Saab Cars North America has replaced its chief operating officer as it struggles to rebuild the brand in the United States.
Matthias Seidl has been named interim chief operating officer for Saab's North American arm, effective immediately, the company said.
Seidl replaces Michael Colleran, who resigned to pursue further career opportunities, according to a statement issued by the automaker.
Saab has struggled since the automaker was purchased by Spyker Cars NV from General Motors Co. in February 2010. Early last year the company predicted it would sell 10,000 vehicles in the United States. However, the automaker ended 2010 with U.S. sales of 4,837 vehicles.
Globally, the automaker's production goal has been trimmed several times. Last spring, it announced plans to produce 50,000 vehicles. That number was reduced to 45,000 in August, then to 35,000 a short time later. It reduced its global production target to 30,000 units in October.
Seidl will take on temporary responsibility for Saab Cars North America in addition to his position as executive director of global sales for Saab Automobile. Saab Automobile expects to announce a new chief operating officer for Saab Cars North America soon, the company said.
Seidl has experience in the United States market, having spent several years as chief operating officer for Volkswagen of America in 2006 and 2007. Prior to that, Seidl held sales posts with Volkswagen and Audi.
Saab, in a statement, said Seidl has experience rebuilding a brand and can take Saab to the next level.
“We thank Michael Colleran for his service and assistance in rebuilding the Saab brand in North America and the Saab team wishes him the very best,” Jan Ake Jonsson, President and CEO of Saab Automobile AB, said in a statement.
Colleran was a vital part of our initial transition from General Motors where he spent the majority of his career, Saab said in the statement, adding “mutually acceptable terms were agreed upon to allow Mr. Colleran to pursue alternative career endeavors.”
Saab is in the middle of launching five all-new vehicles by 2013 – the most in the company's history.
Seidl, a German native and alumnus of Cass Business School, London, and Harvard University's Business School, joined Volkswagen AG in 1989 as an area manager in Belgium, Netherlands and Luxemburg.
He later held several senior executive positions in the sales organizations of VW and its Audi premium brand.
During 12 years at Audi, Seidl was a senior sales and marketing executive in the European and Asia-Pacific region prior to running the brand's North and South American sales region.