweden.
“We will make a bid very shortly, there’s no question,” Zamier Ahmed, a board member of the group, said. The firm is currently in discussions with those overseeing Saab’s bankruptcy in addition to Saab CEO Victor Muller. Brightwell Holdings aren’t the only ones making bids, as China’s Youngman continues its pursuance of Saab with rumors that they’ll make an offer worth several billion Swedish crowns.
Brightwell’s offer is probably a couple of weeks out though as they continue to evaluate Saab’s assets, including its inventories, in order to determine what they’ll be willing to pay. For Saab to emerge from bankruptcy however, the offer will need GM’s approval along with the Swedish government and the European Investment Bank.
[Source: Automotive News Europe]
Just when it seemed Saab would be gone from news headlines for good, Youngman swooped in again to make a bid.
Apparently the company hasn’t given up on getting Saab back up and running. According to Dagens Industri, a Swedish business news organization, the Chinese firm is submitting a £430 million offer, or about $560 million.
They are choosing to make that offer despite GM’s previous sabotage attempts which were meant to keep the company out of Chinese hands. A miniature war was waged last year between Youngman and GM when the American giant decided such a sale would unfairly divulge technology being used in the 9-4X.
Youngman seems unfazed, however, and is continuing their pursuit which will include an additional $520 million being invested. If they actually manage to take the company, they plan to resume production of the 9-3 in April or May.
Bold and ambitious, Victor Muller founded Spyker Swedish exotic sports cars before purchasing Saab, believing in its return to past glory under his leadership. Confident in his abilities, Muller’s gamble on Saab put Spyker in danger as well.
Following Saab’s devastating bankruptcy, Swedish Automobile N.V. (Swan for short, formerly Spyker Cars N.V.) have announced that there are talks on the possible sale of Spyker as well. On the other hand, if Swan chooses to keep Spyker, then the company faces the difficult challenge of securing funds. However, if Swan is unable to raise capital or if a suitable buyer cannot be found, Spyker will likely suffer an unfortunate fate similar to Saab.
Plans to sell Spyker were hinted in the past as financial firms CPP Global Holdings and North Street Capital showed interest in the Swedish boutique automaker. But, inexplicably, both deals fell apart without any statements issued or information disclosed. Meanwhile, Spyker is also carrying debt held by Tenaci Capital BV, controlled by Victor Muller himself and wealthy Russian, Vladimir Antonov. Making matters even more serious, four of Swan’s supervisory and management board members, Hans Hugenholtz, Maurizia La Noce, Alex Roepers, and Rob Schuijt have resigned after disagreements with Victor Muller. Seeking nothing less than a Hail Mary pass, Swan issued 2.5 million shares to seek more investors. Despite the effort, existing shares of Swan have fallen to €0.22.
While the Spyker was never a popular marque, its sports cars are a celebration of spirited driving, luxury, and attention to the smallest detail. As time and money runs dry, we may soon witness the end to Spyker’s brilliant and short existence.
Next on the chopping block for Saab is the auctioning of over 120 Saab models from the Swedish automaker’s museum at its headquarters in Trollhättan.
Car collectors from all around the world will now have the opportunity to own some very rare and even one-off concept models from Saab’s museum including their UrSaab prototype, the automaker’s first car. Some of the other vehicles that people will have the opportunity to bid for include a 1974 Saab 98 prototype, 1981 James Bond Saab 900 Turbo, 2001 Saab 9X concept and the Subaru Tribeca-based 9-6X prototypes.
You can hit the source for the PDF file from Delphi, a Swedish law firm, with all of the Saab museum vehicles being auctioned off.
It seems that General Motors is feeling a little guilty for how things went down with Saab, but just a little guilty. GM will be contacting 70,000 plus Saab owners and offering them the “GM Saab private offer” to help quell any negative feelings left over after the closing of Saab’s doors.
The incentives won’t be huge, but may be just enough to convince some consumers to replace their old Saab with a new GM product. The Saab private offer listed on the GM website is as follows:
Beginning January 4, 2012 and continuing through February 29, 2012, select General Motors SAAB customers are eligible for the SAAB Private Offer off the purchase or lease of new vehicles. Refer to program 12-40CR for official guidelines and vehicle eligibility.
SAAB Private Offer:
• $250 Chevy Equinox, Sonic, & Volt, GMC Terrain, & Buick Verano
• $500 all other Buick, Chevy and GMC vehicles
• $1,000 all Cadillacs, Chevy Corvette, Avalanche, Silverado, and GMC Sierra
We will have to wait and see if these meager offerings are enough to swing some favor in the Generals direction.
Just about 100 more Saabs will roll off the line after the Swedish automaker decided to send some employees back to finish incomplete units still standing in the factory.
The company was plagued with financial problems after changing hands from GM to Spyker Cars and ultimately Swedish Automobile. That forced them to shut down despite attempted rescue investments by Chinese companies, Zhejiang Youngman Lotus Automobile Co. and Pang Da Automobile Trade Co. Unfortunately for Saab, GM, which manufactured the 9-4x crossover, said the move would unfairly share their technology in key markets and subsequently blocked it.
For now, new Saabs can still be seen on the road, and the company’s North American operation is trying to find a way to honor existing warranties, but the brand will soon be little more than an automotive relic.