GM Completes Saab Sale, Names New Vice Chairman, More
DETROIT and TROLLHATTAN, Sweden — The Spyker Cars NV purchase of Saab Automobile AB from General Motors has been finalized, the companies announced Tuesday.
The ownership shift has been completed, and now Saab and Spyker will operate under the Spyker umbrella as sister companies. Spyker is taking over the operations of Saab, whose previously announced wind-down has been canceled.
"Throughout negotiations over the past year, GM has worked with many parties, including governments and investors, to find a solution for Saab," GM Europe president Nick Reilly noted.
"I'm very pleased that we could come to a positive conclusion, one that presents a viable future for Saab and preserves jobs in Sweden and elsewhere," he continued.
Victor Muller, chief executive officer of Spyker Cars NV, shared: "We are delighted — Saab's future is now secure. From today we will be concentrating all of our efforts into reviving Saab and transforming it into a sustainable and profitable company with the confidence to be bold.
"We will reinforce the emotional experience between Saab drivers and their cars and we will focus on Saab's historical strengths in the fields of independent thinking, aircraft heritage, ecological performance and motorsport," Muller continued.
Muller went on to note that this purchase adds roughly 15 Euros per share in equity and 60 Euros per share in assets.
"With a well-funded business plan in place we are looking forward to working with Saab's management on the realization of that plan and bringing exciting new products to our customers," he stated. "Real Saabs, Saab Saabs."
Jan Ake Jonsson, CEO of Saab Automobile AB, also provided some commentary, calling Tuesday's news "great for Saab's customers, dealers, suppliers and employees around the globe."
Jonsson also said "the level of passion and support shown to Saab over recent months has been remarkable and this does bode well for the future.
"Now we aim to get back to the execution of our business plan, starting with the introduction of the new 9-5 later this year, and with the continued support of our employees and business partners I am confident we will succeed," Jonsson added.
"This transaction represents the successful outcome of months of hard work and intense negotiations, all aimed at securing a sustainable future for this unique brand, and we are pleased with the positive outcome," shared John Smith, GM vice president for corporate planning and alliances. "This is a great day for Saab employees, dealers and suppliers, and a great day for millions of Saab customers and fans worldwide."
In a different announcement, GM noted that Smith plans to retire at the end of 2010.
Officials said he will stay on the remainder of the year, working as special adviser to GM vice chairman and chief financial officer Chris Liddell.
"John has had a distinguished career," stated Ed Whitacre, GM chairman and CEO. "He has been instrumental in many of the company's milestones. We thank him for his dedicated service."
GM Appoints New Vice Chairman
In other news from the automaker, GM named board member Stephen Girsky as vice chairman of corporate strategy and business development. This becomes effective Monday.
Girsky has served on the GM board of directors since July 10 and will continue to do so.
His responsibilities in the new post include corporate strategy, business alliances, new business development and other related areas.
"Steve brings a depth of experience to this position that will serve the company well as we continue with our restructuring efforts," Whitacre commented.
"He is a trusted adviser who has made a major contribution through the company's transition," he continued. "We look forward to benefiting from Steve's counsel and insights as we move the company forward."
GM Announces Cadillac Europe
Moving on, GM recently unveiled plans to ramp up its luxury brand presence overseas by establishing a newly created organization — Cadillac Europe.
Automaker executives explained the new operation will manage the import, distribution and marketing of a selected range of Cadillac models specified for European markets. They indicated that the vehicles will be retailed through a fully authorized Cadillac sales and service network in key European markets.
GM noted that more specific details will be announced at a later date.
Nonetheless, the manufacturer plans to use the upcoming Geneva Motor Show to highlight the Cadillac models it is looking to market heavily throughout Europe.
Cadillac officials will present the CTS Coupe for the first time in Europe. While they said the unit is slated to arrive in North American Cadillac showrooms this summer, it will hit European stores this fall.
"The CTS Coupe is a new luxury sports coupe designed to become the visual centerpiece of the brand's revised lineup," brand executives highlighted.
"The Coupe is a classic 2+2 layout bolstered with advanced technology, such as a rear-view camera system and a performance-oriented suspension, combined with rear-wheel or all-wheel drive," they went on to mention.
Cadillac also pointed out that the Coupe will join the CTS Sport Sedan, the 556-horsepower CTS-V and new CTS Sport Wagon as the foundation of its lineup. Executives added that a high-performance V-Series edition of the Coupe will also be released this year.
During the Geneva event, Cadillac also plans to exhibit the new CTS Sport Wagon, CTS Sport Sedan and the CTS-V. Brand officials indicated that the CTS Sport Wagon will be available as of model year 2011, while the CTS Sport Sedan and the CTS-V are available now.
In other campaigns for the show, Cadillac will present the new SRX, a midsize luxury crossover. The company mentioned this new unit features a fresh design combined with an efficient, high-technology engine. Officials noted the SRX goes on sale in Europe with model year 2011.
Finally, the Cadillac Escalade Hybrid will also be shown in Geneva. Officials claim the Escalade Hybrid is the first full-size luxury SUV worldwide featuring the fuel-saving two-mode hybrid system.
"This vehicle offers more than 40-percent fuel consumption reduction in city driving and dramatically reduced exhaust emissions, while offering all the advantages of a spacious luxury SUV," executives highlighted
"Two-mode hybrid technology can operate the vehicle solely on battery-electric power during idling or low-speed driving situations," brand officials continued.
"The permanently all-wheel-driven Escalade Hybrid also incorporates Active Fuel Management technology that enables the 6.0-liter, V-8 engine to operate on only four cylinders in certain driving conditions to save fuel," they added.
Cadillac general manager Bryan Nesbitt revealed why the brand is making such an effort to penetrate into Europe.
"Europe is an important market for Cadillac," Nesbitt indicated
"Re-establishing distribution of our premium offerings is good news for those who seek import exclusiveness," he concluded.