Report: Saab US bankruptcy plan gets legal green-light

Filed under: Government/Legal, Saab, Earnings/Financials

Saab

It feels utterly bizarre that we’re still talking about Saab, but Reuters is reporting that the bankrupt Swedish manufacturer’s American arm has gotten approval from the US Bankruptcy Court to liquidate its assets and pay back creditors. As part of the plan, secured creditors like Ally Financial will receive full repayment. Unsecured creditors, consisting of those affected by abandoned leases and contracts will get anywhere from 25 to 82 percent of their money back.

There are currently $77 million in unsecured claims, according to Reuters, but that number doesn’t include claims from former Saab dealers. Naturally, the entire affair is full of lawyers and legalese. A trust formed on the Saab side will be negotiating with creditors and their affiliates in an attempt to reduce claims against Saab. This sounds like the start of a long and sordid affair…

Saab US bankruptcy plan gets legal green-light originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 18 Jul 2013 17:45:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Official: Spyker to appeal dismissal of Saab lawsuit against GM

Filed under: Europe, Government/Legal, GM, Saab, Spyker

Spyker CEO Victor Muller in front of Spyker building

It seems as if Spyker CEO Victor Muller has made a decision on whether or not to pursue a legal battle between his company and General Motors. Spyker has announced it will appeal a US District Court decision to throw out the company’s lawsuit against GM. As you may recall, on June 10 Judge Gershwin Drain ruled tht GM had a right to approve or disapprove Spyker’s sale of Saab to Zhejiang Youngman Lotus Automobile. Spyker sued GM for some $3 billion, claiming that the American automaker had forced Saab into bankruptcy by stopping Spyker from transferring intellectual property to its Chinese partner.

Spyker has said only that it plans to appeal the decision. Until now, the company has been silent about the ruling. GM, meanwhile, has said it is pleased with the original outcome. You can read the quick Spyker press release below for more information.

Continue reading Spyker to appeal dismissal of Saab lawsuit against GM

Spyker to appeal dismissal of Saab lawsuit against GM originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 21 Jun 2013 08:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Saab 9-3 ePower test fleet being assembled

Filed under: Wagon, Europe, Plants/Manufacturing, Saab, Electric

saab 9-3 epower

Saab 9-3 ePower assembly – Click above for high-res image gallery

Despite Spyker’s adventures in Chinese business negotiation, Saab is doing everything in its power to try and push forward. The 9-4X is reportedly the only Saab vehicle currently being produced, but it seems another is also coming to life. A fleet of Saab 9-3 ePower electric wagons are being put together for testing.

Hand-assembled in a room just off the main assembly line, the 9-3 ePower is Saab’s first all-electric vehicle, and the automaker will be establishing a test fleet of 70 vehicles. The battery system is said to be good for a 124-mile range with a top speed of around 90 miles per hour. Fleet testing is scheduled to begin later this year.

Saab 9-3 ePower test fleet being assembled originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 24 May 2011 16:29:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Report: Saab 9-4X production underway, only Saab currently being built

Filed under: Plants/Manufacturing, Crossover, Saab, Luxury

2011 Saab 9-4X

2011 Saab 9-4X – Click above for high-res image gallery

Production of the all-new 2011 Saab 9-4X crossover has started on schedule, despite the company’s crippling financial woes. While production of the rest of the Saab lineup at its Trollhattan, Sweden plant has ground to a cash-strapped halt, 9-4Xs are rolling off the assembly lines in Ramos Arizpe, Mexico.

The plant producing the latest Saab is under contract to the Swedes from GM, and with any luck will help jumpstart a recovery. Under its very Swedish skin, the Saab 9-4X packs the same underpinnings as the 2011 Cadillac SRX.

The base model, which comes with a 265-hp 2.8-liter V6, starts at $33,380, with the top-whack, turbocharged model ringing the register at $48,010. Ominously for Saab, the 300-hp mill is the same engine Cadillac just pulled from the SRX lineup to deal with reliability issues.

