Saab bites the dust

Saab RIP - 18 December 2009

“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.”

And with those words, GM Europe President, Nick Reilly, brings to an end General-Motors’ 20 year ownership of Saab. More seriously, those words also announce the demise of the Swedish brand after buyout talks with Koenigsegg and, more recently, Spyker could not be finalised.

The motoring industry needs brands like Saab. It needs a company that is prepared to present alternative thinking to the market. Of course, a lot of that sometimes oddball thinking had been homogonised by GM, but there was always a glimmer of hope that the old Saab could break through.

GM has extinguished that last glimmer of hope. The motoring world is now a poorer place.

Or is it? Already a movement to save the company has started. But can Rescue Saab come to the party and provide a genuine solution?

A full statement from GM can be read after the jump, along with a short gallery of images to pay respect to the other Swedish car company.

Saab Sale Cannot Be Concluded

Brand to be Wound Down

2009-12-18 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.

Saab RIP – image gallery

Saab Sonnet

Saab Sonnet

Saab 92

Saab 92

Saab 93

Saab 93

Saab 95

Saab 95

Saab 96

Saab 96

Saab 99

Saab 99

Saab 900

Saab 900

Saab Turbo X

Saab Turbo X