Bob Lutz confirms that Swedish brand is under threat
12 January 2009

General Motors product boss Bob Lutz has signalled that Saab's future is under threat, despite a fondness for the brand among the top brass.

"Saab is a luxury that we can no longer afford," said Lutz.

Speaking to Autocar, Lutz also confirmed that GM's Swedish subsidiary had never made a profit, but had cost its parent company up to 800 million dollars a year since it was acquired.

Lutz wouldn't comment on whether the next Saab 9-5 would ever see production. He did admit however that senior GM executives had an emotional attachment to the brand that couldn't survive the current economic climate.

"The fact that we all liked Saabs has meant that we have indulged it," said Lutz.

The future for Saab therefore looks uncertain and Lutz conceded that other loss-making GM brands were under threat. Also facing sell-off or closure are Hummer and Saturn, whilst Pontiac is likely to be scaled down.

Vauxhall's future is secure, however. "There's no reason to move Vauxhall to Opel," said Lutz. "Why go through the pain and expense of changing?"

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Chas Hallett

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