Saab 9-4X production underway, only Saab currently being built originally appeared on Autoblog on Sat, 21 May 2011 16:05:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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First Drive: 2011 Saab 9-4X

Filed under: Crossover, Saab, First Drive, Luxury

Against The Odds, Saab’s First Crossover Comes Good

2011 Saab 9-4X

2011 Saab 9-4X – Click above for high-res image gallery

As we assembled media and executives sat down to dinner in Washington, D.C. the night before driving the 2011 Saab 9-4X, a waiter leaned over my shoulder with a bottle of sparkling water and poured it into a waiting rocks glass filled with ice and a lemon. He paused, staring intently at my glass. Clearly flummoxed, the dinner service ground to a halt. “May I, sir?” As I had no earthly idea what was troubling him, I nodded. “Certainly.” He picked up the glass, reached into its mouth and fished out the lemon only to squeeze it with much theater. The wedge yielded but a drop or two of juice. “Dry!” he pronounced with a mixture of pride and embarrassment. Perhaps reading the confusion on my face, he followed this proclamation by saying “You can ‘ell becooze…. it was… ah…. reluctant to float.” He then disappeared into the back of the restaurant for what seemed like minutes, reemerging with a new glass filled with ice and a noticeably plumper wedge of citrus riding atop the rim of the glass.

You just never know what’s going to hold up a car launch.

Stick around in this business for a while, and you’ll see how labor unrest, cash crunches, bad mergers and natural disasters can wreak havoc on a new automobile’s gestation and production schedule. We thought we’d seen it all, but the poor folks at Saab are surely trying for some kind of record with the number of calamities threatening to scrap not just the launch of this 9-4X, but the Swedish brand altogether. In fact, this handsome looking crossover is already late to the party – it was originally slated to launch in 2009 alongside its General Motors’ platform-mate, the Cadillac SRX.

Given the strong initial sales of the SRX, you might think that Saab’s ownership expects big volume out of its first proper crossover (the late and not lamented 9-7X was an SUV and the 9-3X is little more than a wagon on stilts). But based on our conversations with company officials, not so much – they’re looking to shift just 10,000 units globally in 2011 – a seemingly trifling sum until one looks at Saab’s miserable sales figures worldwide. Continue reading…

Continue reading 2011 Saab 9-4X

2011 Saab 9-4X originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 17 May 2011 11:57:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Saab 9-3 Sport Combi unlikely but awesome Viper V10 transplant recipient

Filed under: Aftermarket, Motorsports, Performance, Wagon, Etc., Europe, Saab, Specialty

Saab 9-3 SportCombi Viper
Saab 9-3 Sport Combi Viper V10 – Click above for image gallery

Of the multiple sacred laws of hot rodding, “Thou shall put big engines in small cars” is by far our favorite. This line of thinking spans cultures and has led to the creation of many a magnificent machine. Machines like this Saab 9-3 Sport Combi with a kicking V10 sourced from the mighty Dodge Viper under its hood. This thing puts a whole new spin on the term “sport wagon.” As you might imagine, shoving a longitudinally mounted lump of American engineering into the engine bay of a small Swedish long roof required significant re-engineering of the 9-3 body structure, including fabricating an entirely new transmission tunnel.

With that big lump situated behind the front axle and a set of stoppers lifted from the big snake as well, we have to imagine that this beast is an absolute terror on the track. Who do we have to bribe for a little seat time? Check out the full build over in Zatzy forums thanks to contributor mrspringer.

Saab 9-3 Sport Combi unlikely but awesome Viper V10 transplant recipient originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 16 May 2011 13:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Report: Great Wall Motors denies Saab talks

Filed under: China, Europe, Saab, Earnings/Financials

Man affixes 'Save Saab' sign to car window

According to The Detroit News, Chinese automaker Great Wall has made it clear that the company has not been in talks with Saab over a potential partnership. After word trickled down that a $233-million deal between the Swedish automaker’s parent company, Spyker, and Hawtai Motor Group imploded, rumors of various other Chinese suitors have cropped up in a serious fashion.

Spyker said that Hawtai was forced to back out of the arrangement due to the company’s inability to obtain proper government consent, while Hawtai denied those claims. Instead, the Chinese automaker said that claim in a statement by saying that the true issues were commercial and economic realities.

Meanwhile, both BAIC and China Youngman Automobile Group have said that they aren’t in negotiations with either Spyker or Saab at this time. The Detroit News reports that BAIC recently bought the rights to some Saab technology, though the automaker said that no further discussions had been made about the future of the relationship between the two organizations.

Great Wall Motors denies Saab talks originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 13 May 2011 14:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Saab on the money hunt, still in discussions with Great Wall Motor?

