Saab news snippets

Bob Lutz addressed the Automotive Press Association yesterday, outlining GM’s plan for one global budget for developing new models. It involves a greater tying-in of product development, design and engineering around the world through the use of electronic technologies.

….as we develop our new global mid-size architecture, which will replace such vehicles as the Opel Vectra, Chevy Malibu, Pontiac G6 and Saab 9-3, we’ll realize significant savings as a result of this new system. We’ll move from three closely related regional architectures to one global architecture serving nine different models in all four of our regions. We expect a 40% reduction in our prototype builds, a 20% reduction in material costs as a result of the common components, and 25% reductions in both engineering costs and overall investment. That one program alone could save us more than $1 billion over the course of its lifecycle. And ultimately that’s how success will be measured… how much we save, and how much we earn.

Um, no. Bob, success will be measured by how good the products are. If they’re no good, they won’t sell….and you won’t earn.

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Kirk Kerkorian doesn’t have a seat on GM’s board. Not yet, anyway. But he has sent his chief numbers man to look over GM’s situation. From the Fin Review here in Oz…

The Saab brand is thought to not be worth further investment. Hummer is not seen as a core asset but one that should be sold.

And while there is an appreciation of the difficulties that GM faces, Tracinda is not expected to remain on the sidelines unless the company comes up with a more comprehensive turnaround strategy that refocuses GM on making fewer, but more desirable, car and truck models.

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All of this makes the Renault/Nissan wooing all the more interesting. I tend to think there’s a fairly low chance of a deal actually happening (in the near term at least), but let’s just say that Saab belonging to a company more tied to creating cars than to it’s unions, and one willing to adequately market these cars, is a belonging I’d be willing to explore.

It’s interesting that New Car Net in the UK report it as Nissan having the interest:

Industry commentators are suggesting that Ford’s rebuff might prompt Nissan to approach Saab, as the Japanese company seems intent on buying its way into a market it seems unable to satisfy with its own large vehicles.

Nissan, Renault’s partner, already has a premium brand in the form of Infiniti but that offers little in the way of an option for Renault as within Europe Infiniti is described as having ‘no profile’.

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Topgear are reporting that the Saab 9-3 Convertible will be reporting for duty in a diesel form for the UK market in early 2006. Unable to stop themselves there, there’s also a story about the 9-5 Biopower arriving in the UK in 2006 as well. OK, so you may not be able to fill it up anywhere (or anywhere nearby, at least), but I guess they’re looking at creating the demand.

Thanks to wOOdz and JWLanky at SC for finding these.

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On the car shopping front, the Monte Carlo is getting inspected on Monday.

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1 Comment

  1. Right now would be the perfect time for GM to sell SAAB. They have just terminated the partnership w/ Subaru, so they’ve eliminated at least two planned models two-years or so out. They’re also yet to introduce fully new versions (I’m not counting the facelift) of their other two main models. The 9-7X turns out to be a “stopgap” measure to nothing.

    By “cutting their losses” right now GM can potentially save A LOT of money in development and production ramp-up costs by selling SAAB.

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