Whitacre: Saab Will Die, Hummer Will Live
Ed Whitacre said yesterday that none of the potential bidders for Saab have come forward with the financing needed. “I think we’ve done everything humanly possible,” Whitacre said. Then he announced that GM will start closing down Saab plants later this week. GM’s really, final, we-really-mean-it-this-time deadline for Saab runs out today.
Who knows, maybe someone will come up with the money. Or at the very least, with some Powerpointilisms: Joran Hagglund, Sweden’s state secretary for industry, said there are bids from two anonymous groups that might make today’s deadline. Except that there is that nasty little detail: “The problem is that none of them can show that they have financing in place,” Hagglund said.
On Hummer, Whitacre is still gung-ho. GM aims to close the deal to sell the Hummer brand to China’s Tengzhong by end of January, Whitacre said to Reuters. That deal has been forever in the making and has become the joke of the industry.
While he was at it, Whitacre said that GM’s new chief financial officer Chris Liddell, who has joined from Microsoft Corp, could be a candidate for the CEO post of GM. “Could” is the operative word, because Whitacre has yet to receive a list of potential CEO candidates. Liddell wouldn’t be the first bean counter to head-up GM. But don’t you need to be a bean counter and a lifer for the job?
Speaking of counting beans, and going way out on a thin limb, Whitacre predicted that GM will return to profitability this year. A prognosis that doesn’t install too much confidence for his other predictions.
You know, I have to agree with a couple of people here on this topic... even though it has been beaten to death. GM does not really want to sell Saab. They can close it, keep the brand in a vault, etc. Plus, they must CLEARLY have a goal for the new 9-5. Maybe a re-badge for another brand? The car is too good (supposedly) and cost too much to develop to just let it die, even when there are suitors. Maybe Saab will live on, but with a different badge?
That's exactly it, akear. GM couldn't design a safe car nor could they design a powerful, smooth and fuel efficient 4 banger. Saab strenghts. Opel was in the same boat, kept on building POS after POS. After the Saab purchase, suddenly GM cars become safe, GM 4 cyl looks like carbon copies of Saab. Then GM exploded and went bankrupt. Saab never went bankrupt, despite its small volume. GM is then rescued by the US government and kills Saab. Talk about corporate irresponsability !!
sittingathome, The Vectra on which the Saab 900 is "based" was a laughingstock back then, far inferior to the offerings from VW or Peugeot. The handling was terrible, the engines dated and the crash tests catastrophic. GM forced Saab to use that inferior platform to rush the launch of the new 900. Saab used its own excellent turbocharched engines (except for the dreadful and unreliable opel V6), advanced electronics and suspension bits to make something decent, and even managed later to fix the aging Opel paltform to get very good crash tests results. Needless to say, the best bits were the Saab ones. But the Opel platform was far inferior the older Saab 9000 (done in house with Fiat/Alfa).
http://www.boston.com/cars/newsandreviews/overdrive/2010/01/bernie_ecclestone_part_of_newe.html The rumors of SAAB's death are greatly....