Filed under: China, Europe, Government/Legal, Saab, Earnings/Financials, Spyker

Saab factory sign in Trollhatten, Sweden

Earlier this morning came word that Saab’s deal with Chinese automaker Hawtai had fallen apart. While in discussions with Hawtai, parent company Spyker was evidently also talking with another automaker located in China – Great Wall Motors. According to Reuters, those talks have apparently never ended, and, in light of today’s news, we’re going to speculate that it’s time to escalate the discussion or officially turn off the lights at Saab assembly plants.

Great Wall has cash and Saab has cars, technology and a dealer network. The two companies could be mutually beneficial, but there are hurdles to overcome before anything can actually happen. The Chinese government must approve a foreign joint venture before it moves forward. Still, it’s a good sign that companies are still interested in working with Spyker, and that could keep Saab alive.

Spyker isn’t simply pinning all of its hopes on Great Wall, as other Chinese companies are also on its radar. Besides a potential Chinese investor, however, Spyker and Saab are still hoping to see their European Investment Bank drawdown approved. Once either scenario plays out favorably, Saab can resume producing automobiles.

Saab on the money hunt, still in discussions with Great Wall Motor? originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 12 May 2011 14:31:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Autoblog talks to Saab NA President and COO Tim Colbeck after his first day

Filed under: Hirings/Firings/Layoffs, Marketing/Advertising, Saab

Tim Colbeck, Saab

“I’m a horrible manager,” admits Muller, “but I’m very good at raising money.”

While in Washington D.C. for the 2012 Saab 9-4X launch, we had dinner next to Victor Muller, then spoke to the newly announced captain of Saab’s North American ship, Tim Colbeck, who actually fills the dual roles of president and COO – at the end of his first day on the job. Muller started the evening by talking about the most recent troubles, saying of the production stoppage, “It was all my fault.”

“Saab was really a General Motors subsidiary – GM financing, GM terms and conditions, GM suppliers, and things can start to come apart when you’re independent. Sometimes you have to tell suppliers it’s not going to be the way it was.”

Muller says a single supplier told Saab that “if we didn’t pay, he wasn’t going to open his truck that day,” and Muller “called his bluff.” The supplier was a man of his word, wouldn’t deliver the parts, and the lack of those particular components caused a production stoppage of two hours, which Muller says is “normal elsewhere, but not in Sweden.”

To hear Muller tell it, it might not have been such a problem if the Swedish media, which he accuses of being Saab bashers, hadn’t turned it into a sensational story. “Within two hours of the stoppage,” he said, “we didn’t have one supplier with problems, we had 92 suppliers with problems” as Saab experienced a “run on the bank.” Continue reading…

Continue reading Autoblog talks to Saab NA President and COO Tim Colbeck after his first day

Autoblog talks to Saab NA President and COO Tim Colbeck after his first day originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 11 May 2011 19:25:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Muller says Saab could sell $10,000 Chinese autos in States

Filed under: China, Safety, Saab

spyker ceo victor muller

Saab has been in the news quite a bit lately, and mostly for the wrong reasons. But now that the Swedish automaker appears to have secured loans and buy-in from Hawtai Motors in China, Victor Muller and company are looking to go on the offensive.

Automotive News reports that the Spyker CEO is still talking China, but now he’s entertaining the possibility of partnering with a Chinese company to distribute low-cost autos in the U.S. Muller reportedly says that Saab could utilize its dealer networks in the U.S. and Europe to sell $10,000 Chinese vehicles in two or three years. And just because Saab struck a deal with Hawtai doesn’t mean that the Swedish automaker is restricting its plans to its newest strategic partner. Muller pointed out during an interview in Washington, D.C. that there are 120 companies in China, and that Saab is interested in “the one with a strategy.”

There are many hurdles for Chinese automakers to overcome to finally breach the U.S. market, not the least of which is passing federal safety standards. Muller acknowledges that a five-star-rated Chinese vehicle likely won’t happen any time soon, but he says that made-in-China SUVs can be had with tons of features for about $10,000, adding “Do you really worry about a five-star rating? They Look good.”

Hmmm. We’re guessing there will be plenty of buyers who don’t want to drive a vehicle with compromised safety capabilities, but a low price tag could cure those fears. Of course, we also can’t help but wonder how many luxury car shoppers will want to pay premium prices for Saab automobiles if they share showroom space with discount Chinese offerings – the Swedish automaker’s residual values have been problematic enough as-is.

Muller says Saab could sell $10,000 Chinese autos in States originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 11 May 2011 14:31:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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