GM to keep all brands apart from Hummer

General Motors does not intend to sell any of its brands except Hummer, company CEO Rick Wagoner has confirmed.

Asked whether the company was going to disperse its brands, Wagoner told Automotive News: “Our focus right now in this regard is exclusively on Hummer. We want to see how that plays out. We are getting some interest in it.”

Wagoner said that the company has not had any offers for Opel-Vauxhall or GM of China.

“We’ve got some other assets that we’re looking at selling,” he said, “but not brands.”

That means Saab, whose future within GM has at times looked distinctly uncertain – and which has had the launch of its critical new 9-5 model pushed back until 2010 - will stay as part of the car maker’s portfolio.

The Detroit car makers are lobbying for financial assistance this year, authorised by the current ‘lame duck’ Congress, before Barack Obama becomes president on 20 Jan 2009.

Wagoner made clear that GM is willing to sign up to the same business restrictions that the banks have accepted.

>> Read more on the GM crisis: buy, hold and sell

“We’ve studied the taxpayer protections that have been employed with the financial sector support payments,” he said, “and those seem to be reasonable expectations, whether that’s warrants or restrictions on executive compensation.”

The incoming Democrat administration is working behind the scenes to secure financing for the auto industry beyond the $25bn in soft loans set aside for investment in new, environmentally friendly technologies.

The efforts to secure emergency loans have stalled at the desk of treasury secretary Hank Paulson, who is adamant that any aid given to car makers must ensure their viability. He believes that the $700bn rescue package authorised in October should be limited to financial institutions.

Despite GM’s vast involvement in the US economy, any taxpayer-led rescue package would garner considerable opposition across the US.

Many of the car maker’s current running costs are linked to healthcare provision for GM’s current and past employees, leading many to complain that a bail-out would leave them subsidising other people’s healthcare bills in a country without a national health system.

Ed Keohane

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Comments
5

ZM

13 November 2008

FFS GM, How difficult can it bloody be to sort Saab out!!!!!

Right then, here are the products that you need:

1) Premium Hatch ala Audi A3 / 1 Series. This was required way back in 1997/98 (when the A3 was introduced) when it could even have been based on the Mk4 Astra platform. With the right styling, trim and engines, this could have been a credible rival to the A3. My mother, who had owned Saabs since 1970 to 1997 (typical loyal Saab customer in other words) was looking to downsize to a smaller car from a GM Saab 900. Saab had nothing to offer her, so what did she buy? Surprise Surprise; an A3. Right now, the second generation 'Saab A3' should be halfway through it's production life. I am utterly staggered that after nearly 13 years of the concept you have not even got started!!!

2) A sporty coupe and convertible similar to the Audi TT, now too in it's second generation; perhaps you have not noticed that whilst sitting in your Detroit ivory tower? Quite easy to put in production I would have thought, perhaps using the 9-3 platform. The 'Sonnet' name could even be revived from Saab's past maybe?

3) A small premium SUV like the X3/A5

4) Keep developing the 9-3 concept as it does seem to work (slightly), ditto the 9-5.

5) Perhaps a small hatch as well (Corsa platform perhaps?), perhaps with some overtones of the classic 96 models?

All the above must adopt a new original styling direction, which I accept is probably the hardest part.

So those are the basic products that are required then. Right the next step would be building brand awareness, and what better way than a return to The World Rally Championship; look what this did for Subaru?

Ford have managed to turn Volvo around in 15 years, surely GM could have done the same with Saab, which afterall has great brand strengths to build on.

Surely the above points are woefully bloody obvious, so why GM, have you failed???

13 November 2008

Couldnt agree more. Its almost as if GM actually wants SAAB to fail. They have spent so much time and money bringing Cadillac over here, rather than updating the current tired SAAB range.

Apart from a horrid SUV clone (only available in the states) the entire SAAB range consists of virtually two - very dated - cars. Apparently new models are coming, but if the delayed 9-5 is anything to go by these are still not a dead cert. Sadly for SAAB, it may be too little, too late.

The cynic in me might say that GM are not updating the SAAB range as when, sorry if, they sell the company they dont want the new owner to have access to their new global platform/engine technology from the Insignia and next Astra...

No doubt the reason that VW wont sell its lame duck: SEAT.

13 November 2008

Isn't it actually "Saab not in any condition to be sold"?

Where has all Japanese design went to?

14 November 2008

It's all very sad and extremely disappointing. GM should be ashamed of themselves- SAAB was easily capable of becoming the jewel in the General's crown and now look at it. Ineptitude of the grandest scale.

Sods.

15 November 2008

GM, Wagoner and clan have long been argued across many different industries, banking included.... Leaving the ethical/social issue of joblessness, poverty inducing, people etc... GM deserves to die an unhappy death..... It should have gone bankrupt many moons ago, but it is and has been to big to fail without social and political costs...

Fundamentally, any company should produce a good and desirable product and GM has failed for many many years to do so (or turn around any hapless marques they happened to swallow like Saab), instead operating like a 2nd tier financial company having had a humongous (C rated) loan portfolio, bigger than many banks.

I will really be sorry for folks in factories and regular workers like our Luton folk and various supporting industries everywhere ( I too have family in that extended business), but it will be a happy day when that sh*t of a company and their cr@p product finally dissapears (according to colleagues in the banking industry it is an unavoidable event - in your evening news quite shortly)...

Good riddance. Good staff will always find employment.... eventually

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