Saab Cars North America has begun sending out letters to Saab daelers telling them of their fate under the new entity.
81 current Saab dealers will be Saab dealers no more.
Automotive News has the details:
GM said in a letter received by dealers today that Saab’s buyer, Swedish exclusive sportscar maker Koenigsegg, selected the surviving stores. Koenigsegg will operate the brand here through a new entity, Saab Cars North America Inc.
The target date to close the sale of Saab is Nov. 30, but it could take until year end, says Mike Colleran, COO of Saab Cars North America in Detroit.
“SCNA did make its selection of (go-forward) dealers based on our business plan and the needs of that plan,” Colleran says. “Essentially, we’re looking for strong dealers who have good profitability and good throughput.”
Location also factored into the decision, he said.
GM sent letters out through Federal Express on Wednesday to rejected dealers, GM spokeswoman Ryndee Carney said. Saab will have 137 U.S. dealers after the sale.
All Saab dealers signed a termination agreement in June when GM entered federal bankruptcy protection, Carney says. The terms of those termination agreements will go into effect for rejected dealerships.
If the deal to sell Saab falls through — as GM’s deal to sell Saturn to Penske Automotive Group did — GM would close Saab and all the dealerships would be terminated, Carney says.
The surviving dealerships will remain under their current dealer contract with GM until it expires in October 2010, Colleran says. Then they will get new franchise agreements with Saab Cars North America.
OK, so that last sentence is a little confusing. Djup Strupe tells me the letter actually quotes a deal date around the end of November, which makes more sense.
81 dealerships is a lot to lose. When you consider that they’re aiming to sell MORE cars, that they’ll only have 63% of their previous dealership base (by number, not necessarily by sales or quality) AND that the cars will likely be a bit more expensive, it can only mean one of two things.
- The cars are going to be absolute killers, or
- We’re in a shipload of trouble.
I vote for option one. Here’s hoping.