IMPORTANT NEWS: National Electric Vehicle Sweden has agreed to buy the assets of Saab Automobile and the sale is expected to be finalized during the summer.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Saab dependent on GM the coming years

On Monday General Motors made a statement that the company will not continue to supply Saab with technology for the production of the Saab 9-3 and Saab 9-5 and not deliver the Saab 9-4X from the Mexico production plant if Saab is sold to the Chinese companies Youngman and PangDa as planned.

This would of course immediately remove all of Saab's current vehicles. But I know that some might say "Forget GM, let's make new Saabs on the new Phoenix architecture developed by Saab!".

And that is of course an interesting thought. And in time Saab plans to move all its vehicles over to the Phoenix architecture. The problems it that it takes time. First of all, the technology isn't fully developed yet. Remember that the first car on Phoenix was supposed to be launced at the end of 2012. Now with all that has happened this year, the launch date will probably be 6 to 12 months later. So no cars until summer or autumn 2013. That doesn't sound like a viable plan does it? Even if Saab would lay-off half of the work force temporary for two years, the costs to run the company would be enormous and the incomes would be miniscule. And if Saab isn't present on the market for the next two years, then what about the dealers - how will they surive? And will the car buyers be back to buy Saabs after two years off the market?

But that is not the only problem. Another problem is the Phoenix architecture. At the moment the Phoenix architecture is actually not 100 percent Saab. It is a hybrid of Saab developed technology and GM owned technolgy.

"It concerns some systems and components which GM owns and we have permission to use," Peter Zienau, Director Electrical Integration Vehicle Engineering at Saab says to TTELA. But he also points out that this is the current situation.

"The long-term strategy is to be fully independent of GM."

In other words, not even the Phoenix architecture in its current form is fully owned by Saab. And so there is only one way of survival for Saab: Raise funding and make partnerships that GM can accept.