First it was Koenigsegg, now it’s Spyker, the Dutch sportscar maker, whose deal fell through on Saab. We may never know the final story—GM says they couldn’t get due diligence, Spyker says, “We were so incredibly close.” In any case, Saab will now wind down its production, pay its suppliers, continue to honor warranties, and provide parts. But the quirky cars that many loved will be gone.
It’s another sad outcome for GM and for the company that started by making fighter planes in 1937, then branched out to cars after WWII. GM bought into Saab in 1990 for $600 million, then paid $125 million for the entire company in 2000. However, the 9-3 and 9-5 models may still be made in China, as the Beijing Automotive Industry Holding Company (BAIC) recently purchased rights to produce them.
Saab’s U.S. sales were down 61 percent this year, and the company sold 7,812 cars here through November of this year: horrendous figures. The business has been struggling for many years, and of course the question of who’s to blame will be much discussed. The Wall Street Journal:
Swedish Industry Minister Maud Olofsson said Friday that GM’s decision to close Saab is regrettable and came as a big surprise. “GM could’ve done much more to help Saab,” Mr. Olofsson told reporters at a press conference in Trollhattan, where Saab is based.
At the same time, many have criticized the Swedes for not doing more themselves to save the company. While fingers continue to be pointed, some 3,400 employees and those of the company’s suppliers will be out of work. The other Swedish car company, Volvo, is still on track to be sold to Geely by Ford.
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