LAS VEGAS – No sparks flew as Saab Cars North America met with dealers here to discuss where things stand with its bankrupt parent in Sweden.
“It was a very cordial meeting,” Timothy M. Colbeck, president and chief operating officer, tells WardsAuto at the National Automobile Dealers Assn. convention.
Retailers were promised the replacement-parts pipeline to North America will remain flowing during the bankruptcy process, Colbeck says, and that Saab Cars North America won’t challenge the dealer-body’s bankruptcy petition calling for continued backing of warranties for ’10-model-and-newer vehicles.
General Motors, which sold Saab to Spyker Cars CEO Victor Muller in 2010, has said it will honor warranties on models up to the ’09 model year.
The dealer petition also calls for Saab to subsidize some of the heavy discounting that likely will be needed to move the 2,200 cars in inventory in the U.S., but Colbeck says that issue was not resolved in today’s meeting.
There remains a slim chance Saab could be sold to another investor, the U.S. executive says. Reports last month suggested Turkish private-equity firm Brightwell Holdings was planning a bid for the company, and last week Reuters reported Chinese auto maker Zhejiang Youngman Lotus Automobile was offering $446 million for Saab.
But Colbeck is unable to confirm any details.
“The people in Sweden are being pretty guarded,” he says.
However, Saab reportedly has begun to sell off some assets piecemeal and has destroyed the final 100 cars or so that were working their way down the assembly line in Sweden when things ground to a halt.
Timing for a resolution remains unclear.
“It’s in the courts, so it is hard to say,” Colbeck says. “(But) we’re trying to do the right thing here for the brand. We’re trying to work toward the best possible solution.”