GM mulls sale of Saab to Beijing Auto

The days of the Saab brand might be over soon, as BusinessWeek reports that General Motors is considering closing down the brand and selling several major pieces to the Chinese automaker Beijing Automotive Industry Holding.

The move comes a week after General Motors saw a potential deal to sell Saab to a joint partnership of the Koenigsegg Group and Beijing Auto fall through after the Koenigsegg Group withdrew their interest. However, Beijing Auto still appears to be interested in several parts of Saab, including assets such as production machinery, and appears to be looking complete a deal sooner rather than later.

Anonymous sources told BusinessWeek that both Merbanco and Renco Group have approached GM about purchasing the Swedish-based Saab. GM has recently rejected an attempt by Beijing Auto to buy its Opel brand and shelved the Saturn brand after a deal with the Penske Automotive Group fell through.

Auto supplier consolidation seen in 2010

According to Reuters, panelists at the Reuters Auto Summit in Detroit this week agreed that the excess capacity seen by the major auto suppliers will lead to increased consolidation within the market in 2010.

“There are too many suppliers,” Earl Hesterberg, chief executive of auto retailer Group One said at the summit. “The longer this market stays at 10, 11 even 12 million units, it will put financial pressure on suppliers and drive consolidation.”

Panelists also agreed that the U.S. Government stopped a possible “tsunami” by providing government-assisted bankruptcy protection for General Motors and Chrysler. However, industry experts predict that companies that have been barely able to stay afloat in 2009 might be unable to sustain themselves in 2010 and become targets for consolidation.

GM’s Draggin Wagon

Comfort, convenience, style, and speed; America has a hot new hatchback……Sort of…

Since the 2005 model year, the HHR (GM speak for Heritage High Roof) has been gaining ground with people looking for more versatility and style for a day to day commuter.

However, the HHR has, as of yet, been anything but a sporty model. The hottest engine choice being the 2.4 litre twin cam mill producing 175 BHP, and 165 lb./ft. of torque, the HHR held the blandness of the “styled by the same guy” PT Cruiser.  Even the HHR Panel, which has been well received by small business in need of an economic courier, has yet to stir the loins of the tuner faithful.

GM front man Robert Lutz has made a habit out of injecting performance even in the lowliest econoboxes, and this event is no different. Using the LNF Ecotec Turbo I-4 from the Pontiac Solstice GXP, and Saturn Sky Redline, GM has infused 260 horsepower and 260 lb./ft. of torque channeled through a 5 speed manual.

This puts the quirky styling of the HHR and mates it to the high end tuner world of the Cobalt SS. Now suburban housewives, and upstart business owners can rocket down the road with the speed of a C4 Corvette or run an impromptu  race with any riced out WRX they happen to find.

While using the same engine and transmission setup as the Cobalt SS, some of the techno goodies come along for the ride. So now, while hauling a load of groceries, or a set of wheels for your customers new whip; you can blast through the gears without lifting, or play with the launch control feature for a quick light to light jaunt.

Whether the HHR’s styling in Panel or standard, and the infusion of power will steal more customers from their SUV’s is unknown; yet I’ll say I love the idea and would love an HHR Panel for a daily driver.