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SAAB News: Could BMW be Bidding for Saab?


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#1

black-knight

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Posted 21 February 2012 - 04:26 PM

G. Noble
Editor/Reporter
CheersandGears.com
Tuesday, 21st February, 2011


No doubt about it, the drama surrounding the bankruptcy of Saab almost seems scripted enough to be fit for daytime television at times. The latest news to come out of Trollhättan is no exception, now that the Swedish automaker is looking for a new suitor.

According to a recent post on Saabs United, Saab's bankruptcy administrators have 6 to 7 bidders interested in purchasing the company and that each bidder is serious about building new Saabs. Among Saab's new suitors in particular is a European automaker which, according to Saabs United's rather patulous sources, "is German and located in Munich." There is also information that indicates that this particular company has the desire to build Saabs and their own vehicles on shared platforms.

Interestingly, Saabs United also notes that the company that wins the Saab deal won't be the highest bidder, but the company that has the best plan for getting Saab back in business.

Click here to view the article
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#2

ocnblu

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Posted 21 February 2012 - 05:30 PM

I believe it would be a dream scenario for SAAB if BMW bought them. SAAB could remain FWD and BMW could remain RWD... no exact market overlap.
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#3

black-knight

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Posted 21 February 2012 - 06:19 PM

I believe it would be a dream scenario for SAAB if BMW bought them. SAAB could remain FWD and BMW could remain RWD... no exact market overlap.


That's probably the thinking.

I wonder how much Jack Link's I'd have to set out to get Herr Sasquatch to drop his two cents into the cup on this one.
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#4

Cubical-aka-Moltar

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Posted 21 February 2012 - 07:51 PM

Hmmmm.....a Mini/SAAB/BMW/Roller range actually sort of make sense...
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#5

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Posted 22 February 2012 - 10:02 AM

I personally see what people are thinking of in tying up wih BMW, but in reality, This is a company that should die and just let the assets go to a company that is already successful and can grow more.

I really do not see any reason for trying to keep this brand alive. The wasted millions it would take to rebuild their image and build out a new dealership, etc. Rather see BMW put it into their own successful Family of products.
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#6

black-knight

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Posted 22 February 2012 - 03:33 PM

I personally see what people are thinking of in tying up wih BMW, but in reality, This is a company that should die and just let the assets go to a company that is already successful and can grow more.

I really do not see any reason for trying to keep this brand alive. The wasted millions it would take to rebuild their image and build out a new dealership, etc. Rather see BMW put it into their own successful Family of products.


BMW has plenty of spare cash and really needs a brand that would allow it to sell more small to medium-sized front-wheel drive cars without diluting the brand image of Mini or BMW and without over-crowding the BMW portfolio. Saab could be that brand at a fire sale price, provided BMW presents a solid buisness plan.

Medium-sized cars aren't a good fit for Mini and small front-drive cars are a bad fit for BMW. In fact, I don't think BMW is exactly happy about their decision to make the next 1er a front-wheel drive model, only making the choice light of new fuel economy regs.

Edited by black-knight, 22 February 2012 - 03:37 PM.

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#7

dfelt

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Posted 22 February 2012 - 04:34 PM


I personally see what people are thinking of in tying up wih BMW, but in reality, This is a company that should die and just let the assets go to a company that is already successful and can grow more.

I really do not see any reason for trying to keep this brand alive. The wasted millions it would take to rebuild their image and build out a new dealership, etc. Rather see BMW put it into their own successful Family of products.


BMW has plenty of spare cash and really needs a brand that would allow it to sell more small to medium-sized front-wheel drive cars without diluting the brand image of Mini or BMW and without over-crowding the BMW portfolio. Saab could be that brand at a fire sale price, provided BMW presents a solid buisness plan.

Medium-sized cars aren't a good fit for Mini and small front-drive cars are a bad fit for BMW. In fact, I don't think BMW is exactly happy about their decision to make the next 1er a front-wheel drive model, only making the choice light of new fuel economy regs.


