Fleet News

Saab regains its lease footing

Lease companies are relaxing their stance over writing new Saab business, which saw many of them stop offering the marque.

Saab went into the Swedish equivalent of bankruptcy in March, leading to lease companies reassessing their policies.

Some, such as Masterlease, which owns Saab Contract Hire and is part of GM’s financial service arm, stopped writing all new Saab business, while others revised their Saab residual value forecasts.

Now an agreement has been reached between General Motors and the Swedish sports car maker, Koenigsegg, which should see Koenigsegg take control Saab within weeks.

As a result, lease companies here are revising their Saab policies again.

“We are writing business on Saab,” confirmed Mark Sinclair managing director of multi-marque provider, Alphabet.

“We have reconsidered our stance recently and have improved our rates accordingly.”

A similar softening has been seen at ING. “We have now recommenced quoting on Saab as we are now more comfortable with their financial position,” explained managing director, Ian Tilbrook.

“So far there has been no adverse reaction to the brand.”

But not all lease providers are following suit, preferring instead to wait until the deal is secured before upping residual values, which in turn will reduce lease rates.

“We are reserving judgement about what to do until we have met with Saab and understand in detail the nature and the structure of the new company,” explained Andrew Cope, chief executive of Zenith Provecta.

“If we can get comfortable with the long-term future for Saab, particularly around the funding of the business, then we will look favourably about getting back to a normal business footing.”

Hitachi Capital Vehicle Solutions is taking a similar stand, although it is still writing Saab business.

“We reduced our residual values and have done over the past few months, once we knew Saab was outside GM arrangements,” explained Tim Bowden, head of operations at Hitachi.

“We will review this once the deal with Koenigsegg is completed and we have further information.”

A lot of damage has already have been done to Saab.

“Some fleets have switched to different makes over the last few months as some leasing companies made Saab unquotable until its future was more secure,” explained Sinclair.

“Saab is almost always a user/chooser type purchase so if it appears on a choice list it will invariably continue to be selected by the usual Saab buyer base assuming the price is right.”

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