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March 24, 2003

GERMANY: Saab national sales operations to merge with Opel’s – report

Saab's fully owned national sales companies in Europe will be combined with Opel's as part of a cost-cutting drive at General Motors' troubled Swedish subsidiary, Automotive News reported. Citing a a senior GM Europe manager, the trade newspaper said Saab sales and marketing organizations in Germany, Switzerland, the UK, France, Italy, Finland and Denmark will be merged with Opel's "as soon as possible."

By bcusack

Saab’s fully owned national sales companies in Europe will be combined with Opel’s as part of a cost-cutting drive at General Motors’ troubled Swedish subsidiary, Automotive News reported.

Citing a a senior GM Europe manager, the trade newspaper said Saab sales and marketing organizations in Germany, Switzerland, the UK, France, Italy, Finland and Denmark will be merged with Opel’s “as soon as possible.”

Automotive News said sources have told it that the integration of all seven national sales units could result in up to 100 job losses.

The newspaper said the move is part of Saab’s Viggen turnaround plan launched last autumn. GM previously confirmed that Saab’s engineering operations would be integrated with Opel’s.

No changes are planned in countries where Saab uses private importers, the reports added, noting that distribution is already integrated in Austria, Turkey, Russia and Japan. In Norway and Sweden, Opel distribution is part of local Saab organisation.

Automotive News said the speed of the integration will depend on the country. In France, the Opel and Saab national sales companies are already located in the same building but in Italy, Switzerland and Germany they are in different locations.

In Germany, Saab distribution will move from Bad Homburg to Opel headquarters in Rüsselsheim, Automotive News said.

Sources told the newspaper that all back-office functions, including finance, administration, personnel, spare parts supply and logistics, will be merged but brand-exclusive staff will handle dealer relations.

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