Saab Taking Its Toys And Going Home, Maybe

January 22, 2009

Saab is the red-headed stepchild in GM's family, and the General has been trying to unload it for some time. (Alas, two decades of losing money hasn't endeared the brand to potential buyers.) Then last week, GM's Bob Lutz threw out some very ominous words: "Saab is a luxury that we can no longer afford." Which is exactly the sort of thing Ernst Stavro Blofeld might say before strapping James Bond to a conveyor belt. Not exactly comforting.

Today, however, there's a bit of good news for Saab. GM's Fritz Henderson has confirmed that the company is in serious talks with the Swedish government to put the troubled brand back in the land of meatballs, lutefisk, and '70s erotica. Apparently, the discussions center around moving both production and R&D back to the company's headquarters in Trollhattan.

While GM remains cautious, Sweden is clearly excited by the possible deal, and has prepared a $100 million support package to help launch the new Saab 9-5 model.  And since roughly 75% of Saab's sales are in European markets, the move would seem a no-brainer. It feels a little odd, rooting for a divorce, but, you know, vive la difference.

[Autocar, Autoweek]

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