GM to extend most warranties for Saab
Message Posted: Dec 21, 2011 11:21:40 AM
Coverage halted for current models due to bankruptcy filing
By David Shepardson
Detroit News Washington Bureau
General Motors Co. said Tuesday it will extend warranty coverage to owners of thousands of Saab vehicles sold before February 2010, while Saab's North American board met to decide its next steps.
Saab North America, which is based in Royal Oak and has about 50 employees, said it is halting warranty coverage on current vehicles and models for sale at dealerships in the wake of Monday's bankruptcy filing by its parent Saab Automobile AB in Sweden.
Saab spokeswoman Michele Tinson said the company has also stopped dealer incentive payments for vehicles at showrooms. Only a few thousand Saab vehicles are at its 188 U.S. dealer showrooms.
GM spokesman Jim Cain said GM is working to notify Saab customers that it will step in.
"In the event Saab cannot or will not fulfill its obligations to administer the warranty programs with its U.S. and Canadian dealers through Saab Cars North America or otherwise, GM will take necessary steps to ensure that remaining warranty obligations on Saab vehicles marketed by GM in the United States and Canada will be honored," he said.
Saab has about 48,000 vehicles registered in the United States, GM said. Most of those would be covered by GM's warranties.
GM sold Saab to Dutch luxury automaker Spyker in February 2010, one of four brands it off-loaded in bankruptcy.
Saab North America's board of directors began meeting around noon Tuesday and was still meeting at 5 p.m, Tinson said.
The North American unit is still operating and hasn't filed for bankruptcy.
It's not clear what the company's next step will be.
A deal to sell Saab to Chinese investors was blocked by GM, which provided key technology to Saab and still holds preferred shares in the automaker.
GM refused to go along with the move, citing intellectual property concerns.
Absent a last-minute investment deal, Saab is likely to be liquidated.
Saab has built few cars since March and struggled to pay its bills.