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anyone seen this?!

GM review poses threat of closure to Saab

General Motors stephen9000T writes "By James Mackintosh in Detroit
January 10 2005 22:01

A General Motors review of its Saab subsidiary could lead to the upmarket car brand being axed, if the heavy investment required to revive it is deemed unjustified.

GM executives and people familiar with the study said there was only an outside chance that the Swedish marque would be killed off by the review, due to be completed within three months.

But even a remote threat of the company being closed is likely to prompt a political storm in Sweden, where the automotive industry is one of the most important employers.

Goran Persson, prime minister, has already visited Zurich, where GM's European headquarters is based, to offer significant investment in the region around Saab's Trollhättan factory if it is given more production.

GM added two new models to the Saab line-up last year in what executives said was a "quick and dirty fix" to improve sales. But Rick Wagoner, GM chairman and chief executive, admitted on Sunday that the new 9-2X small Saab, based on a car from Subaru, GM's Japanese affiliate, had not met sales targets after a botched US launch.

John Devine, GM's chief financial officer, said in an interview on Monday that the Saab brand "still has attraction".

"It does have a future but how big and what role it plays are what we are looking at right now," he said. One big question, he added, was "how to take the currency risk out of manufacturing". That comment is likely to increase concerns about the future of the Swedish factory, which has been badly hurt by the strength of the Swedish Krona.

According to GM insiders, the company remains unclear what the Saab brand stands for. The typical customer is an academic - and, says one executive, "the question is, are there enough university professors to make the investments worthwhile?"

Saab has lost money in all but one of the past 10 years and GM has steadily reduced its autonomy over the past 18 months. Manufacturing, engineering and most design decisions are now controlled by GM Europe executives, based in Germany or Switzerland, reducing Saab's local management to controlling branding and marketing.

The review coincides with a decision on whether to build GM's new Opel Vectra saloon and the replacement for the Saab 9-3, both due in 2007, at Saab's Trollhättan factory. Trade unions have warned that if production is moved to Opel's Rüsselsheim plant, which has also bid for the work, then Trollhättan is likely to close, although GM denies this. The Saab plant employs 6,000 workers.

Trollhättan was given a boost this week by the news that it will build the small Cadillac aimed at Europe, but the car, based on the existing Saab 9-3, will not sell enough units on its own to justify keeping the factory open.

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more here:
http://www.detnews.com/2004/autosinsider/0411/29/business-18342.htm
 

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psych warfare between GM and Saab?

there's a similar thread in the 9-3 forum on Saab Central... And someone there claims that since the Caddy is going to be built at Trollhattan, the plant will continue being open to produce the new generation of 9-3. Of course, the rumor mill is always spinning its wheels, so we'll never know for sure until one or the other decision is announced.

I just wonder what's going to happen to ability to get parts for Saab cars (especially older C900) if Saab brand ceases to exist.

This makes me angry, though. If GM kills off Saab, I will never buy anything from them or their affiliates... They shouldn't have bought Saab in the first place if they don't have the stomach for taking care of it.
 

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oh this sucks...

funny thing is...GM caused the bad press on SAAB allowing the new trim to be introduced without addressing all the issues it had....when GM bought them out.

It's an irony how they don't seem to know how to fix it. They should have an approval process after Troll....submits design proposals. Meanwhile GM just keeps reintroducing new models into the lineup. For example... the new GTO, another Corvette..... Cars that don't seem to be practical at all.. with barely any room, fuel economy sucks, and you can barely take any luggage or transport things with you.

I can only imagine what it might be doing to the economy of Sweden right now. Probably be like pulling the Mercedes, or BMW plug on Germany.

I guess if it ever gets to that point, I'll have to mothball mine if they decide not to continue supporting the car......cause I refuse to give up my car.

The SAAB is just a really practical car.....which is something GM seems to be missing, because GM doesn't know how to make practical cars. SAAB was the 2nd safest in the world next to Volvo..., better fuel economy than the average GM product ever had; more torque (which is really what power is all about, not HP), smoother; handled like a sports car, yet felt like a luxury car; the hatchback with folding rear seats allowed transporting items only a truck was supposed to carry..

How could they not know what to focus on... hence the observation that only Academics have an interest...

sorry for the long post...just venting...
 

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BurnsSide42 said:
According to GM insiders, the company remains unclear what the Saab brand stands for. The typical customer is an academic - and, says one executive, "the question is, are there enough university professors to make the investments worthwhile?"
well that about explains the problem right there doesnt it? :roll:

they just completely dont get it :evil: .

Paul
 

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That's a good point. I see many more business people driving these 9-3 than I do university professors. Professors prefer to save money and drive their crusty old Toyota Corolla. Although, I must say I have seen probably a dozen C900's in Princeton township around the university, which is where they seem to be concentrated ;)
 
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