GM Expects Dealer Arbitration to Take Six Months, Offers Saab Update
DETROIT — General Motors officials have been busy this past week announcing more details about the binding arbitration program for terminated dealers, releasing a bit more news about a potential Saab wind-down and deciding to sale one of its divisions.
When it comes to the special binding arbitration program for terminated dealers seeking reinstatement, officials indicated "We are working within the procedures of Section 747 of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2010 (H.R. 3288)."
They further said, "GM will provide dealers covered by the statute with a letter that explains why they received a wind-down agreement by Jan. 15, and all decisions regarding reinstatement will be completed with six months."
Basically, the company says it is working toward a professional, effective arbitration process for Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac dealers who received a complete or partial wind-down agreement and are seeking a reversal.
A report even came out that quoted Ed Whitacre, of GM, saying that he could foresee up to 100 dealers being reinstated under the program.
Potential Saab Wind-Down
The company also announced that it has selected AlixPartners to "supervise an orderly wind-down of Saab" and is seeking approval by the "appropriate authority in Sweden."
Apparently, hiring such a firm is a common occurrence in Sweden when companies look to close up shop. The firm basically works in the interest of the shareholders.
"The wind-down process is expected to take several months and will ensure that employees, dealers and suppliers are adequately protected," GM officials said.
"As stated previously, Saab customers can be assured that warranties will continue to be honored and that service and spare parts will continue to be available," they continued.
Interestingly enough, the company also stated, "GM also confirmed that it has received several proposals for Saab and is continuing to evaluate these proposals. This evaluation is not affected by the appointment of AlixPartners."
Various reports came out that in addition to Spyker, Formula One motor racing boss Bernie Ecclestone and joined up with a private, Luxembourg-based investment company to make an offer as well.
Whitacre has been featured in the news several times as being skeptical about a deal being reached. But it appears the automaker is still open to trying to work out some sort of deal to save the brand.
In reaction to the news about Saab, Kelley Blue Book executive market analyst James Bell said Friday, "Word is out today that GM has hired a corporate restructuring firm to assist in the wind-down of Saab. And at the same time, GM is tendering new offers for the brand from Spyker, a group including Formula 1 boss Bernie Ecclestone and a third group of Swedish investors.
"While all this posturing is good for GM and their ability to play these groups off one another to secure a high bid, it also casts the brand deeper into the consumer shadows. If and when Saab is sold and re-ignited as an independent company, who is going to buy their products? They were already a neglected child in the GM family. The brand's equity is taking a beating as this process drives on," he added.
Decision to Sell Nexteer
Finally, GM said it intends sale its Nexteer Automotive business. This company was purchased as a part of the Delphi bankruptcy.
"GM recognizes the value of the global steering and driveline operations and seeks to realign Nexteer as a wholly independent entity, thus better positioning its business for growth among a wide range of global OEM customers," officials said in a statement.
"The sales process will begin immediately. GM intends to identify suitable potential buyers and conclude a transaction as soon as possible," they concluded.