I see your point yet, why not pull a Scion then and have BMW badge their FWD auto's on a new name and sell it through the BMW or mini dealership. They could easily have built a show floor within a showfloor for this market. No differance than a GMC/Buick Dealership or Toyota/Scion dealership.

I do not see enough good karma in SAAB to buy it up even at fire sale prices and try to bring it back. I see it as a black hole, but then I coud be wrong. Would not be the first time.
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#8

Cubical-aka-Moltar

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Posted 22 February 2012 - 04:50 PM



I personally see what people are thinking of in tying up wih BMW, but in reality, This is a company that should die and just let the assets go to a company that is already successful and can grow more.

I really do not see any reason for trying to keep this brand alive. The wasted millions it would take to rebuild their image and build out a new dealership, etc. Rather see BMW put it into their own successful Family of products.


BMW has plenty of spare cash and really needs a brand that would allow it to sell more small to medium-sized front-wheel drive cars without diluting the brand image of Mini or BMW and without over-crowding the BMW portfolio. Saab could be that brand at a fire sale price, provided BMW presents a solid buisness plan.

Medium-sized cars aren't a good fit for Mini and small front-drive cars are a bad fit for BMW. In fact, I don't think BMW is exactly happy about their decision to make the next 1er a front-wheel drive model, only making the choice light of new fuel economy regs.


I see your point yet, why not pull a Scion then and have BMW badge their FWD auto's on a new name and sell it through the BMW or mini dealership. They could easily have built a show floor within a showfloor for this market. No differance than a GMC/Buick Dealership or Toyota/Scion dealership.

I do not see enough good karma in SAAB to buy it up even at fire sale prices and try to bring it back. I see it as a black hole, but then I coud be wrong. Would not be the first time.


SAAB is an existing brand with existing dealers and existing customer base...probably much cheaper to pick up an existing brand than try and create one from scratch...and SAAB has manufacturing facilities and people w/ experience in midsize FWD models.

Edited by Cubical-aka-Moltar, 22 February 2012 - 04:51 PM.

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#9

dfelt

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Posted 22 February 2012 - 06:35 PM

Cubical, I see the point in regards to the customer base, manufacturing facilities and peopl with experiance building midsize to small size FWD auto's.

Yet, will the Unions be willing to give up pay/benefits and scale back the number of employees to make it profitable? Big if here I think.

Dealers as far as I see on the west coast are all closed and gone. The two that I would drive by in Washington are boarded up, no product to sell, no customers. History, so I do not see any value in the dealer base. I am sure some dealers are still open more as a used car lot, but I again wonder if there is any real value there for BMW to get.

Like I said I could be wrong here, but I get this gut feeling that this is not a road to success for them.

Edited by dfelt, 22 February 2012 - 06:36 PM.

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#10

Drew Dowdell

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Posted 22 February 2012 - 06:55 PM

There would be no union....or at least no contract. The buyer would be purchasing SAAB's assets, not the paper company.

BMW could buy SaaB with the change in their seat cushions.

Why should they? How does BMW get to do mass market volumes for something like an Accord/Sonata fighter without damaging the main brand?

Saab can be used to build a credible FWD sedan in both small and medium sizes. Throw in a small and midsize crossover and you have the makings of an actual full line manufacturer.

Saab wouldn't and couldn't be a luxury brand anymore, however, they could be "premium" along the lines of how VW is generally perceived.

BMW buying SAAB for that sort of redevelopment is a clear shot across VW AG's rather large bow.
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#11

Cubical-aka-Moltar

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Posted 22 February 2012 - 07:21 PM

I could see SAAB as an entry-lux FWD brand for BMW, functioning like Acura, Buick, and Lincoln do today for their owners....
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#12

frogger

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Posted 22 February 2012 - 07:49 PM

SAAB is an existing brand with existing dealers and existing customer base...probably much cheaper to pick up an existing brand than try and create one from scratch...and SAAB has manufacturing facilities and people w/ experience in midsize FWD models.


