GM Lost $5k On Every Saab Sold In The Last 8 Years

Thor Johnsen
by Thor Johnsen
Swedish business site has done some numbercrunching, and figured out that GM has lost SEK 35,000,- (eq aprox $ 5,100, at the current exchange rate) on each Saab sold the last 8 years. As many of TTAC’s readers have pointed out in various comments, GM never made money on Saab. Truth is; they lost a total of SEK 39 billion (3.9 billion Euros) during their ownership, according to’s analysis . The last 8 years has been heavy; a loss of SEK 32,2 billion, or 35.000,- kronor on each Saab sold. That’s $ 5.100,- on each car. This year alone GM has had to take an SEK 6.2 billion cost on the ailing carmaker, SEK 5.2 of those are amortization of debts. This is why it’s crucial for Koenigsegg Group that the EU commission rules that Swedish government’s guarantees on Koenigsegg’s loan from the EIB are not subsidies. But since Saab has been on life support for so long, it would be almost impossible to defend Saab as a healthy company, and without the Swedish government’s guarantee, the financial plan from Koenigsegg Group will fail. Maybe they can argue that when it comes to Saab, there are no subsidies, just business as usual.
Thor Johnsen
Thor Johnsen

More by Thor Johnsen

Join the conversation
7 of 27 comments
  • Christy Garwood Christy Garwood on Nov 17, 2009

    I quote TJ "...figured out that GM has lost SEK 35,000,- (eq aprox $ 5,100, at the current exchange rate) on each Saab sold the last 8 years. " Why would the current exchange rate be used to determine a loss for what was sold over the past eight years? Wouldn't the real financial impact be calculated using appropriate exchange rates as they varied over time? If anyone is interested in what Saab owners think of their vehicles, check it out on Kelley's Blue Book some time. Anecdotally, I can say that whenever anyone gets in and drives a 9-3 or 9-5 with a four cylinder turbo, they are always pleasantly surprised at how fun those cars are to drive. Acceleration off the line is great, cornering is awesome, highway driving is like floating on air - and for some reason those engines just find their own groove around 80-85 mph. And yet FE is a good 30 MPG highway. Full disclosure - I am a GM employee whose hubby has bought 3 9-5 Sedans over the past nine years (he likes to drive new cars) and I bought the 2008 9-3 Convertible. But my anecdotes above are from men who live/ drive in Manhattan, Long Island, New Jersey, SE Michigan. Just like most GM vehicles, went a person gets in and drives a Saab, they like it.

    • See 2 previous
    • Majorfrn Majorfrn on Nov 20, 2009

      Bill H you cracked me up: "ChristyGarwood–knowing of what you speak, I can only say that when it comes to car “discussions”, one never lets the actual driving of a car get in the way of one’s prejudices about a marque." Exactly. There are good reasons (besides random mental issues) why people drive Saabs. I can afford a BMW, etc. no problem. I just like Saabs. My 9-5: Totally hits its stride at 80-90. 65 is just loping along. Rock solid freeway ride and handling. Excellent braking. Built like a tank. Great city car. Excellent mileage for its class. Vast trunk. Interior finish durability second to none. Great ergonomics including some of the most comfortable seating you'll find in any car. It is also an appealing car to anyone interested in pure design. Becomes very obvious when you spend some time in one that a LOT of thought goes into the details. Interiors don't feel cheap or cold...etc. Yes, unfortunately maintenance costs are high...until that gets fixed Saabs will have a tough go of it in the mainstream market. Good luck to them.

  • Mpresley Mpresley on Nov 17, 2009

    I owned a 9-3. It was a lot of fun. My MG Midge was a lot of fun too, but I'm glad Leyland is dead, too.

  • Ian Williams Ian Williams on Nov 17, 2009

    Lests not forget the badge-engineered abominaiton that was the Saabaru. How much did that cost Subaru in lost WRX sales and brand degredgation?

  • 50merc 50merc on Nov 18, 2009

    Accounting trickery can shift income from one year to another, but not perpetually unless Sweden's tax authorities are completely hapless. Saab's history of losses exemplifies the old saw, insanity is doing the same thing over and over, while expecting a different result. GM's "Board of Bystanders"--how very true.