Well this comes as a bit of a surprise. Scandy automaker Koenigsegg, most well known for making a two-seater supercar of prodigious performance, has just put the final ink on the contract to buy Saab. What’s most interesting to us, the gearhead, is that Koenigsegg makes fast cars, and Saab has been known to make a fast car or two in the past. So what will the future hold?
General Motors made it official this morning that a consortium representing Swedish supercar manufacturer Koenigsegg will purchase the beleaguered Saab unit that GM bought a while back for no clear logical reason. At the moment, this is “just” a signed a memorandum of understanding, the big business equivalent of a promise ring, but barring some huge money problems, the deal is most certain to go through.
In the short term, this means that officially, Saab will once again be a fully Swedish automaker, which is good. I don’t like it when Group Of Rich Guys from Foreign Country “A” end up owning Lotus or Bugatti or, for that matter, Saab. It’s sort of like an NFL franchise leaving the city it started in, it just feels wrong.
Jan Ã…ke Jonsson, Managing Director of Saab Automobile AB said, \”The proposed agreement will enable us to maximize the brand\’s potential through an exciting new product line-up with a distinctly Swedish character. Today\’s announcement is great news for Saab\’s current and future customers, dealers, suppliers and employees around the globe,\”
Under the terms of the memorandum, signed by all three automakers, Saab, GM & Koenigsegg, General Motors will continue to provide architecture and powertrain technology for a \”defined time period.\” Which is a polite and legalese way of saying that what is already in the works will stay on path. So, Saab’s 9-3, the next-gen 9-5 and forthcoming 9-4x, all products of existing GM technology, will all roll out as scheduled.
Via a GM-only news release, it was announced that the next-generation Saab 9-5 will be built in Saab\’s TrollhÃ¤ttan, Sweden, assembly plant. Assumedly Koenigsegg will take possession of that historic auto plant, which is cool on a number of fronts, most of all because it’s named TrollhÃ¤ttan.
The deal should be done by Q3 of this year and it’s anticipated that a $600 million commitment of funding from the European Investment Bank will also come along with the deal. Saab is putting up some money, but just how much is unknown at this point, as is the price of the sale to Koenigsegg.
So this is good news over all. Good news for Saab, good news for Koenigsegg and it is very, very good news for GM
In the past two weeks, GM has: Filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, sold Saturn to Penske Automotive Group, sold Hummer to Sichuan Tengzhong Heavy Industrial Machinery in China and offloaded the majority of Opel to Magna Styer.
Busy, busy, busy ….
Photo from Flickr user henley_regatta