By the time you read this blog, the ink should be drying on the contract for a new HQ for Saab GB in Milton Keynes.
This move to the spiritual home of the UK’s car distribution industry is a significant one for Saab, since it marks the physical as well as spiritual separation from GM.
With a planned compliment of 300 staff, the new head office should be fully operational by the end of the year, the time lag accounted for by the not inconsiderable task of unravelling Saab’s operations from those of Vauxhall and Chevrolet.
In a GM-inspired drive to boost productivity, workers in back room functions had become multi-taskers, constantly juggling projects for the three brands. Now many of those people are pondering their futures – stay with GM or move to Saab?
The new Saab GB will be a more conservative company when it comes to sales. Its medium-term goal is to reach a modest 20,000 UK registrations around 2014/15 – about one per cent of the market to put it on a par with Jaguar rather than Audi/BMW with nearly six per cent.
Saab’s peak years were relatively recent, in 2005 and 2006 when it registered 27,500 and 27,000 units respectively, helped by fleet sales pumped through Vauxhall’s well-connected corporate sales office.