GM will close the Saab brand

UPDATE 3: Just listened in on the GM conference call, which was 50% insightful and 50% absolute crap spewing forth from the mouth of the beast. Sorry, but there’s no other way to describe it. It’s 2:20am. I’m somewhat depressed, quite angry, very tired and heading to bed.

Maud Olofsson’s having a press conference as I write this. I hope she’s got something more positive to say (and hopefully none of it involves windmills).

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UPDATE 2: Will be live-blogging the conference call with GM, beginning shortly. Below the press release.

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Saab Sale Cannot Be Concluded
Brand to be Wound Down

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.

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GM Conference Call on the Saab sale

Ed Whitacre not taking the call. Cowardly, if you ask me. Chris Pruess leading the call.

Not much detail to give, says Pruess. General info only on this call.

Issues arose on both sides, says John Smith (negotiator). Says they’ve been assessing buyers for some time.

There might be expressions of interest for the assets of Saab, these could include 9-5 nd 9-4x.

Spyker were not part of the original bidding process.

“During the wind-down process, some people may come forward and express an interest in Saab”

Wind-down will start in January.

“There’s been no shortage of effort in the last 20 years to put Saab on a sure footing” BULLSHIT! (please pardon my language)

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FROM just before the press release…..

Sources are telling me that GM will commence an orderly wind down of the Saab brand.

I cannot, for the life of me, believe that this is going to happen. Can’t believe it.

A press release is expected shortly.

ADDENDUM – during writing, this popped up:

GM Says Saab Sale Won’t Be Concluded, Will Wind Down Brand
2009-12-18 13:50:57.388 GMT

By Kenneth Wong
Dec. 18 (Bloomberg) — General Motors Co. said today that a planned sale of its Saab unit wouldn’t be concluded because of “certain issues” that arose during due diligence with suitor Spyker Cars NV. GM will start an orderly wind-down of the brand, it said in an e-mailed statement today.

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