Carl-Peter Forster, the head honcho from GM Europe, has recently done an interview with Automotive News. The interview starts with questions about the German market and then moves onto the state of GM in Europe (which has set a sales record this year already, with a month to spare).
EduSaab was kind enough to send through a copy of the interview, and questions and answers specifically relating to Saab are reproduced below:
I found this one to be interesting…..
When will this car (an Opel flagship vehicle – SW) come out?
Early next decade. For the moment, we are completely maxed out with the Vectra successor, the Astra and all its derivatives, and two new Saabs.
With the 9-4x, new 9-5 and 9-1 all making recent news I was wondering about why he only mentioned two cars. Then it clicked. Two new Saabs. They’d be the 9-4x and the 9-1. New model lines to the brand.
Is Saab making a worthwhile contribution to GM?
In Europe it’s making a worthwhile contribution although shipping cars to the US from Europe is a difficult business. We believe Saab has potential. It needs a greater product line, which we are working on.
I’m a little disappointed he didn’t mention the engineering expertise Saab provides for GM in terms of turbocharging and the application of XWD technology, which Saab will take a lead role in going forward.
But the interview was focused more on sales than development, so I guess the answer was given in that context.
If the dollar-euro exchange rate doesn’t work for Saab, why does it work to export Opels to the US and sell them as Saturns?
That is a strategic investment in the market to reposition Saturn in the US with European-based, European-flavored vehicles.
Could you also ship US-made vehicles back to Europe?
You could have Chevys built in America. We will definitely build one Saab in America. We will be shipping Saabs back into Europe. We need a natural hedge.
That one Saab will be the 9-4x, to be made in Mexico and shipped to the worldwide market from there.
How many units?
It depends on the success, maybe about 10,000 units.
And finally, the quotable quote from the entire piece:
Why is the Cadillac BLS not selling well?
The BLS was a vehicle created to very quickly give a minimum volume to our dealers. [In that regard] it is working.
If minimum volume was the goal then I’d have to agree, it certainly is working….
Why, oh why, couldn’t that BLS money have gone directly into Saab?
Thanks again, EduSaab!