GM Closing Down the Saab Brand
The Saab brand and all of its franchises (218) will close down, according to General Motors. This is the third sale of a GM brand to be shelved this year. This time, issues that came up in the Swedish brand's sale to Dutch niche automaker Spyker Cars NV couldn't be resolved.
“We've tried very hard in a not very long period of time with Spyker to come to an agreement for Saab,” said John Smith, GM's vice president for corporate planning and alliances, in a call with reporters as reported by Automotive News. “It just didn't work out.”
This failed deal is the second one to sell the Swedish brand in a month. GM has been trying to sell the brand to a suitor for a year. In November, Swedish-based Koenigsegg Group AB terminated its agreement to buy Saab. GM said a week later that if it couldn't find a buyer by year end, Saab would wind down. They came through on their promise today.
According to Smith, Spyker, which wasn't the original bidder for Saab, was the only option, Smith said. So the companies began working through due diligence from scratch.
More recently, GM tried to negotiation a sale with its European Opel brand to a consortium led by Canadian supplier Magna International Inc., but it was canceled after GM decided to keep the brand. An attempt to sell its Saturn brand to Penske Automotive Group Inc. was shelved in September when France's Renault SA backed out of its agreement to provide Saturn with future product.
GM still has an agreement to sell Hummer to China's Sichuan Tengzhong Heavy Industrial Machinery Co. Ltd. GM also is winding down Pontiac. This leaves GM with four U.S. brands: Chevrolet, Cadillac, GMC and Buick.
According to the Automotive News, Saab's U.S. sales fell 61 percent in the United States through November, to 7,812 units, meaning this year will be the lowest total under 20 years of GM ownership. GM's peak for Saab was 47,914 in 2003. The company's U.S. high was 48,181 in 1986. Nationally, Saab had 2,100 vehicles in U.S. inventory as of Dec. 1 — a 130-day supply. The brand sold just 371 units in November.