Report: Saab and its 218 U.S. franchises will close down

Article by Christian Andrei, on August 27, 2010

A third General Motors Co. brand gets the ax this year. Despite optimism that Saab will be sold off to Spyker Cars NV, issues "couldn't be resolved quickly enough" and so GM had decided to just cancel the brand, according to John Smith, GM's vice president for corporate planning and alliances.

In a call with reporters, Smith confirmed that Saab and its 218 US franchises will be shuttered after a deal with Spyker failed to prosper. Smith said that GM tried "very hard" in the short period of time that it had to try to make a deal with Spyker but that it "just didn't work out."

GM had been seeking for a buyer the past year. Last November, Koenigsegg Group AB terminated its agreement to purchase Saab. The negotiations with Spyker represented its second failed attempt to sell the brand.

GM had said that if at the end of the year, it still couldn't find a buyer then it would wind down Saab. Smith explained that Spyker, which isn't an original bidder, had been the only option after Koenigsegg withdrew its bid.

He said that it shouldn't be a surprise that with the length of time available and with that background, that some issues couldn't be resolved. Smith had also been at the forefront of GM's negotiations to sell its Opel brand to Magna International Inc.

Of course we all know by now what became of those talks. GM chose to cancel the sale and instead, kept the brand.

On the other hand, the Saturn brand was going to be sold off to Penske Automotive Group Inc. but it was canceled in September when France's Renault SA backed out of its agreement to provide Saturn with future products. [via autonews]

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