Are there really many dealers left? I don't see any positive value in the brand name.

Edited by frogger, 22 February 2012 - 07:51 PM.

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#13

67impss

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Posted 22 February 2012 - 07:54 PM

Dealers IDK, but name value :yes:
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#14

Cubical-aka-Moltar

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Posted 22 February 2012 - 07:58 PM


SAAB is an existing brand with existing dealers and existing customer base...probably much cheaper to pick up an existing brand than try and create one from scratch...and SAAB has manufacturing facilities and people w/ experience in midsize FWD models.


Are there really many dealers left? I don't see any positive value in the brand name.

Probably most of the dealers closed by now, but they could be reopened. The brand had it's fans....better than creating a new brand from scratch...
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#15

dfelt

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Posted 23 February 2012 - 12:06 AM


SAAB is an existing brand with existing dealers and existing customer base...probably much cheaper to pick up an existing brand than try and create one from scratch...and SAAB has manufacturing facilities and people w/ experience in midsize FWD models.


Are there really many dealers left? I don't see any positive value in the brand name.


So I called today the only 3 dealers in washington state that still are listed with the SAAB name and they are all dealerships that have Cadillac's and they say they will service SAABs as any place would but the SAAB dealership is dead. So I would have to think that the dealerships across NA is mostly dead at this point.

In regards to VW being preceived as a Premium car line, I have to disagree. VW is considered a competitor to Chevy. An entery level car line with some Buick Level auto's. I have yet to run into anyone that considers them premium here on the west coast. If they were there would be more dealers than just the couple that are around.

I see the point being made for a mid level small to Medium FWD auto division with a couple of CUV's so that BMW does not dilute their brand. Assets being what they are, there might be value to be had, but I think it would truly have to be for pennies on the dollar to pick up all the assets and make a go of it.
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#16

regfootball

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Posted 23 February 2012 - 02:26 AM

i've felt for a very long time, like since the 9-3 came out in 04 that Saab should have been positioned up against VW...more acurately between say VW and Acura at the time so that the 9-3 was a Passat competitor. or at least something that a VW shopper could move up to without much more dough.

For Saab to maybe come back the same way.......

Saab had so much potential......
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#17

Drew Dowdell

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Posted 23 February 2012 - 09:47 AM

I can't think BMW would be interested in any more than a quarter of the former SAAB dealers. Most of them are sitting in GM Mega Complexes. If the whole idea is to end up building a BMW-SAAB-Mini-Cooper dealer network, BMW isn't going to want to be selling Saabs next to Cadillacs in an old Hummer building.
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#18

dfelt

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Posted 23 February 2012 - 09:57 AM

Saw on the News today that the SAAB dealerships here in washington have officially removed all logo's and in the case of the dealer down in Tacoma, they remodeled it into a new Audi Dealership which now sits between a Cadillac dealership and a Mercedes dealership.
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#19

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Posted 23 February 2012 - 11:07 AM

I think BMW has enlarged the mini line as far as it can go and still be recognizable as a mini. I have to wonder if sales for the countryman and clubman are less than expected.

Is Saab a good fit for BMW remains to be seen. But let's look at it from the other side. As one person said already this is the best possible scenario for Saab.

The other bidders consist of companies in newly developed nations China/India/Turkey that want a way into western markets. Building a brand takes a long time and Saab although slightly tarnished still has good brand recognition. There is some precedent that this combination can work, geely/volvo, proton/lotus, tata/jag/land rover etc..

Still I believe BMW has the best chance to get Saab up and running in the shortest amount of time. BMW has experience reviving a dead brand like mini. I also agree that they hope to compete with VW in the mid-range mainstream market.
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#20

Drew Dowdell

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Posted 23 February 2012 - 12:08 PM

Crash900s, thank's for joining C&G and welcome.

I think the one thing you didn't mention, but maybe touched on slightly, is that of all the bidders for Saab that are possible, it is unlikely that any of them have the cash that BMW has to complete the transaction and do the job right.
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