There’s plenty of news coming out of Sweden today. Thankfully, ctm is funnelling it through so that we can all get a look at it. New model news in just a moment….
With the reporting of sales, there’s also been a little business talk, and it’s not all good news for Saab. The newspaper, DN, are reporting that Saab Automobile lost 2.9 Billion SEK in 2006, and GM had to put 3,8 Billion SEK into the operation. That’s a lotta clams.
A few quotes from Jan-Ake Jonsson:
– “We didn’t make any profit in 2006, and want do it in 2007 either.”
-“GM looks at Saab in a very positive way, we are their only global brand and the premium segment is becoming more and more important.”
Jan-Ake thinks that they Saab can turn a profit around 2010. Whilst Jan-Ake maintains that Saab still enjoy GM’s confidence, life will still be a little difficult due to Saab’s small model range.
Apparently, part of the reason why there was such a large loss (and this may be lost in the translation a little) is that they had to book an accounting charge, possibly for investments made in model development, but it’s a little vague at the moment. I’ll have a closer look and provide more detail if I can.
Now, to the new model stuff.
The Gothenburg Post have been getting a sneak peek at coming models. Here’s the translation by ctm:
BMW and Audi, watch out. Yesterday, GP got previews of the new, bigger and more luxury Saab 9-5 and the first crossover from Saab.
Saab need new models – and they are almost here. When GP met with Jan-Åke Jonsson, CEO Saab Automobile, he showed pictures of two future models. It’s the new 9-5, to be built in Rüsselsheim, and the new crossover, unofficially named 9-4X. Both models has been discussed in length on Internet blogs and several details are already known.
But the discussions haven’t been absolute accurate when it comes to the design, even if some are close. The new 9-5 is wider, longer and higher than the current model. The design language is a further development of the recent facelift of the 9-3, together with details from the Aero-X. The new higher hood makes for a profile that makes one think of the bigger BMW models. The interior draws heavily on the “cockpit” elements that Saab use to associate with it’s airplane heritage.
The crossover 9-4X are somewhat bigger than the new Volvo XC60 that was presented in Detroit in January this year. The two models will be strong competitors to each other.
According to information on several blogs, the 9-4X and the Cadillac BRX are siblings and both will be built in Mexico. Saab wont give any comments on expected sales for the two new models. Carl-Peter Forster, President GM Europe, has earlier said that the new 9-5 will be produced in Rüsselsheim starting in 2009. According to some blogs, the crossover will also go on production in 2009 which should mean that the models will be shown at the next big auto shows – Frankfurt this September and Detroit in January.
There’s more on the business situation in Trollhattan’s local newspaper, TTELA.
Again, a translation by ctm:
Eric Geers, CIO Saab Automobile, about the losses:
– “It’s only Saab Automobile’s legal unit [direct translation]. The figures don’t show daughter companies, financial units, aftermarket products and so on. That’s why figures really don’t tell that much.”
– “GM is making a profit, and we are apart of GM. And we think we can deliver positive cash to GM this year already. We are heading for break even.”
The nominal loss is due to write-off. These will be 1 Billion SEK lower next year and basically gone in 2009. And GMs confidence in Saab is untouched.
– “To have Saab in the portfolio is extremely important to them. And already next year there will be some surprises, both financially and with new models the will be something rather special.”
Among the future models are a crossover that is important for the U.S. market. Also, the new 9-3 and 9-5, and a smaller car to be built in Trollhättan. But the previous grandiose ambitions have to let go. There has been talk about 250,000-300,000 cars a year. According to Geers, a more realistic goal is 150,000-200,000 cars a year. Saab is currently producing 133,000 cars. When they will reach 150,000 is nothing Geers want to speculate in.
Saab 9-3 consists to 90% of parts unique to Saab. Here, Saab wants a change and take more advantage of being in the GM family.
– “We have to be a little smarter. Parts that can be common should be it, while those that are important for the brand should be unique.”
One thing about these losses.
I can’t help but wonder if there is a Cadillac AB in Sweden. If not, is Saab compelled to absorb the development costs of the BLS?
There were 14 units of the BLS sold in Sweden during July.