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GM ties with Saab will remain in future models

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[source: Motor Authority]

GM ties with Saab will remain in future models


The future of Saab is starting to look much brighter, thanks in part to important concessions from General Motors to help it build and design its own range of cars in the future, as well as a likely extension from Swedish courts for its restructuring deadline. For a while it looked as though Saab may go the same way as Pontiac, but its chief engineer is confident the brand will be able to survive without GM.

The GM concession being referred to is the investment in the Saab brand over the past few years, which has led to the company today having the best equipment, tools and engineers that it has ever had. Speaking with Automotive News, Saab's Mats Fagerhag explained that GM has given the company "new architectures and lifetime licenses to use them". Fagerhag went on to reveal that Saab also has the facilities to design and build its next generation of cars.

The specific platforms Fagerhag is referring to include GM's global Epsilon II midsize architecture, the same architecture that the Opel Insignia sits on and soon the 2010 Saab 9-5, as well as the Delta FWD platform, which underpins the 2010 Opel Astra and Chevrolet Cruze.

On top of already having vehicle architectures in place, Saab also has some specific engineering skills that it can use to develop its own identity as a brand. Its experience with all-wheel-drive gives it the opportunity to become the Subaru of Europe, and aligning itself with brand values such as safety and offroad performance will only help develop a unique brand identity.

However, not everything will be a smooth transition for the Swedish company. Saab will face trouble due to the smaller volumes it will be working with in the future, including higher prices for materials and parts. Additionally, Saab will have to source its engines from other companies in the future. Despite these disadvantages, separating from GM will allow Saab to make quick product decisions and to work in its own best interests, rather than the entire group's interest.

Despite some hurdles Saab is expecting to come out of the crisis with a new, unique approach and a move away from its past with GM - only time will tell whether or not it will be a winning strategy.

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I'm crossing fingers and toes for SAAB! Right now creditors have to OK the restructuring plan: they have the option to go with the restructuring (receiving some 25 cents on the dollar) or to put SAAB into liquidation right now (some 15 cents on the dollar). If they support the restructuring, SAAB will get the 3 month extension it needs, hopefully announcing a new owner within that period.

Edited by ZL-1
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Interesting, sadly I cannot see this company surviving long term. The global market will not support it in that manner, as a nich player in select markets it could survive longer, but not really sure it has the resources to do that as cost will go up and I do not see them having the ability to turn into a nich high end luxury player.

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I still think GM should retain Saab...

It's the same story as Ford with LR and Jag.

GM had spent A LOT of effort to right Saab (we'll see that if the new vehicles make it to market) and has now squandered a brand with huge potential, especially on a global scale (More than Cadillac IMO) and waisted a buttload of resources. The media loves LR and Jag now that they aren't "mercan" anymore.

Maybe this will leave the door open for GM to re-acquire the division down the road.

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GM had spent A LOT of effort to right Saab (we'll see that if the new vehicles make it to market) and has now squandered a brand with huge potential, especially on a global scale (More than Cadillac IMO) and waisted a buttload of resources.

Sadly, GM spent alot of money buying SAAB and apparently in thiking of ways to charge corporate overheads so money would be moved to NA (apparently they've done the same to Opel), but GM never really invested in what SAAB needed: proper product and freedom from the sedan/wagon model. Story goes SAAB had the 9-3X ready for introduction when the 9-3 was first introduced (actually a full range of 9-3s), but GM killed the idea. And guess what? Audi did the A6 allroad! Audi did the A3! And GM did what? Basically destroy SAAB, fail at introducing Cadillac in Europe, and essentially abandoning any idea of having a global premium/luxury brand.

I think that SAAB might have a chance to survive as a niche player, if indeed they were profitable at 130K/year (ex-GM corporate overheads)...

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I'm excited to see Saab get a chance to show its full potential in its new models. If the new 9-5 and 9-4X turn out to be duds, then I would have no qualms with killing them. But somehow I think they'll blow people away.

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