DETROIT -- General Motors wants its 220 U.S. Saab dealerships to sign a proposed agreement by Friday to prepare for the likely sale of the Swedish brand.
But these proposals are no guarantee that all Saab dealerships will get to stay in business even if GM completes the sale. The proposed agreement, which GM sent to Saab dealerships on Friday, June 12, will allow for two possibilities:
The first would be continuing to sell Saabs under the new ownership.
The second would occur if GM cant close a deal on Saab. The dealerships would then follow an orderly wind down and GM would offer a payout.
Theres no guarantee all dealers will go forward because the new company might say, I see you have 220 dealerships, and we only need x number, said Steve Shannon, executive director of product and marketing for Cadillac, Hummer and Saab. It says you might continue to be a Saab dealer and adopted by the new owner.
Shannon says the importance of the U.S. dealer network has been recognized by interested investors from the beginning and the number of Saab dealerships in the U.S., at least at first glace, seems reasonable.
GM is close to selling Saab to Swedish luxury sports carmaker Koenigsegg, Reuters reported last week. Shannon declined to comment on that report or on whether Koenigsegg was an interested party.
Saab said today it is likely to announce its new owner this week and that three-quarters of its creditors had agreed to a proposed write-down of the money-losing brand's debt.
A Saab spokeswoman said an announcement should come soon. "I think that during this week, chances are good. It could be anytime now," the spokeswoman, Gunilla Gustavs, said.
Saab sought protection from creditors in Sweden in February. It has been granted an extension of its business reorganization until Aug. 20 to restructure and find a new owner.
Shannon said Saab has a short list of three potential investors. He said if GM sells Saab, the U.S. arm would be a distribution network and likely remain located in Detroit initially.
Shannon said if dealerships opt to not sign the GM agreement, they would not be eligible for wind-down payments if GM cant sell Saab.
Reuters contributed to this report