Fleet News

GM completes Saab buyout

GENERAL Motors has bought the remaining 50% stake it does not own in Saab for an undisclosed sum, heralding a potential doubling of the manufacturer's global sales. The world's largest vehicle manufacturer has had a 50% stake in Saab for 10 years and had until the end of January to decide whether to buy the remaining half owned by Investor, the main investment vehicle for Sweden's Wallenberg family.

The deal was announced at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, where General Motors' Europe president Mike Burns told Fleet NewsNet: 'We think a lot of the brand and a lot of its capability, but the product range must increase.' Last year Saab's global sales totalled 131,000 based on two models - the 9-3 and 9-5 - and their derivatives. UK sales last year were 16,909 vehicles. Saab is aiming for 140,000 sales worldwide this year.

But Burns said he believed that Saab could double production and launch vehicles into new sectors - particularly sports utility vehicles as well as larger and smaller cars - without sacrificing its safety and performance hallmarks. He added: 'Just as Saab is benefiting from General Motors' worldwide resources, Saab's particularly focused brand and product approach, and its unique expertise in developing turbo applications, are an important asset to General Motors on a global basis.'

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