GM Selects AlixPartners to assist in Saab wind-down

OK, these are strange times, and there are always going to be some mixed messages, I guess. The juxtaposition of this announcement with yesterday’s deadline for bids for Saab defies logic and perhaps prudence, but here it is.
According to the New York Times, GM has hired a consulting group to assist with the wind-down of Saab operations. AlixPartners is a Detroit-area consulting group that specializes in corporate restructuring and “enterprise improvement” according to their website. The General is asking the Swedish government to approve AlixPartners to supervise the closure operations, saying that it’s common practice there to appoint such oversight.
First off, this seems to be “business as usual” according to the path charted by General Motors beginning last month with the simultaneous wind-down and sale of Saab. Thus, the real news here isn’t the wind-down, it’s the selection of who will actually do some of the work.
Again, this is no surprise, as AlixPartners has been involved with many GM structural changes since the GM crisis hit the news over a year ago. They have been advisors helping GM to sell the Wilmington, Delaware, USA plant to Fisker, and presumably have been involved with crunching the numbers for many of the GM acquisition and divestiture decisions of late.
So, this is just making a name public, no real change in the path that we’re on. At least for now, anyway.
There are many comments attached in reaction to the word “liquidation” used in a couple of articles mentioning this event. That’s what a “wind-down” is, isn’t it? This is not news. The timing, which I addressed in the first paragraph, is suspect, even awkward. The wording perhaps more so. With GM’s track record of missteps, this is just par for the course in my opinion.
GM stated from the beginning that the wind-down would take some time and they would build cars from the stock of parts that they’d already bought. They also said that any wind-down/liquidation would take months. I have to believe that this is just another step in the process. Does it look bad? Yes. Is it inconsistent from what we’ve seen in the last six or eight weeks? Hardly.

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