Terms of the Saab sale to Koenigsegg are beginning to emerge, but what is the future of the new 9-5 and the Quant?
After the February announcement that General Motors was planning on dumping Saab, the American parent appears to have come to terms with a suitor. supercar manufacturer Koenigsegg has agreed to take on the Swedish brand.
Both parties have signed a memorandum of understanding, with anticipation of the deal closing by the end of September. Terms of the deal include $600 million in financing provided by the European Investment Bank, and secured by the Swedish government.
Saab operations will continue in full, thanks to funding from both Koenigsegg and GM. Because of this, Saab intends to continue with the launch of "several new products that are in the final stages of development." In addition to GM continuing to provide platforms for the time being, Saab plans on building the next generation Saab 9-5 in Trollhättan, Sweden. The new 9-5 is due for a Frankfurt introduction later this year. The larger 9-5 should be about six inches longer, with a wide variety of powerful engines, all-wheel drive, and LED taillights.
What is uncertain is if these future plans include bringing the Koenigsegg Quant electric concept closer towards production. Koenigsegg is believed to be excited about the 500 kilometer-range vehicle's potential, especially considering its reported recharge time of 20 minutes.
The supercar manufacturer also plans to ramp up Saab production to 150,000 units per year by 2011, up from 20,000. That reason alone could have been enough to win the backing of the Swedish government, as jobs that could have been at risk now have a better chance of being safeguarded, provided the outcome of Saab's in-court reorganization.
With this sale moving forward, Koenigsegg will be keen to avoid mistakes made by other manufacturers in the past. The merger between Daimler and Chrysler saw the combination of a performance vehicle automaker with a volume seller. Significant problems arose when the German car company showed strong reluctance at sharing technology with their high-volume American counterpart.
Of the deal, Saab Managing Director Jan Åke Jonsson said, "Today's announcement is great news for Saab's current and future customers, dealers, suppliers and employees around the globe."