Holden will not follow GM Saab-warranty gesture

Holden will not follow parent company General Motors' gesture to cover warranties for Saab models purchased before the Swedish brand was sold in February 2010.
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Earlier this week CarAdvice revealed Saab Cars Australia would not honour the new-car warranties of Saab vehicles purchased by local customers following the bankruptcy of its parent company, Saab Automobile AB. Saab Cars Australia managing director Stephen Nicholls told CarAdvice on Tuesday the warranties were provided by the manufacturer, Saab Automobile AB, not the local distributor.

With owners faced by a similar situation in the US, GM has agreed to claim responsibility for the warranties of Saab vehicles sold there before February 2010, when the Detroit-based manufacturer sold Saab to Dutch company Spyker Cars.

But Holden says the company has no responsibility for the vehicles, insisting that obligation now rests squarely with the local subsidiary of Saab, Saab Cars Australia.

“All Saab dealerships currently operating in Australia have been operating under franchise from Saab Automobile AB since 1 January 2011, and GM Holden Ltd has no involvement or responsibility for dealerships or Saab new vehicles sold since that date,” Holden said.

Holden says Saab took responsibility for all Saab vehicles on the road when the Australian distribution transitioned to Saab Automobile AB in January and, as a result, all existing warranty obligations are the sole responsibility of Saab. “Saab Automobile AB took on the business and also took on the liability.”

The question of liability is especially contentious in Australia, as the handbooks of a number of Saab vehicles sold as recently as last month contain old information that states: “This warranty is given by GM Holden Ltd … trading as Saab Australia”. The incorrect handbooks are understood to be an oversight stemming from the distribution changeover.

All Saab vehicles sold in Australia over the period in question came standard with a three-year/100,000km manufacturer’s warranty. So far this year, 139 Saabs have been registered locally, on top of 14 in 2010 and 663 in 2009. None of these vehicles, nor the 50-odd brand-new cars sitting in local showrooms that Saab Cars Australia still hopes to sell, are currently protected by a warranty.

Nicholls told CarAdvice his company plans to continue supporting owners by supplying parts for their vehicles.