For more than a decade, Tony Malouf has been general manager of the nation's biggest Saab dealership. Now he's got a big problem.
Saab of Troy, in suburban Detroit and part of the 11-dealership Elder Automotive Group, was sitting on about 60 Saabs as of last week, with another 50 or so in his loaner fleet, Malouf said. That's roughly $4 million worth of inventory.
In his office off the store's sleek showroom -- filled with Christmas wreaths and gleaming 2011 Saabs but devoid of customers -- Malouf tried to stay positive even as the Swedish automaker slides toward a likely liquidation.
"We're open for business," said Malouf, who sold two cars early last week despite the drumbeat of bad news after Saab's Dec. 19 bankruptcy filing. "We've seen interest go up because many people see it as the last chance to buy a Saab."
Last week Saab suspended warranty coverage on all vehicles sold in North America as of Dec. 19, instructing dealers to sell the cars "as is." And it's suspending the processing and payment of all warranty claims. General Motors, Saab's former owner, said it would honor warranties on all models sold before February 2010, when GM sold Saab to Victor Muller's Spyker Cars NV.