Bloomberg read it in Sweden’s Dagens Industri that General Motors will send the tools for Saab’s new 9-5 model to China. Mind you, these are not the old 9-5 tools sold to BAIC. These are the tools for the new Epsilon 2 based 9-5, or what Dagens Industri calls “the crown jewels of Saab.”
Stating the obvious, Dagens Industri states: “Without the 9-5, Saab’s attractiveness for new bidders fades quickly.”
According to Dagens Industri, some of the tools for the new 9-5 are in Opel’s plant in Rüsselsheim, Germany. From here, they will be shipped to the GM/SAIC joint venture in Shanghai, where they could be used to make the Buick La-Crosse, which has the same long-wheel based Epsilon 2 platform as the Saab 9-5. “First delivery from Rüsselheim will leave on Friday, January 15,” says a source for Dagens Industri.
More 9-5 tools have already been moved from Rüsselsheim to Trollhättan, in preparation for the spring series production of the 9-5. A Dagens Industri source said. “The next likely step is to dismantle the tools in Trollhättan and also move them to China.”
There is a similar story in Autocar that says that “GM has secretly booked transportation to shift the remaining 9-5 production equipment and tooling from Opel’s Russelsheim factory to GM’s Buick factory in China.” Autocar’s sources supposedly are “at GM Europe in Germany.” But it sounds as if they are at Dagens Industri. Even the ship date is the same: “The shipping will begin next Friday, 15 January, according to Autocar’s sources.”
Of course, the trucking-off of the Swedish crown jewels to China came as a big shock to the guys over at Saabsunited. They are still busy organizing Saab support convoys for January 17th. If the story above is true, the convoys will support a stripped shop. Saabsunited intimates that the story has been leaked by GM operatives, in order to hasten the final expiration of Saab. Saabsunited’s sources in Rüsselsheim say that “if GM decides to close Saab rather than sell it, then that tooling will be shipped immediately to China.”
All hopes of the Saab Defense League now cling to that little “if” and that “bookings can be canceled.” Folks, the teardown of a production line, even if it’s just for a “Null-Serie” (or preproduction series) takes a while and wants to be well planned. If the containers will leave in 5 days, then they are already packed by now, and tickets for the reassembly crew have been booked also. If the tools are crated up for overseas shipping, then someone has decided quite some while ago: “God natt, Saab!”
And what would Saab be worth without the new 9-5?
Stryker’s CEO Victor Muller wrote in an email to Saabsunited. “The NG 9-5 is of course in the business plan, and without it, the plan would not work.”