FRANKFURT -- Saab's fully owned national sales companies in Europe will be combined with Opel's as part of a cost-cutting drive at General Motors' troubled Swedish subsidiary.
Saab sales and marketing organizations in Germany, Switzerland, the UK, France, Italy, Finland and Denmark will be merged with Opel's "as soon as possible," a senior GM Europe manager said.
Sources say that the integration of all seven national sales units could result in up to 100 job losses.
The move is part of Saab's Viggen turnaround plan launched last autumn. GM previously confirmed that Saab's engineering operations would be integrated with Opel's.
No changes are planned in countries where Saab uses private importers. Distribution is already integrated in Austria, Turkey, Russia and Japan. In Norway and Sweden, Opel distribution is part of local Saab organization.
The speed of the integration will depend on the country. In France, the Opel and Saab national sales companies are already located in the same building. In Italy, Switzerland and Germany they are in different locations.
In Germany, Saab distribution will move from Bad Homburg to Opel headquarters in Rüsselsheim.
All back-office functions, including finance, administration, personnel, spare parts supply and logistics, will be merged, sources say. But brand-exclusive staff will handle dealer relations.
"Separate departments will remain for dealer network development for each brand," a GM source said. "This is important to protect brand integrity."
Sources say GM's Daewoo sales organization will not be integrated for now.