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General Motors confirmed this morning that Saab's days as a part of the Detroit-based company are numbered. The Swedish brand has filed paperwork with courts in its home country for reorganization that would lead to its independence. This self-managed reorganization is analogous to the U.S. Chapter 11 bankruptcy process, and would lead to the establishment of an independent entity based in Sweden. In order for that to happen, however, GM needs to line up financing for the new company, which may be problematic. Automotive News reports that as much as $1 billion may be needed to make Saab sustainable on its own.

GM plans to concentrate Saab's engineering, design and manufacturing operations back in Sweden. The brand plans to launch three new products between now and mid 2010: the new 9-3X, 9-5 and 9-4X. The first two are already set to be produced in Sweden, but the new 9-4X crossover was scheduled to be built in Mexico alongside the Cadillac SRX. The Swedish government has already rejected a GM request for funds, so the money will have to come from somewhere else. The official press release from GM can be read after the jump.

[Source: General Motors]

PRESS RELEASE

SAAB ON THE ROAD TO INDEPENDENCE

  • Swedish court process to reorganise Saab into a fully independent business
  • Three new models ready to be launched over the next year and a half
  • Saab aims to bring resources back to Sweden
  • Funding sought for 'new independent Saab'

Trollhättan. As a result of GM's strategic review of the global Saab business the Saab Board announced today that it will file for reorganisation under a self-managed Swedish court process to create a fully independent business entity that would be sustainable and suitable for investment.

The reorganisation is a self-managed, Swedish legal process headed by an independent administrator appointed by the court who will work closely with the Saab management team. As part of the process, Saab will formulate its proposal for reorganisation, which will include the concentration of design, engineering and manufacturing in Sweden. This proposal will be presented to creditors within three weeks of the filing. Pending court approval, the reorganisation will be executed over a three-month period and will require independent funding to succeed.

"We explored and will continue to explore all available options for funding and/or selling Saab and it was determined a formal reorganisation would be the best way to create a truly independent entity that is ready for investment," said Jan Ake Jonsson, Managing Director for Saab Automobile. "With an all new 9-5, 9-3X and 9-4X all ready for launch over the next year and a half, Saab has an excellent foundation for strong growth, assuming we can get the funding to complete engineering, tooling and manage launch costs. Reorganisation will give us the time and means that help get these products to market while minimising the liquidity impact of Saab on GM."

Funding for the restructured company will need to be secured during the reorganisation process and will be sought from both public and private sources.

Saab will continue to operate as usual and in accordance with the formal reorganisation process, with the Government providing some support during this period. The reorganisation should have no impact on other GM operations. Details of the progress will be provided as milestones are achieved.




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  • 55 Comments
      • 6 Years Ago
      I have a Saab 9-3 Aero and it is a great car.

      I drove a lot of GM vehicles, and if more GM vehilces were engineered, built and drove like Saab cars (I'm talking 9-3's and 9-5's), GM would not be in the situation it is in today.

      I am a little worried about where I am now going to be taking my car for regular service, but I am more than happy that all design, engineering, etc. will be going back to Sweden.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Tim,

        "Are you saying that a bankrupt company can teach another bankrupt company how to do business?"

        Maybe they can not teach each other how to do business, but one company can teach the other how to build quality, fun, light, good looking cars. And is it not that what makes or breaks a company? Whether or not they build cars that people want to buy? And want to buy more than other car maker's cars?

        "SAAB is bankrupt and GM will get there without the "superior quality" of SAAB vehicles."

        To be honest, I hope you are right; I actually hope that both companies will survive. However, I think that GM will need to do a lot more work (and government money it seems) than SAAB to get out of the hole.

        GM might be a big company, but so was the Titanic. But because the Titanic could not turn in time, it sank. Let us hope that the icy waters and icebergs that is today's economy won't sink GM.
        • 6 Years Ago
        "I drove a lot of GM vehicles, and if more GM vehicles were engineered, built and drove like Saab cars (I'm talking 9-3's and 9-5's), GM would not be in the situation it is in today."

        Are you saying that a bankrupt company can teach another bankrupt company how to do business?
        SAAB is bankrupt and GM will get there without the "superior quality" of SAAB vehicles.
        • 6 Years Ago
        As a longtime Volvo owner, I would advise just finding a good, local mechanic who specializes in Volvos and Saabs, among other foreign makes. The service I got from independent mechanics has always been better than the dealers.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Based off the Aero X concept...love that car. But seems I won't be owning a Saab, even though I considered them one of the better brands. Well, at least, way better than Hyundai before the Genesis.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Could not agree more with everything you wrote... unfortunately that includes the concern about servicing
      • 6 Years Ago
      At least in the states, almost no one will miss them. Never really been a profitable car company and like Saturn, your not turning this around in this economy. Close the doors.
        • 6 Years Ago
        It's funny cause I started to see a lot of SAAB cars out of nowhere.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I wonder if this news will have a positive impact on Volvo's European and U.S. sales. I suspect there are people for whatever reason want Swedish engineering in their vehicle and now they may view their choices as being reduced down to one manufacturer. I don't see there being any possibility of an uptick in Volvo's numbers in the near term but maybe a slowdown of the freefall they have been experiencing in recent months. Saab has been experiencing the same drop in Europe as they have in the U.S. if not worse. While Volvo has been hurting much more in the states as opposed to Europe. The possibility of a demise of Saab may make Volvo look a bit more appealing to a potential buyer. Maybe, just maybe.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Geesh, is there any value in Swedish/Volvo engineering except occupant safety features?

