Just in from Reuters, a press conference prior to the Geneva Motor Show:
GENEVA (Reuters) – General Motors Corp. plans to build a new Cadillac mid-size car at its Saab plant in Trollhattan, Sweden, a top GM executive said on Monday, providing some assurance for the plant’s future.
A second executive with the world’s largest automaker also said that Saab’s continued presence in Sweden is key to the brand.
"I will say tomorrow that the Cadillac will be built in Trollhattan," Carl Peter Forster, president of GM Europe, told Reuters at a briefing ahead of the Geneva auto show. "There’s more products for our Trollhattan plant. Otherwise we wouldn’t put the Cadillac there."
Both the new Cadillac BLS sedan and the new Saab SportCombi mid-size wagon, which will also be shown at the Geneva auto show, will be built in Trollhattan in addition to the 9-3 sedan and the 9-5 sedan and wagon, Saab officials said. Later this year, GM will begin production of a refreshed version of the 9-5 cars, Saab officials said.
"Saab is a Swedish car and a Swedish brand. It’s important to have a foothold in the market where you have that heritage," Saab President Peter Augustsson told Reuters.
Speculation has mounted that GM could close its Swedish plant, if it chooses another GM plant in Germany to build a next-generation of mid-size cars. GM is to announce by the end of March where it will build the new cars, which will replace the Opel Vectra and the Saab 9-3.
GM officials declined to say where the next-generation cars would be built. The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung reported on Monday that GM had picked the Opel plant in Ruesselsheim, Germany over the Trollhattan plant.
Opel’s works council denied that a decision had already been made. "There has been no decision yet and neither, therefore, has anything been signed yet," works council chief Klaus Franz told Reuters.
He confirmed, however, that the automaker would hold a press conference in Ruesselsheim on Friday.
The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung reported in its Tuesday edition that GM agreed to place new models in the Swedish plant after workers agreed to concessions on pay and work hours and the Swedish government agreed to invest in infrastructure.