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.