Thursday Snippets: market at bottom? – Saab/Fiat? – Saab/GM tech

Parts manufacturer Autoliv claim that the market has now bottomed out and that they expect conditions to improve in the second half of this year. Speaking with Dagens Industri, they cited encouraging signs in both China and Germany as the reason for their optimism.
Fiat’s CEO Sergio Marchionne agrees, speaking with Automotive News:

“The recovery process has started. The worst of the global financial crisis is over, but the consequences remain,” Marchionne said. “After the storm is over, you can start cleaning up.”
He predicts the U.S. economy will begin to grow again in the second half, while Europe’s rebound will take a little longer to get started.
“Europe will be slower, the first signs will start to appear at the very end of this year,” Marchionne said Tuesday in Geneva. “In Europe, I am worried about national protectionism, particularly on the industry side, which slows the recovery process.”

I hope they’re both right.
A new rumour associating Saab with Fiat emerged in comments last night.
I tracked it down this morning at

According to an inside source who did not want to be named it is possible that Chrysler won’t be permitted to join forces with Fiat. The U.S. Government could have other plans for Chrysler including a merger with GM. There may be a forced merger with two of the beloved Big 3…..
….In this plan GM and Chrysler would merge. GM would have overall control, their assets would be pooled, and a stronger company formed. This would leave Fiat without a home.
Fiat would be basically “given” Saab so that they would have an existing dealer network and some importing infrastructure to use to get into the United States. Fiat S.p.A. wants a piece of the U.S. market and they are getting here no matter what it takes.

I’m just not sure about this one. It’s a small report that hasn’t circulated and it’s from an unknown (to me) reporter with no source mentioned.
Wait and see, I guess.
SaabUSA’s Jan-Willem Vester spoke to Automotive News about the GM/Saab tech agreement.

General Motors and its Saab unit have agreed to share technology for at least the next five years. The arrangement is designed to make Saab more attractive to potential buyers, which is key to winning loan money from the Swedish government.
GM will let Saab use its global platforms, components and other systems in exchange for Saab’s safety, chassis and engine technology, Jan-Willem Vester, Saab spokesman, said today.

Again, bear in mind that this was always expected. The exact progress of a written agreement is somewhat immaterial. If GM want to sell Saab, then they’d have to continue to supply materials and technology. If GM want to continue to rely on Saab’s expertise in certain areas, they’d have to agree to pay for it.
bilde.jpg As an aside, what piqued my interest at the AN story was the graphic they associated with it. I’ve not seen one so official-looking without the SAAB name before.
Perhaps we’ve been right with the predicted modifications to the Griffin logo? Or maybe it’s normal and I just haven’t noticed…

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