Friday, December 18, 2009

Brutal Death For Saab Doesn't Mean An End To Service Of The Brand In Winston-Salem, NC

A used car dealer and auto repair facility in North Carolina -Frank Myers Auto Maxx- has announced they will continue selling and servicing Saabs. This comes on the heels of the announcement from General Motors on Friday that it will stop production of Saab after talks to sell the brand to Dutch carmaker Spyker Cars collapsed.

A news release issued by GM said that issues arose during the sale talks that could not be resolved.

"Despite the best efforts of all involved, it has become very clear that the due diligence required to complete this complex transaction could not be executed in a reasonable time," GM Europe President Nick Reilly said in a statement. "In order to maintain operations, Saab needed a quick resolution."

As part of the restructuring of General Motors, a buyer for Saab was first sought in January. It was previously in talks to sell Saab to a consortium led by the Swedish sports car maker Koenigsegg Group AB, but it turned to Spyker after Koenigsegg withdrew from the talks in November.

Speculation has since been rampant on the future of Saab. Earlier this week, GM Chairman and CEO Ed Whitacre told reporters he had "a sense it's possible" that the sale to Spyker would go through, but conceded the brand would close by the end of the year if the talks fell apart.

While GM has said that all warranties will continue to be honored, the absence of an actual Saab dealership in Winston-Salem has caused concern with many of the import owners. Tracy Myers, owner of Frank Myers Auto, has heard from several Saab owners that were said to be concerned about service and warranty work. Myers stated, "If I were a Saab owner, I would be concerned with the lack of service available for my car. That's one of the reasons my service department has made a commitment to Saab owners. We'll continue taking care of their vehicles as long as there is a demand for it."

On Monday, China's Beijing Automotive Industry Holdings — originally part of the Koenigsegg consortium — announced it had agreed to buy some powertrain technology from Saab. It gave no details of costs or timing of that purchase.