General Motors gears up for Saab sale

Struggling US auto giant General Motors is to seek a buyer for Swedish subsidiary Saab, according to trade media reports in Detroit.

General Motors gears up for Saab sale

GM said on Tuesday it will “review” the future of its Saab and Saturn brands, as it struggles to survive and restructures its business to focus on core brands.

The automaker said it will focus its product development and marketing efforts in the United States on four core brands –Chevrolet, Cadillac, Buick and GMC.

GM said it will “immediately undertake a global strategic review of the Saab brand,” in a statement outlining a restructuring plan it presented to Congress in hopes of securing some 18 billion dollars in government-backed loans.

“As part of the plan, the company also will accelerate discussions with the Saturn retailers, consistent with their unique relationship, to explore alternatives for the Saturn brand,” GM said.

Pontiac will become a “specialty brand with reduced product offerings,” GM said, adding it has already begun exploring the sale of its hulking Hummer brand.

GM said it will cut the number of vehicle types it offers in the United States to 40 in 2012 from 51 in 2000.

It will also slash its dealer network to 4,700 in 2012 from 8,138 in 2000.

GM currently sells 48 different vehicles at 6,450 dealers in the United States.


Former Swedish Saab bosses appear in court

Swedish car maker Saab's former CEO Jan Åke Jonsson and the firm's former head lawyer Kristina Geers have appeared in court in Vänersborg in west Sweden, accused of falsifying financial documents shortly before the company went bankrupt in 2011.

Former Swedish Saab bosses appear in court
Saab's former CEO Jan Åke Jonsson. Photo: Karin Olander/TT
The pair are accused of falsifying the paperwork at the height of the Swedish company's financial difficulties at the start of the decade.
A third person – who has not been named in the Swedish media – is accused of assisting them by issuing false invoices adding up to a total of 30 million kronor ($3.55m).
According to court documents, the charges relate to the firm's business in Ukraine and the paperwork in question was signed just before former CEO Jan Åke Jonsson resigned.
Both Jonsson and Saab's former head lawyer Kristina Geers have admitted signing the papers but denied knowledge of the Ukranian firm implicated in the case.
All three suspects deny all the charges against them.

Saab's former head lawyer Kristina Geers. Photo:  Björn Larsson Rosvall/TT
Saab filed for bankruptcy at the end of 2011, after teetering on the edge of collapse for nearly two years.
Chief prosecutor Olof Sahlgren told the court in Vänersborg on Wednesday that the alleged crimes took place in March 2011, when Saab was briefly owned by the Dutch company Spyker Cars.
It was eventually bought by National Electric Vehicle Sweden (Nevs), a Chinese-owned company after hundreds of staff lost their jobs.
The car maker, which is based in west Sweden, has struggled to resolve serious financial difficulties by attracting new investors since the takeover.
In October 2014 it announced it had axed 155 workers, close to a third of its workforce.
Since 2000, Saab automobile has had no connection with the defence and aeronautics firm with the same name. It only produces one model today, the electric 9-3 Aero Sedan, mainly targeting the Chinese market.