• Dec 18, 2009
2010 Saab 9-5 – Click above for high-res image gallery

After a protracted saga that has seen bidders drop in-and-out and old model tooling and assets sold off to the Chinese, the enigmatic brand known as Saab is dead. In a press release issued this morning, General Motors announced that the "intended sale of Saab Automobile AB would not be concluded." GM had been in talks with Dutch exoticmakers Spyker Cars after pursuing a number of other buyer leads (including the aborted sale with Koenigsegg), but The General says that in the course of due diligence, the resolution of certain unspecified issues became impossible in the time frame that they had set for themselves.

As such, GM will immediately begin the "wind down" of the much-loved yet perpetually unprofitable cult brand, but says it will continue to honor warranties and provide spare parts and service – presumably through other GM brand dealers – as Saab dealers go offline. Officials note that this is not a bankruptcy or forced liquidation situation, so outstanding creditors should still expect to receive payment.

It is not clear what will happen to the production-ready 2010 9-5, nor the current 9-3/9-3X model and almost-ready 9-4X. Official death certificate available after the jump, historical slide show of the brand in photographs viewable below.




[Source: General Motors]

PRESS RELEASE


Saab Sale Cannot Be Concluded
Brand to be Wound Down

2009-12-18

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.

A media conference call with John Smith GM Vice President, Corporate Planning and Alliances will take place at 9:45 a.m. Eastern Time.

General Motors Company, one of the world's largest automakers, traces its roots back to 1908. With its global headquarters in Detroit, GM employs 209,000 people in every major region of the world and does business in some 140 countries. GM and its strategic partners produce cars and trucks in 34 countries, and sell and service these vehicles through the following brands: Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, GMC, GM Daewoo, Holden, Opel, Vauxhall, Wuling and Jiefang. More information on the new General Motors Company can be found at www.gm.com.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 165 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      I will never buy another GM product again. I am the proud owner of an Epsilon-based 9-5, and frankly I thought the product was an excellent synergy of these companies' strengths. If Ed Whitacre wants to build Acadia Denalis and CTS wagons, well, he can do it without a dime from me. If they thought they lost money on Saab, I can't wait to watch the Volt sink their ship.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I'm with you... I had already decided to never purchase a GM vehicle again after they took the government hydra bailout money, but add killing off Pontiac and SAAB to the list of offenses and I'm officially done with GM. If I wasn't upside down on my loan for my current GM vehicle purchased in 2006, I'd sell it too...

        • 5 Years Ago
        I was done with GM and Chrysler after the bailout anyway. Unless they offer U.S. citizens a one-time, 50% discount as recompense, I'll never buy a new GM or ChryFiatCo product. I'd much rather reward Ford for actually running a business like a business, reading the writing on the wall and taking the necessary steps to remain solvent and viable. Ford seems to have a better selection of products anyway.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Americans should watch themselves in Sweden. You are not liked !
      You have screwed Volvo (and might sell to the Chinese) and now you have destroyed Saab ! They are not amused !
      Yes, the brands had problems previously, but U.S carmakers have not been management top performers for the last 40 years and they have left a trail of destruction !
      When GM and Chrysler close, we will be left with too few carmakers ! Thanks detroit.
      • 5 Years Ago

      Saab should not become extinct. I owned a 2007 9-3 wagon which I was
      forced to return by GMAC leasing as due to timing, no way could be
      found to sell it to me. Afterwards, it was let go at auction for half
      of what I would have paid. Bad GM management. Bad GM decision making.
      Bad use of GM bailout funds.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Yet another brand dies because of Ghetto motors at least one bright spot is BAIC gets it hand on some valuable tech for free.
        invisiblepigeon3
        • 5 Years Ago
        GM is a sucky communist style company. China is a sucky communist country going through the dirtiest industrial revolution in history. Let them both burn.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Sorry to ask but are you Chinese? and can you tell me what is Ghetto about GM, or you just call everything you don't like Ghetto?
      • 5 Years Ago
      I can't say I'll miss SAAB. I would have rather seen other useless brands like Mitsubishi or Suzuki go first, but they have they great closed Japanese home market to prop them up.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Can they sell the name alone? I would love to see Koenigsegg or Spyker buy the name and just start from scratch. I'd be willing to wait 5-10 years to see the fruits of their labor.
        • 5 Years Ago
        That is essentially what they were doing.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I think jonnybimmer summarized it the best - I will miss it although I'd never buy one of their cars.

