GM to end Saab brand after talks with buyer fail | Shanghai Daily

Related News

Home » Business » Auto

GM to end Saab brand after talks with buyer fail

GENERAL Motors is killing off another well-known brand - Saab, a quirky line of cars known for angular roof lines and ignition keyholes between the front seats - after talks with a Dutch would-be buyer collapsed.

GM, Dutch automaker Spyker Cars and the government of Sweden, where Saabs are made, were in discussions as late as Friday morning. Spyker said the sale was too complicated to complete quickly. GM declined to elaborate on why the deal failed.

"We worked 24/7 for three weeks, but the complexity of the transaction in combination with the strict deadline simply did not allow us to complete the transaction," said Victor Muller, CEO of Spyker, a producer of exotic sports cars.

The announcement almost certainly means the death of a brand with a small but devoted following.

Enthusiasts appreciated touches like placing the ignition lock between the front seats rather than on the steering column. Saabs were also known for unusual design, with flatter front windshields and sloping rear windshields that gave the cars an almost backward silhouette.

Saab was also a pioneer in turbocharged engines, beginning with the release of the Saab 99 in the 1970s, and the first carmaker to offer heated seating, in 1971. In his namesake sitcom, Jerry Seinfeld was a proud Saab owner.

GM bought a 50 percent stake and management control of Saab for $600 million after it split from Swedish truck maker Scania in 1989. It bought full ownership in 2000 for $125 million more.

Even after the GM takeover, Saab remained closely associated with Sweden and its history of making safe, reliable cars. But GM never made money on the acquisition. Industry analysts complained Saab lost its distinctiveness in the crowded market for luxury cars under GM, which stripped it of its angular design.

"More and more frequently, they were using GM platforms and sheet metals, moving away from that uniqueness based on styling," said Tom Libby, an independent Detroit-area auto analyst. "There were styling cues that were unique to Saab - you see them and you say right away, 'Oh, that's a Saab.'"

It's the third time this year GM has failed to sell an unwanted brand. In September, auto industry magnate Roger Penske scrapped plans to buy Saturn after he was unable to find someone to make them when GM stops making them in 2011. GM is phasing out Saturn.



 

Copyright © 1999- Shanghai Daily. All rights reserved.Preferably viewed with Internet Explorer 8 or newer browsers.

沪公网安备 31010602000204号

Email this to your friend