Friday, January 28, 2005

Adjo Saab?
Unless you read the British publication Financial Times, you likely missed the story that had everyone in the Saab sphere reeling a few weeks ago. It was reported in that respected periodical that GM was doing a study on the viability of Saab, which would be completed by March, whose conclusion might be that GM would close Saab down. Needless to say, those of us who have hitched our professional wagons to Saab were mortified.
The recanting has been fierce, and the revised story, which is not news, is that GM has overcapacity in both Trollhattan in the Saab plant and in Russellsheim, Germany, where Opels built on the same platforms are produced. One of these factories will likely close. The Saab plant is newer and enjoys excellent efficiency. However, the Swedes are not on the Euro and as strong as it is, the krona is stronger, which contributes to high cost of production.
If GM is to be believed at this point, it is the Saab plant in Sweden, not the brand, that is danger of closing.
This would seem to make sense, given that we have two new products being released this year--hardly what you'd do if you were about to hang a going-out-of-business sign on the brand. There is also another joint venture with Fuji on a brand new product (for Saab and Subaru), and talk again of a more European 92X. We shall see....

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