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Saab Contract Hire closed to new business

Date: 19 March 2009   |   Author: Tristan Young

Saab Contract Hire, the brand's in-house leasing firm, has closed its doors to new business.

The company is owned by Masterlease, the UK's sixth largest leasing firm, which in turn is part of General Motor's finance arm GMAC. Masterlease has also stopped quoting on Saabs.

In an official statement Masterlease said: "With immediate effect, Masterlease will no longer provide contract hire and leasing quotations on Saab vehicles through its own brand or through its Saab Contract Hire operation.

"This is due to the recent announcement by Saab AB (Sweden) to file for reorganisation, which is an alternative to an outright bankruptcy filing.

"All orders which had been confirmed by close of business on 20 February 2009 will be honoured and these vehicles will be processed and delivered as normal."

Saab Contract Hire also provides lease offers to the Swedish brand's dealer network.

Explaining the situation a Masterlease spokesman likened the situation to the last days of Rover: "This is because of the reorganisation, which is the Swedish equivalent of bankruptcy protection, at Saab. We suspended quoting on Rover once its viability was called into question.

"However, we will continue to honour the orders we've already got."

Commenting on the possibility of re-starting offering Saab contract hire rates he added: "I don't think it's automatic. It depends on what happens to Saab."

Despite Masterlease and Saab Contract Hire no longer offering Saabs, all the contract hire firms BusinessCar contacted were still offering rates on the firm's two-model 9-3 and 9-5 range.

David Brennan, boss of LeasePlan, said: "We're still offering Saabs, but we took them off for a week while we looked at what was going on."

Nigel Stead who runs Autolease and Lex said his two firms were still offering Saabs, although wasn't writing many contracts for them, "but we've peeled back residual values to a point where we are happy".