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Wednesday, December 21, 2011

A shy light of hope ... GM's licensed technolgy in Saab

This might sound too enthusiastic and close to naive, but even after declared and approved bankruptcy of Saab, there is a very small chance that "things" are not finished yet.

Rachel Pang, the CEO of Youngman, the hottest prospect in buying Saab is today in Trollhattan and is trying to solve the situation.

What would mean if Youngman would buy Saab ? The biggest hurdle is GM which protects it's copyrights / technology licences. One option is to try to go without them in the race for prosperity. So where are they and what for are they ?

- they are in the new 9-5. That would mean a full stop.
- the same applies for 9-4X
- for some (for me unknown) reasons it doesn't apply for 9-3 (sedan, combi) and 9-3X
- it doesn't apply for the new PhoeniX platform or the 10% of technologies can be replaced by others

So that would mean "only" 9-3 and development of PhoeniX into a finished product, which sources say would take 1-2 years. That wouldn't be a bad start !

One very interesting text came in discussions on coming from a french forum. It describes where the GM technologies are in Saab. It's rather a sad reading by finding out, that many of them were developed in Saab, but registered as GMs intellectual property :

1) The 9-4X is the basis of the Cadillac SRX, and not vice versa. The platform was developed by an engineer at Saab, the well known Peter Dörrich. The patents are owned by GM. Regarding the 9-5, most of the technical innovations also used in the Opel Insignia, and in some Chevrolet and Cadillac, are the result of work of engineers and Mat, Fägerhag and Stefan Rundquist, researchers at Saab.
2) The drive system (XWD) is a collaboration between the Swedish Haldex (which is to sell its transmission to the U.S. BorgWarner) and Saab, the patent is owned by GM.
3) Technology Biopower (flexfuel) is also an invention of Saab Powertrain, the brilliant engineer Kjell Bergström from Saab. Patents (including Trionic, Direct Ignition, etc.). Unfortunately owned by GM.
4) The developing hybrid powertrains are also the result of Saabs brains, including Tommy Lindholm. Patents owned by GM.
5) The Ecotec engine that equips some Saab, Cadillac, Chevrolet and Opel is the result of collaboration between a research department Saab, and GM Europe design office, which include Opel. Patents owned by GM.
6) The design of internal parts and body come from the office of Saab design, by Simon Padian, Anthony Lo (now Renault), etc.. Patents owned by GM.
This list is not complete.

Sad reading, isn't it ? This seems to be just a part of the things developed by Saab, owned by GM and one of the main reasons, why Saab is now bankrupt. 

Let's see what happens.


  1. It seem like GM succeded in selling SAAB and keeping what' valuable. I still can't figure out why they went along with the purchase on such shakey grounds.It seem to me that the contract basically gives GM the rights to with draw the licenses if there is ANY conflicting interest (which means that they sell cars there). The only place they don't drive GM cars is propably Antarctica. In retrospect it's quite clear that GM had no intention to cooperate from the start. What we see is something that was planned the same day the contract was signed. Still it seem to me that if Youngman want's to by the company without GM interference and SAAB's brain children , the technology licenses - who can stop them. Aren't the the receivers obligated to sell to the highest "serious" bidder. And on apersonal not I would like to add that you list only shoes what a useless company GM is aside from the undisputable shark mentality they posess.

  2. Are there some Saab's brain children or they are mostly gone to other companies ? Without GM's interference means only 9-3 from the current models, which needs some modifications to get rid of GM's IP. F.e. that would mean only diesel and only manual. At least for the start. Well, i don't know, if this is a good idea.

    re : Aren't the the receivers obligated to sell to the highest "serious" bidder. IMO the receivers in the first line have to sell it in a model to fulfill requirements of the creditors. In the second line it has to be a serious bidder. They ensure on press conferences, that their intend is to sell it to someone promising continue of production. Other thing is, if it can be realized at all.