Sources say fate of Swedish car maker may already be sealed

Saab's fate as a car maker seems to have been already sealed according to sources at GM Europe in Germany.

Insiders have told Autocar that GM has secretly booked transportation to shift the remaining 9-5 production equipment and tooling from Opel’s Russelsheim factory to GM’s Buick factory in China.

The shipping will begin next Friday, 15 January, according to Autocar’s sources.

If the information is accurate, it could directly contradict GM’s statement yesterday that it is "continuing to evaluate…several proposals" for Saab from outside bidders.

Yesterday, GM also began the process "an orderly wind-down of Saab", drawing strong criticism from the head of Sweden’s IF Metal union for moving in "two directions at once".

A delegation including government officials is also travelling from Sweden to Detroit today in order to hold talks with GM bosses.

There’s no indication as to what the Buick China factory will do with the 9-5 tooling, but it could mean that the new Buick LaCrosse - which shares the same long-wheel base Epsilon 2 platform as the 9-5 - will be built by Buick China. Buick is a huge success in China for GM, selling 447,000 units in China during 2009.

Before the global credit crunch and GM bankruptcy, the company had planned to build the new Saab 9-5 in Russelsheim, alongside the new Insignia models. The addition of extra production volume generated by the 9-5 saloon and estate would have made the Russelsheim plant more profitable.

There was also an outside chance that GM could have sold the Saab brand and supplied the new owner with German-built 9-5 models on an ex-factory basis.

Yesterday, however, GM Europe boss Nick Reilly made clear that Opel/Vauxhall factories including Russelsheim will see more cuts to capacity.

"We must work fast to reduce our capacity, while maintaining productivity and quality," Reilly said to employees in a company blog.

This message would seem to confirm the story of the 9-5 tooling being shipped, as GM prepares to strip-out unwanted production equipment and re-size its Russelsheim plant.

Hilton Holloway

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Comments
38

9 January 2010

In a recent radio interview, the owner of spyker said that he believes that the spyker offer to buy saab is the best. He also said that the news of GM closing saab is just an example of GM being arrogant. Also he commented on recent news about spyker's business plan, he does want to intoduce a 9-1.

9 January 2010

I think this along with the farce that was the "sale" of Opel/Vauxhall, shows just how arrogant GM are. Messing around major companies like this is really not a good idea, I mean just to put forward a bid will have cost all the companies involved a considerable sum, in putting their proposals & bids together, flying all over the world for meetings, etc. If I was Spyker, & all the other companies GM has deliberately messed around, I would be mightily "ticked off", to put it lightly.

9 January 2010

All we can do is hope now. It would be plain arrogant of GM to just call it a day here. At least tell us a bit about the bidders, if they were unsuccessful! Otherwise everyone will be pretty suspicious. Hope we get some better news on this soon.

"The creative adult is the child who survived."

9 January 2010

Utterly disgraceful - Appalling behaviour by GM. They have systematically raped the Saab brand and all the individuality and engineering excellence it stood for...

9 January 2010

All GM used Saab for was their clever innovations and ideas so they could use them on other cars because they themselves are only capble of making rubbish left to their own elements

9 January 2010

Might I suggest you dont listen to rumours that are perpetuated by GM Europe as they are the enemy of SAAB. GM has said that they might send the 9-5 line to China if - AND I MEAN IF - SAAB is closed. Yor source has made you look foolish.

Suggest you read http://www.saabsunited.com for real news not that made up stuff.

9 January 2010

Believe me Zippy, this was a very good source and they said the trucks had been booked for next Friday....

9 January 2010

I have the utmost respect for you, I have been reading your stuff for years but you forgot to mention the IF part of the whole deal.

9 January 2010

[quote Autocar]Insiders have told Autocar that GM has secretly booked transportation to shift the remaining 9-5 production equipment and tooling from Opel’s Russelsheim factory to GM’s Buick factory in China.[/quote] Bookings can be cancelled.

9 January 2010

I think that's the fear at Trollhatten today. GM is pretending to be interested in a deal and, meanwhile, is preparing to ship the equipment. I hear the new bid by Muller addresses all the problems raised by GM previously. Let's hope the source in Germany was wrong.

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