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GM UK Fleet: Chevrolet stays but Saab to go

Date: 22 September 2009   |   Author: Tristan Young Paul Barker

Chevrolet is set to stay with GM UK Fleet once various other parts of General Motors' empire are sold, while Saab will set out on its own within months provided the deal with fellow Swedish firm Koenigsegg goes through as expected.

GM has confirmed plans to sell a majority 55% share of its European operation - Vauxhall and Opel - to Canadian car parts firm Magna, retaining a 35% stake. The other 10% should be taken by GM workers. However, that leaves a question mark over the relationship between GM UK Fleet and Saab and Chevrolet, both currently part of the UK operation alongside Vauxhall.

BusinessCar understands GM would look to sign a service level agreement with Magna that would see Chevrolet stay part of GM UK Fleet, as the economies of scale would be beneficial to all parties and there's little crossover between Chevrolet and Vauxhall. But this won't be confirmed until Magna concludes its acquisition, currently being scrutinised by European and German authorities with hopes for completion by the end of 2009. "It's business as usual for the foreseeable future," said a GM spokesman.

Saab is a different case, though, with the new owners keen to set up as a stand-alone brand as soon as possible, as long as the funding is found to complete the deal. Saab MD Jan Ake Jonsson said there were service agreements in place with GM ready to keep Saab operating immediately after the sale is completed.

"Distribution and IT are on interim agreements, then there's components supply on longer agreements," he said. Explaining how long it would be before Saab had a separate sales firm in the UK, Jonsson said: "The shortest SLA is a couple of months."

As BusinessCar went to press reports were circulating that the finalisation of the funding for Saab's sale to Koenigsegg was being put in place.