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By Drew Johnson

Saab has announced a new joint venture with the Swedish government to develop transmissions for the auto industry. The new joint venture is officially between Saab and Fouriertransform AB, the Swedish government’s venture-capital firm.

Set to operate under the name VICURA, the joint venture will develop future vehicle gearboxes for Saab and other car makers. Saab currently sources its manual gearboxes from former owner General Motors and its automatic units from Aisin.

“This step, together with other initiatives, will drive down our break-even point and improve operational efficiency as we work towards becoming a profitable, independent company,” Saab CEO Jan-Aake Jonsson said in a statement.

Now under the ownership of supercar maker Spyker, Saab says it needs to sell just 85,000 vehicles to break even – far lower than the 130,000 units needed while under GM. However, Saab expects to sell about 35,000 cars this year, leaving plenty of work left to reach profitability.

VICURA will be headquartered in Saab’s home town of Trollhaettan. The firm will be staffed with about 50 engineers from Saab’s powertrain division. No monetary figures were given.



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Report: Saab and Sweden team up for transmission joint-venture

by Zach Bowman (RSS feed) on Dec 27th 2010 at 8:01AM

Bloomberg reports that Saab has joined up with the Swedish government to create a new company to produce automatic transmissions. The task is being funded by Fouriertransform AB, the Swedish government's venture-capital arm, and Saab will provide around 50 powertrain engineers to tackle the nitty-gritty. Called VICURA, the company will build gearboxes for Saab and any other automaker that wants to farm out powertrain work, while helping Saab generate cash outside of its car sales. According to Jan-Ake Jonsson, Saab chief executive officer, the move is essential for getting the ailing automaker back on firm financial footing.

The partnership is just the latest in a number of similar ventures undertaken by the Swedish automaker. Saab hitched up with American Axle in September to build electric all-wheel drive systems and other hybrid components. Similarly, BMW inked a deal with the company to supply engines for its future products in the same month.



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