Date: Thu, 28 Nov 2002 14:14:12 -0400
From: J Dexter <>
Subject: Re: News from Saab / Factory / Financial /Job Cuts

Salutations: Hey - GM Europe President Michael Burns and butthead - re-introduce the rally and race program and start kicking some ass! Hell, I've challenged some local SUV drives for a slalom run next real ice storm here in a local Walmart parking lot and have about 60 folks willing to turn up just to watch.. J Dexter - webmaster - All tunes no cookies no ads no news no weather no phone in All the Time.. Once was Bob wrote: > > Here's an article that ran in the NY times today on Saab's troubles: > > You can find it at the NY Times in original format, subscription is > required but FREE. > > Bob > -- > > > > GM's Saab to Cut 1, 300 Jobs in Overhaul > By REUTERS > > Filed at 12:19 p.m. ET > > FRANKFURT (Reuters) - General Motors Corp's loss-making Saab unit said > on Wednesday it would to cut 20 percent of its workforce, or about > 1,300 jobs, in an overhaul aimed at improving the Swedish car maker's > financial situation from 2003. > > Saab said the job cuts, mainly in southern Sweden, would be > accompanied by a streamlining of its engineering organization and > cooperation on cost cuts with other GM units in a bid to improve > efficiency in all areas of the business. > > ``The aggressive efficiency program presented today aims at enabling > the company to substantially improve the financial situation beginning > in 2003,'' said Saab. > > Saab Automobile chief Peter Augustsson declined to say when he > expected the unit to be profitable and said Saab would post a > ``substantial loss'' this year. Some analysts predict an operating > loss of about 500 million euros. > > The restructuring plan has been dubbed Viggen -- the Swedish word for > Thunderbolt and the name of a fighter jet once built by Saab Aerospace > -- to underscore the urgency of GM's desire to repair a key component > of its European operations, which are struggling against a weakening > market and fierce competition. > > Production capacity is now outstripping demand in Europe by 30 > percent, forcing downsizing actions among other car makers, including > Fiat Auto, which is 20 percent owned by GM. > > Saab Automobile blamed start up costs for its new 9-3 saloon, > investments in its main Trollhattan plant and a deteriorating dollar > exchange rate to the Swedish crown for a first half loss of $131.4 > million. > > Saab employs 6,600 people in Sweden plus a further 3,000 or so in > joint ventures and non-Swedish sales operations. > > Augustsson said the cuts would save Saab 50-60 million euros in wage > costs but declined to say what they would cost in terms of severance. > The southern Swedish city of Trollhattan will take the brunt of the > job losses. > > The measures, which Saab hopes will boost productivity by 20 percent > in manufacturing include 800 job cuts in production, 450 in the > engineering organization and 50 in sales and marketing. > > TIRED BRAND > > Saab, whose brand has lost some of the cachet it enjoyed among young > urban professionals in the late 1980s, has posted a financial loss in > 10 of the last 12 years and last reported profits in 1994 and 1995 > after the launch of a revamped 900 car. > > Analysts are cautious about Saab's chances of a quick recovery but say > the brand still has potential for GM as a premium European product. > > ``From an image point of view, Saab is important for GM Europe,'' said > Michael Raab, an analyst at Sal Oppenheim. > > However, it is up against tough competition not only from local rival > Volvo, and the U.K's Jaguar, both members of the Ford family, but also > from German luxury giants Mercedes BMW and Audi. > > ``I am modest -- I don't think we will in two or three years be up > there with the likes of Audi and BMW,'' Augustsson said. > > ``It will be a long time, but it is a guiding star.'' > > The unit hopes new versions of the new 9-3, including a station wagon > and convertible, will help to boost revenues and return Saab to > profitability. Yet Saab plans to slash investment in new products to > 5-6 percent of revenues from 11 percent. > > The Swedish unit has already cut its unit sales target for this year > to 125,000-130,000 from a previous goal of 140,000 and aims to sell > around 200,000 vehicles per year by about 2005. > > ANOTHER GM HEADACHE > > GM Europe, which also includes the Vauxhall and Opel brands, also in > the midst of a restructuring, has already said it will miss this > year's target of halving its full year loss to $350 euros from last > year. Analysts also say GM Europe's target of breaking even next year > now look ambitious. > > ``We know over the last five years (GM) have focused their resources > on trucks, and they have done really an oustanding job. In doing that, > they have neglected some of their car programs,'' said Darren Kimball > at Lehman Brothers in the U.S. > > According to data from European carmakers association ACEA, GM's > western European market share has slipped to 9.9 percent in the first > 10 months of the year from 10.9 percent in the same period a year ago > and Saab's share is unchanged at 0.5 percent. > > ``In view of the aggressive action plan .... we are confident that the > company is now on the right track,'' said GM Europe President Michael > Burns in a statement. > > Sweden has suffered from heavy job losses recently including 36,000 > since the start of last year at telecom equipment giant Ericsson > alone. > > News of the Saab cutbacks prompted Swedish Employment Minister Hans > Karlsson to say: ``First and foremost I feel for those private > individuals who are at risk of losing their jobs. It will also have a > negative effect on the communities and the nearby regions.'' > > >

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