DETROIT -- General Motors and its Saab unit have agreed to share technology for at least the next five years. The arrangement is designed to make Saab more attractive to potential buyers, which is key to winning loan money from the Swedish government.
GM will let Saab use its global platforms, components and other systems in exchange for Saabs safety, chassis and engine technology, Jan-Willem Vester, Saab spokesman, said today.
The agreement comes in the wake of GMs Feb. 17 viability plan to the U.S. Treasury Department. In that report, GM said Saab would separate from GM in January 2010.
Fritz Henderson got a question: Would Saab still be allowed to tap into GMs technology? and he answered positively, Vester said. Dont expect it to end abruptly anytime soon because Saab is launching several new products and will need to depend on several of GM components and systems.
Saab plans to launch three new vehicles over the next 18 months, Vester said. Saab will get an all-new 9-5 sedan, a new 9-4 crossover and the 9-3X, an all-wheel-drive sport wagon. The 9-3X will hold its North American debut at the New York auto show in April, Vester said.
GM has pledged to support Saab with $400 million, but Saab executives are currently courting outside investors, Vester says. Saab needs additional funding to market and launch its new products and to make the brand salable, he says. The Swedish government is agreeable to helping support Saab but has said any financial aid is contingent on GM being able to attract a new owner for Saab.
The Swedish government has said, Were not interested in owning Saab, Vester says.
Saab employs about 5,000 people in Sweden. There are another 15,000 people indirectly associated with the brand.
The brands global sales plummeted to 93,925 vehicles in 2008, down 25.2 percent from 2007. In the U.S., Saab sales plunged to 21,368 vehicles in 2008, down 34.7 percent from 2007.