The company’s current moniker is “The Well-Built Swede.” But while all of Saab’s slogans have sounded great, none have proven particularly pertinent. As a result. just how far the carmaker had fallen during its 60-plus years was no more evident than it was during an interview with the Associated Press at the Geneva Auto Show.
Saab’s CEO Jan Ake Jonsson said the company, purchased last December by Dutch automaker Spyker, has only 500 cars for sale in showrooms across the United States “That number should probably be 5,000,” Jonsson said.
General Motors Corp. sold Saab Automobile AB to Spyker Cars NV for $74 million in cash plus $326 million worth of preferred shares in Saab. The deal was completed last month.
Saab sold just 39,000 cars globally last year, down from 94,000 a year earlier as the loss-making company decided to take nearly 20,000 units out of worldwide inventory last year, Jonsson said. The automaker plans to produce 50,000 to 60,000 vehicles this year, about two-thirds of those the Saab 9-3 compact executive car, and aims to reach levels of 120,000 by 2012, when it rolls out the new 9-3.
Jonsson said Saab would soon restart production and expected to ship the first units to the United States “in a couple of weeks.” Saab is taking over its dealers from GM, so its distribution channels remain “intact,” he said.