Friday, 23 December 2011

Nervousness about access to licences stymied SAAB deal

Anyone with an interest in the automotive industry will have been watching with horrified fascination as SAAB moved inexorably towards bankruptcy. It had that sense of seeing a massive accident unfold in slow-motion. Various saviours were lined up, including latterly several Chinese companies: and it seems that SAAB's parent, of which a colleague once memorably remarked that he'd worked in the motor industry since General Motors was a corporal, was reluctant to let any of them have it because they would acquire licences to use GM technology. Here is the story on the Motor Trade Insider website, though it acknowledges that it came first from the BBC. Other media will no doubt have the same story.

A novel(ish) reason for a deal to fall through, and one that makes it even more regrettable that an innovative and long-established carmaker with an attractive line of products (I still have very fond memories of attending a SAAB day at Silverstone years ago, with Erik Carlsson and Barrie Williams as my chauffeurs in then-new 9000s) should have ended up as part of the GM behemoth in the first place. It has now ended in tears. It probably would have done anyway - but on the other hand an MG-style rescue might have been possible.

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