Koenigsegg Pulls out of Saab Deal

By Chris Haak

11.24.2009

a_ emblem_saabMore bad news for a castoff GM brand. First Penske couldn’t find a supplier of rebadged vehicles after Renault’s board gave him the cold shoulder, which had the effect of killing Saturn immediately. Now, word has just come out that Koenigsegg has pulled out of the deal to buy Saab from GM. GM released a statement saying that the company will address the next step it will take regarding Saab next week.

“We’re obviously very disappointed with the decision to pull out of the Saab purchase,” said GM President and CEO, Fritz Henderson. “Many have worked tirelessly over the past several months to create a sustainable plan for the future of Saab by selling the brand.”

And now, unless there is some white knight waiting in the wings (which there does not appear to be), Saab has not just an unsustainable future, but literally no future. GM’s board is scheduled to meet next Tuesday, December 1, and Saab’s future will likely be discussed during the meeting.

Saab sales have plumetted by 61.5% year to date in the US, with only 7,400 new cars being sold, making the loss-making, quirky semi-luxury brand something of a hard sell to any potential buyers.

According to a statement released by Koenigsegg, the timing of the deal – and therefore the difficulties and delays in getting financial backing and approvals – was what finally sunk the deal. “The time factor has always been critical for our strategy to breathe new life into the company,” Koenigsegg said in a statement.

GM shut down Pontiac outright, then tried to sell four of its brands as part of its post-bankruptcy restructuring. So far, it hasn’t been very successful. As already noted, the sale of Saturn to Penske fell through, and the sale of Opel to Magna also collapsed. The Saab deal has collapsed, which now just leaves Hummer, the unloved-by-many off road, pseudo-military truck brand. GM has a tentative deal to sell Hummer to Tengzhong, a Chinese heavy-equipment manufacturer. However, though that deal appears to be progressing, it is still subject to state approval, which is far from a certainty in China’s tightly-controlled economy.

If the Hummer deal also falls though, expect Hummer to end up at the same place that Saturn, Pontiac have ended up, and where Saab probably will: the automotive scrap heap amidst Plymouth, Oldsmobile, Studebaker, Hudson, AMC, and others. And that’s a shame. Apparently it’s just not a good time to sell a car company, even if the price is right.

COPYRIGHT Autosavant – All Rights Reserved

Author: Chris Haak

Chris is Autosavant's Managing Editor. He has a lifelong love of everything automotive, having grown up as the son of a car dealer. A married father of two sons, Chris is also in the process of indoctrinating them into the world of cars and trucks.

Share This Post On

9 Comments

  1. This is a killer. So much time and effort went into the Koenigsegg purchase plan; the Swedish government was behind it and everything. Such a pity, as Saab is in the midst of tooling up to produce the lovely new 9-5. The talk from Christian von Koenigsegg and Bard Ecker was all so positive; it’s shocking that they’re pulling out now at the 11th hour.

    As a crazy Saab fanatic I’m crushed that this “dream team” deal has fallen through; and as an industry-watcher I’m fairly convinced that this spells the end of the road for Saab.

  2. Was just reading through the site and this popped up on the front page, so I guess it was just announced.

    Man, that’s a bitch. Now, where will Saab go? I think there were some other interested parties when the bidding was still open, but they may have all faded away. Man, what a complete bitch for this to happen!

  3. The Swedish government just held press conference at 12:15 PM EST today; a Swedish government minister has reiterated the point that the Swedish government won’t be an owner of Saab and won’t step in to save Saab; the Swedish government is waiting on GM to make a decision in the coming weeks.

    The economic minister stated that only a private owner will be able to make the automaker work and make competitive, environmentally responsible models which have a chance to sell in the marketplace. The minister went on to state that even though thousands of Swedish jobs are at stake, it doesn’t make sense to keep the jobs if the employees are building uncompetitive products.

    This is similar to what we’ve heard before: If a buyer (or GM) isn’t willing to step in with capital and a good plan for Saab, the Swedish government is willing to let the company close.

  4. This development should be of some consolation to the 87 of 218 SAAB US dealerships which got the proverbial “hook” just over a week ago.

    For the remaining 137 dealerships one cannot help to wonder whether they knew this was coming.

    Now the August announcement of SAAB’s (by GM) cessation of sales operations in Canada after December 31, 2009 makes much more sense.

  5. LOL. I so totally called this back in another editorial. Looks like none of GM’s tossed brands are going to survive. Saturn has sunk, Hummer is treading water with a rock, and Saab looks like it’s about to drown. So, any chance of Government Motors pulling an Opel on any of them? Our tax dollars are being flushed faster than, well, doodie.

  6. Chinese money will step in, mark my words.

  7. GM reminds me of a sports team who hung onto their declining players for far too long, and when they finally get around to trying to trade them, they no longer have any value. Instead the team just ends up cutting them for no compensation. But it’s even worse than that, because GM was FORCED to shed these brands in bankruptcy.

  8. Probably the end of saab unfortunately.

  9. Well, it was a pretty good run. I’m sad to see them go.

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published.