      The brand has been a zombie for decades. And even before than, it was basically rebadging other brands throughout its history. Although, Fiats with Saab badges and Saabarus somehow always looked much-much better than the original cars they were based on.
      • 5 Years Ago
      That is too bad. The new 9-5 looked to have great potential.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I'm sure the design and tooling will end up somewhere - just not in a Saab dealership.

        There's no way the 9-5 was going to keep Saab viable. No way.
        • 5 Years Ago
        That is what I was thinking, that new 9^5 was looking pretty good.

        I still think Subaru should buy the rights to the names and the aesthetics, and then platform-share their product line into the premium/entry-lux-sporty market segment.

        Basically turn Saab into their Audi/Acura/Infiniti upper brand.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Consolidation in the automarket continues. I can't say I am hugely disappointed to see Saab go. Their cars were interesting way back when but never had the same lure of other similarly priced european makes . GM destroyed any identity they had years ago. Like Saturn, Pontiac, Oldsmobile, Vauxhaul, etc they became just another badge to throw on the same products. The Premiere Auto Group was a big failure for Ford as was GM's attempts with Saab. With things moving more and more to one model for all markets their is even less need for a bunch of low volume niche brands.

        The engineering that went into the 9-5 will live on. It was sitting on the Epsilon Platform. The best parts of it will live on in the Regal and Insignia. I would imagine the europeans may see a special edition Insignia based on some of the left over Saab bits. No parts of the new 9-5 will be sent to the Chinese. They bought the tooling for older models. This is all about GM protecting their Intellectual Property. They have no interest in competing with anyone out there making vehicles based on their existing technology. Once you take the Intellectual Property away the Saab brand name and dealer network are worthless. Any company capable of actually pulling off a deal would be able to do enough due dilegence to realize this is a money losing no win situation.

        The only good that may come out of all of this is with it's main competitor gone maybe Volvo will rebound enough to convince Ford to keep them in the fold.
        • 5 Years Ago
        The new 9-5 will still exist, it's just going to be called the BAIC Awesome Great Car or whatever name they come up with.
        • 5 Years Ago
        @AndrewNoNumbers - yeah, but that's all they have in common. Sales wise the two couldn't be further apart.
        • 5 Years Ago
        While the 9-5 alone wouldn't have made a case for the entire brand, its supposedly a nicely developed car.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I agree, Saab and Subaru have something in common. They're both the niche, quirky, sporty-yet-practical brand.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Very sad.
      • 5 Years Ago
      GM's purchase never really made sense anyhow. I still wonder what they got for their money aside from a quirky semi-luxury brand with an established but small base of loyalist and a platform line that was already out of date.

      In case everyone wants to blame GM for their woes I think you need to look at the Swedish family who sold SAAB to GM: the Wallenbergs. By all accounts they did scant little with investments into the brand which forever likely hindered the success.

      What ever happened to the Idaho-based private equity buyers who were in there for a time as potential buyer? Merbanco Inc. As media reports showed they we dropped by GM when Spyker Cars came into the picture, but why were they dropped?

      At least folks can look back a cars like the SAAB Sonet and enjoy them for that they are.
      • 5 Years Ago
      http://www.techfresh.net/wp-content/uploads/2006/07/saab_roadster.jpg

      should have made this before the demise of the co.
      • 5 Years Ago
      As a Mechainic all I can say is YEAH ! These cars are nightmares when old and Expensive to repair. If you Own a Saab I'd dump it quick becasue parts will become a needle in a haystack, It's already like that with many Oldsmobile parts and Saturn is beginning
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