• Jan 14, 2010
Saab: A history in pictures – Click above for high-res gallery

Despite the fact that the Detroit Auto Show put the focus back on General Motors' new products and pulled the spotlight away from the will-they/won't-they saga that is the Saab sale/wind-down, there are no shortage of developments to report in the ongoing story.

Yesterday, Genii Capital and Bernie Ecclestone submitted a freshly revised bit for Saab, and Spyker Cars reportedly also did so, with CEO Victor Muller going so far as to say that, "We have shown Mr. Whitacre the money." For its part, Merbanco has also apparently been asked to tweak its bid by General Motors, and it has done so as well.

Swedish-language outlet Svenska Dagbladet has reported that Genii and Spyker may team up to present an even stronger bid, and Dagens Industri has gone so far as to speculate that Genii and Spyker might try to pull Renault into a three-way deal (as you may remember, Genii purchased Renault's Formula One team recently), but Saabs United indicates that there's not much to this rumor.

In what critics are suggesting as a less-than-good-faith move, GM may also schedule transportation of the 2010 Saab 9-5's tooling to China as early as tomorrow, January 15, where the model would likely be built wearing Buick badges. The General appointed Steven Taylor and Peter Torngren to oversee the liquidation of Saab on Monday, and as part of that move, they replaced both Saab's CEO and board effective immediately.

Despite all of this, GM's new president of North America, Mark Reuss, has been quoted suggesting that the protracted bidding struggle may continue until early February, all while GM continues to the process of shuttering the brand. It's enough to make us long for the simpler days of last November, when Saab was nearly sold to Koenigsegg for the symbolic sum of one krona (about .14 cents).

While all of this has been happening, Saab enthusiasts have apparently been gearing up for dozens of rallies around the globe to show support for the sale of the battered marque, with organizers in Yekatarinburg, Russia going so far as to create a commercial and running it on local television. On Tuesday, workers at Saab's Trollhätten plant rallied, calling for the newly-appointed liquidators at AlixPartners to "go home." This, as the very first Saab 9-3 convertible came off the line in Sweden – previous droptops had been assembled by Valmet in Findland and Magna Steyr in Austria.

Given how painfully drawn-out this process has become, we have to wonder... will there be anything left to save when all the chips fall? A final, they-really-mean-it-this-time decision on Saab's fate could happen as early as tomorrow, but sources close to the negotiations seem to think that the proceedings are likely to drag out into next week.



[Sources: Saabs United, Saab History, Swedish Wire, Earth Times, Business Week; Contract Hire and Leasing]


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  • 26 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      I thought GM sold the pre-2010 9-5 to China?
      • 5 Years Ago
      lol.. Saab is probably saying "every time I think I'm out, they pull me back in..."
      • 5 Years Ago
      Wrong. The bidders almost certainly have the money and plenty of it. General Motors, by all accounts, has put out cripplingly restrictive terms on what, if any, current technology could be used for the development of future Saab vehicles under new ownership. Essentially Ed Whitacre thinks a fair shake would be to pay GM hundreds of millions of dollars for some empty buildings in Sweeden and Germany and the right to use the Saab name. These interested parties rightly asert that they should be able to fully develop and bring to market the Saab products already in the pipeline. Basically GM is like a psychopathic boyfriend who would rather kill his ex than let her date someone else.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Sell SAAB GM, damn it! Enough drama!

        GM, you're a royal PITA!!!
        • 5 Years Ago
        GM does not want to compete with their own products. Why would they? Any Saab developed technology will stay with GM unless the money is just too good to pass up. Either way GM wins. Saab has just been a drain on resources. It seems doubtful any independent Saab would last very long either way.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Make that "Sweden," and chalk up another vote for a comment editing system, AOL. Seriously.
        • 5 Years Ago
        GM does NOT want the long-in-the-tooth 2010 9-5 to itself. It wants the redesigned 2011 model.
      • 5 Years Ago
      There has gotta be a strategy to this.......or there just dumb.

      I seriously wonder if they are stalling this to see if they can get a glimpse at what sales will be of the new 9-5. And then if they are good proceed to keep the brand. It feels like there is a politics game going on to just show that they are doing something with the brand however really don't want to get rid of it but who knows. Its all just speculation and no one knows except for the few gentleman and ladies who make the decisions
      • 5 Years Ago
      Merbanco just announced they're out.

      Rumoured; Joint Genii/Spyker bid.


      Get it done already!
      • 5 Years Ago
      So with a good medium sedan, wagon and convertible already in production a crossover waiting for owners and finally the new 9-5 all ready to go could GM finally see the light of putting some money into Saab?

      Just think of the wisdom of using the same platform for different products and making them on different continents for local sale, oh there already 'nearly' doing it. Delta (Astra) and Epsilon (9-5, Insignia, Regal).

      Now all they need is to start realising that Saab is there only worldwide premium brand that is established and trusted.

      Or is this just a way to kill off Saab so that GM can make Cadillac the worldwide premium brand? Using all the distribution and sales networks that are in place.

      Look at the product push off Cadillac, whole new small car, STS and Coupe, new large car and uprated SUV's. Just waiting for sale worldwide.

      All GM have to do is convince people that its not the huge old land barges you think off but new modern cars. Afterall how great have the sales been of Cadillac in Europe so far? But GM seem to be throwing all there eggs in the USA and China baskets and the expensive Opels.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Expensive Opels? What are you talking about? Opel's not a luxury brand in Europe, that's for sure.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Yes they might not be a premium brand but they have the costs of one. Thats why Magna wanted to reduce the workforce so much.
      • 5 Years Ago
      .... when Saab was nearly sold to Koenigsegg for the symbolic sum of one krona (about .14 cents)....
      You cant directly convert it!!!! - Seems to be the standard comment anytime one attempts to do that here.
      • 5 Years Ago
      GM=General Mismanagment
      • 5 Years Ago
      It appears that GM would rather have the attorneys make all the money when they kill Saab. I wonder where the first law suit will be filled and by whom? Bidders, Dealers, Unions, Saab enthusiasts, etc. Maybe even the Swedish Government Haaaaaa Haaaa.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Great picture of the good old SAAB 900. It always was a looker.

      My father had the same car - I wonder if that 900's seat heaters work, or if the horn sticks on...
      • 5 Years Ago
      TrollhättAn, with an A.

      Simple, really: take Manhattan, replace man with troll, stick two dots over the first a. Done.
      • 5 Years Ago
      ok GM if you are not going to do anything with SAAB then sell it...It's a fact that you plan on killing the brand...Sell it already instead of trying to get greedy and demand more money for a brand that you are want to kill in the first place......and If GM is worried about intellectual property do what they were doing with Saturn just sale the name brand for a lot less...or is GM trying to pull another OPEL on everyone????
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