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by Tim Beissmann

Saab’s entire board, including its managing director, Jan Ake Jonsson, is set to be overhauled as General Motors progresses in its wind-down of the struggling Swedish manufacturer.

Jonsson – who has been a Saab employee for 37 years – was elevated to the top job in March 2005.

He and the board will remain at Saab, most likely to assist restructurers, AlixPartners, in closing the brand, a process that will drag out for months if GM does not name a suitor in the near future.

The official line from GM is it is still determined to sell Saab if the right offer comes along. But the men at the top seem to be singing a different tune.

Vice Chairman, Bob Lutz, is taking a glass-half-empty approach.

“The offers we’ve received so far in terms of risk and financing up-front have been just as good as winding it down.

“For years GM has been procrastinating when it comes to Saab. I’m glad to see that for once GM is sticking with a decision to wind something down,” he said.

Lutz’s comments follow the even more emphatic announcement from Chairman and CEO, Ed Whitacre, in Detroit on Monday when he simply said: “We’re closing down Saab”.

GM’s continued efforts to wind down Saab spurred most of the manufacturer’s 3000+ Swedish employees to strike for a half an hour yesterday outside the Trollhattan plant.

GM last week said it will ensure that “employees, dealers and suppliers are adequately protected” if no sale is made.

The Genii-Ecclestone bid, led by Swedish investor Lars Carlstrom, is this week expected to strengthen its offer, following a similar move by fellow bidder Spyker a few days ago.

“Genii hopes to improve its bid so that it becomes more attractive for GM.

“One has to sweeten it to be a part of the bidding, that’s the message we’ve received (from GM),” Mr Carlstrom told Reuters.

 

(with Automotive News)




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