Normally the last President’s letter from the current issue of NINES would be in this position, however, that letter was written on December 1st (see the reprint here) and a great deal has changed since then.
At that time, all systems were on track for an orderly sale of SAAB Cars to Chinese partners, on December 19th, all of that changed. GM made the statement that they would not supply intellectual property nor support a sale to any Chinese entity. Understandably, that changed the playing field for the Chinese buyers and they pulled out of negotiations. So, faced with unpaid worker wages and a pile of outstanding debts, SAAB Cars filed for bankruptcy with the Swedish courts.
In the US, SAAB Cars North America is a separate entity from SAAB Cars. They chose not to file for any sort of bankruptcy and are working with a 3rd party administrator to ensure fair distribution of assets. I view this as a positive sign for current SAAB owners and the dealer body. This means there is hope for a plan to continue business in some manner.
Warranties have been suspended—not cancelled at this time. I know that the staff at SAAB Cars North America is working diligently to resolve this issue. GM has stated that they will be honoring warranties for vehicles sold prior to February 2010, but they are working out the details on how to administer this task. SAAB parts deliveries in the US have been halted, but again, work is being done to reopen the supply lines to the dealers. Unfortunately, for the short term, we must be patient as the details are worked out. This is an unpleasant situation for all of us, but I know people are working very hard to resolve things in the fairest manner possible.
Nobody likes that this happened, not the dealers, SAAB Cars North America staff, the Swedish workers, and most of all our SAAB owners. However, at this time, negotiations are taking place in Sweden with an emphasis in selling the business as a whole and I’m cautiously optimistic that we will once again see new SAABs produced.
SAAB Club of North America will be developing tools to help you as an owner find service and parts for your existing vehicles. Options will be posted on the website as we have information. If there is a need that you think we can assist with, please don’t hesitate to contact me via the club's contact page. I will do whatever I can to help you within my power. As a SAAB dealership owner as well as your club president, my promise to you is to personally help promote the brand and enhance your ownership experience.
President, Saab Club of North America