Saab CEO Moves On After Company Loses $300 Million In First Year of Independence

#Saab

The Saab brand has been through a roller coaster of emotions over the past several years, and the automaker's most recent announcements appear to mirror that sentiment. Today, president and CEO Jan Ake Jonsson announced his retirement following the company's $308 million fiscal-year loss.

"I have been with Saab Automobile for almost my entire career of 40 years, almost six years of which as the head of Saab Automobile. The last three years have been very demanding and forced me to focus on one thing only -- my work," Jonsson said in a prepared release. "Now is time for me to also spend some time on other things that had to stand back for my duties to Saab Automobile."

Officially stepping down on September 1st, Jonnson plans a gradual transition giving the automaker time to find a replacement. Chairman of the board Victor Muller will assume the role of interim CEO until a suitable replacement can be found.

"We have already accomplished so many things that many thought were impossible," stated Jonsson. "I am convinced that Saab Automobile is on the right track toward replacing the entire product portfolio by October 2012 -- when the next generation 9-3 will be launched -- as well as creating a stand-alone company with a financially sound business model."

Now past its first full year of independence from GM, Saab is working toward becoming a profitable company again. However, 2010 wasn't too kind to the Swedish carmaker. Although it recorded a 15-percent uptick in sales over 2009, Saab still struggled with a fiscal-year loss totaling $308 million. The automaker sold just shy of 32,000 cars last year, but has plans to increase sales to around 80,000 globally for 2011. Critics argue the optimistic forecast and believe that just 60,000 to 65,000 in sales are possible.

Do you think Saab is capable of reaching its goal of selling 80,000 units this year, or does will its all-new portfolio be needed to accomplish such a task? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

GoldTrader
As long as school teachers who know nothing about cars, buy cars, Saab will have customers.
Grant
Sad to say, I agree with Olaf. I love saabs and have owned 4 of them and I still drive my 9-3 today. Excellent cars, and I'd take one over a BMW, Audi, or Benz any day. But the truth is, the general public doesn't see Saab as worthy, because the more commonly known brands cover up its hidden glory. I think Saab will be successful, eventually, but it's going to take a lot of work, money, and redesigning to shift the average consumer's pessimistic mindset towards Saab. God help the Saab and the Swedes. LONG LIVE SAAB
Olaf
The new 9-5, while a competent car, can't compete head to head at its current pricing level. I don't believe they will achieve anywhere near their goal. They need a Saab spin on a sports car that will lure crowds. Their show car points the way.

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