        Besides, under Ford ownership, Volvo's dabbled in platform sharing (e.g. S40, V50) in recent years to improve economies of scale.

        When I did research to buy a car for my wife, I looked at the V50 T5 wagon and passed on it due to numerous reports by owners of problems with its engine. Mediocre reliability ratings from Consumer Reports put the final kibosh for me to buy a car with Swedish/Ford engineering.

        At least Volvo has lots of time to work out bugs in their lineup since they hardly ever do model changes.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Is this a good or bad time to be buying a SAAB. I have owned them going back 30+years and got priced out as they became luxury cars. The prices are less than small chevy's and toyotas. How stuck might I be buying a car in Chapter 11?
      • 6 Years Ago
      First of many, who's gonna be able to fix this?
        • 6 Years Ago
        Ok - So if Saab goes independent must they then also leave the US? Considering they no longer have an independent dealer base that I know of. Are not all Saabs sold at existing GM dealers? Maybe I am wrong on this, just don't remember seeing a stand alone dealer for a long time.

        If it is true Saab would no longer have a dealer network maybe they could join forces with Saturn to leverage a dealer network. I doubt that would work but who knows. Saab has a similar problem to Saturn, too ingrained with GM and no independent product but at least Saab could stand alone with design, engineering and manufacturing facilities.

        Its not all GMs fault. Saab was going down before GM purchased them. Maybe another parent company would have proven better results but Saab was in trouble before. They have only made two models forever. The stupid 9-7x and 9-2x were bad ideas with a good intent - increase the brand presence.

        The biggest mistake GM made was making Saab less weird and less Saab. Losing the 900 as a hatch was a major mistake. That is akin to Porsche redesigning the 911 to something unfamiliar. Also parts bin parts are not a good thing, no matter how good they are. Honestly, by all accounts the products GM made with Saab are very good but they have less Saab soul. I believe the 9-3 sedan is a markedly better car in all tangible ways to the 900 or 9-3 hatch but it is far less cool and far less a Saab. Same thing to some extent happened to Volvo just not to the same degree but also Volvo was not in the same dire straits as Saab was when it was purchased.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Bob Lutz
      • 6 Years Ago
      Very simple question why Saab is in trouble: What compelling reason is there to buy a 9-3 or 9-5 right now? Lower price? Better quality? Great design?

      • 6 Years Ago
      Figures.

      I just traded my Honda Civic Hybrid for a SAAB 9-3 2.0L turbocharged touring convertible.

      My dad was an avid Oldsmobile collector until...
      (Now he drives a Hummer H3T)

      Methinks GM is out to get us.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Maybe I shouldn't mention this, but I am saving up to buy a Camaro convertible (if GM is still around then).
        • 6 Years Ago
        9-3 Convertible - Wow, you really are female! I was always suspicious.
        • 6 Years Ago
        I've got an idea. Tell us what cars you and your dad are going to buy after the Saab and Hummer so we can dump our stock in those companies now.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Either find a good buyer in Asia that wants to buy Saabs tech, or just liquidate the company. The cost of running Saab is not that big and for a large car company its peanuts, but you get tech and an established brand. Would be a good way for China or India to get a foot in the european market. Establishing a brand takes lot of time, just look at Skoda. Its one thing to meet market standards, but quite another to actually get people to buy something. Just look at the rebadged Kias around here. Only reason they're selling, is because people think its a Chevrolet. And because its cheap, heh. Anyway, I think its a shame to ruin the presence the brand built up. It might not be as recognizable as a Chevrolet, but at least people its a Saab.

      But if they can't sell Saab, just get rid off it. Saab can never manage on its own and restructuring the company only means that a lot of people are not going to get their money, meaning even more bankruptcies. I'd hate to see even more people falling into the clutches of our lovely banking system.

        • 6 Years Ago
        They are re-baged Daewoos...not KIAS. So are many Suzukis, Verona=Leganza Forenza=Nubira, Chev Aveo=Lanos and so on...GM hasn't re-badged a KIA since the Ponitac LeMans.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Jordan- The Pontiac LeMans was also a rebadged Daewoo. GM has never rebadged a Kia, period.

        Ford, on the other hand, rebadged the Kia Pride as the Festiva. Which was a way better car than the LeMans ever was.
      • 6 Years Ago
      China maker buy saab.

      that is the serious threaten to all auto maker industry.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Sweden doesn't need another car manufacturer. How can a car brand that's sold only 125K units worldwide in 2007 justify its existence? Volvo sold 458K units in 2007, so it's more viable in terms of scale.

      Considering that Sweden is pro-labor and socialist, the government obviously doesn't think Saab's viable enough as a business to save jobs.

      GM better not use the bailout money we're giving them to save its Swedish subsidiary, especially when the Swedish government isn't willing to help.

      At least Canada stepped up to save the auto plants in its country.

      Let Saab fail.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Why oh why couldn't GM make Saab work?
      After all the 95 was only 11 years old.
      Oh and who needs leasing...only the majority of Saab owners....
      • 6 Years Ago
      This is the beginning of the end for Saab. It won't get $1B in financing.
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