When Koenigsegg's deal to purchase Saab fell apart in late November, many feared the worst for the brand's future. Today those fears have come true, as GM announced this morning that it will begin winding the brand down after "certain issues" arose in the deal with Spyker.
Last week GM sold the tooling for the last-gen 9-3 and 9-5 sedans to Beijing Automotive Industry Holding Co (BAIC), but left the door open for the sale of the actual operations if it could find a satisfactory buyer. That hasn't happened.
“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.
As with the other brands GM has shut down over recent months, warranties will continued to be honored through other brand dealerships.
The real loss to the consumer will come in the form of products that will now never be realized, including the 2010 9-5 sedan and Cadillac SRX-based 9-4X crossover. Both vehicles had drummed up a lot of excitement for the future of the brand. GM estimates a worldwide tally of 3,400 workers that will have a more direct and tangible sense of Saab's closure.
The death of Saab comes just as GM passes the 20th anniversary of its purchase of a controlling 50% interest in the Swedish brand. It bought the remaining 50% in 2000.
The full release from GM is below.
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.
A media conference call with John Smith GM Vice President, Corporate Planning and Alliances will take place at 9:45 a.m. Eastern Time.