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SAAB F1?


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#1 Duck of Death

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Posted 08 January 2010 - 07:36

Formula 1 tycoon Bernie Ecclestone is part of a bid to take over struggling Swedish car maker Saab, it has emerged.

The billionaire has teamed up with the Luxembourg-based investment company Genii Capital, which recently invested in Renault's racing team.

Saab has been put up for sale by owner GM as part of a major restructuring operation, and a bid deadline passed on Thursday.

Ecclestone, 79, told the Bloomberg news agency: "It's a good brand.

"It's a good brand that has probably been neglected by the current owners. We don't own it yet, so let's see what happens."

Genii added that it "will aggressively work towards a successful closing of the transaction with all the relevant stakeholders of the company".

The extent of Ecclestone's involvement in the bid has not been revealed. He is reportedly worth around 3.7bn dollars (£2.3bn).

An offer for 62-year-old Saab has also come in from Dutch bespoke car maker Spyker.

"We believe the Saab brand has lots of potential and would be keen to close a deal as quickly as possible," its chief executive Victor Muller said.

GM's interim CEO, Ed Whitacre said earlier this week he was not confident a deal could be reached.


Could we see Renault become Saab in the near future???

Edited by Duck of Death, 08 January 2010 - 07:39.


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#2 Tomerell

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Posted 08 January 2010 - 07:44

Now that would be interesting twist. Renault to SAAB. The Swedish car maker has had involvement in rallying in the past, but F1 would be totally new territory.
To me SAAB has mostly had a reputation of a good quality family car, so it would require quite a bit of promoting to switch the brand to F1. Good luck if this is ever going to happend :up:

#3 Richard T

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Posted 08 January 2010 - 08:10

I acctually thaught about that yesterday when i read that Genii was one of the bidders, but it was new to me that BE was a part of it, Positive and exiting i think!

#4 Sammyosammy

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Posted 08 January 2010 - 08:30

Saab in F1??? :rotfl:

Better bury the car line and stick to planes..

I´m quite sure Bernie hasn´even touched a Saab ever..

(unlike me, driven my first years with some)

#5 FredrikB

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Posted 08 January 2010 - 08:47

Wow. I really hope this will come true.

Maybe the problem with some Saabs where the fact that they where built in Finlandia (or whas that what they had in their coffee). ;-)

#6 Enkei

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Posted 08 January 2010 - 08:50

Spyker, the former F1 team and Dutch supercar manufacturer, is also bidding for a take over.

#7 Captain Tightpants

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Posted 08 January 2010 - 08:59

Saab F1?

Sorry, but I'm not seeing it. It'd be like Reliant F1 or Dacia F1 or Trabant F1 - totally out of place.

#8 Rob

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Posted 08 January 2010 - 09:01

How can Ecclestone be completely impartial in F1 when he's doing business deals with the owner of one of the teams?

#9 FredrikB

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Posted 08 January 2010 - 09:08

Saab F1?

Sorry, but I'm not seeing it. It'd be like Reliant F1 or Dacia F1 or Trabant F1 - totally out of place.

You are a SAAB expert i can se.. :drunk:

#10 Captain Tightpants

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Posted 08 January 2010 - 09:17

You are a SAAB expert i can se.. :drunk:

I'm not saying SAAB are like those manufacturers, but that a SAAB F1 entry would be as out of place as they would be.

Besides, the way the Genii-Renault deal is structured, it seems to be Renault's intention to buy the team back once the global economy stabilises.

#11 jokuvaan

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Posted 08 January 2010 - 09:17

Saab will take part in motorsport only if road car tech is used, like in the old rally when there were no special cars allowed. I think same goes to many other automakers too, it has to be relevant.

Edited by jokuvaan, 08 January 2010 - 10:37.


#12 Beej

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Posted 08 January 2010 - 09:24

How can Ecclestone be completely impartial in F1 when he's doing business deals with the owner of one of the teams?


Thought the same when he partnered Flav in buying QPR. Although he does not own the team, at the time he was still the team principle

#13 taran

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Posted 08 January 2010 - 09:26

Let's see....Saab hasn't made a profit since 2001 and it had to be rescued by GM before that. Its cars are rebranded Opels and Subaru's. Its once innovative and cool image has been watered down to nothingness.

The last thing it needs is a costly F1 program,especially if success won't help them sell more cars. Saab F1 makes as much sense as Spyker F1.......

And with Renault still part of the Genii deal, it can't be morphed into a Saab outfit either.

Don't see it happening, especially if Bernie would actually have to pay GM to get Saab. When has he ever paid for anything?

#14 Lifew12

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Posted 08 January 2010 - 09:28

Spyker, the former F1 team and Dutch supercar manufacturer, is also bidding for a take over.


Not any more it's not, they pulled out ages ago.

#15 FredrikB

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Posted 08 January 2010 - 09:34

I'm not saying SAAB are like those manufacturers, but that a SAAB F1 entry would be as out of place as they would be.

Before GM got their hands on SAAB they where an innovative car maker where brilliant engineers where allowed to make exciting cars. Thats an ideal candidate for F1 IMHO. And they used to race too.

But that has all changed with GM i guess..
My wife had a 9-5 from 2007. Worst "new" car i have ever driven. So old..

#16 Captain Tightpants

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Posted 08 January 2010 - 09:40

Before GM got their hands on SAAB they where an innovative car maker where brilliant engineers where allowed to make exciting cars. Thats an ideal candidate for F1 IMHO. And they used to race too.

Yeah, but as has been said, SAAB will only take part if road car technology is used, of Formula One technology can be devloped for road cars. The last time someone did that - BMW with KERS - it ended in tears. We don't need another manufacturer who is more interested in developing technology than actually racing.

#17 jeze

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Posted 08 January 2010 - 09:50

Well, Saab will be pretty much dead within one year, and even if Bernie takes it over, I can't see it coming to Formula 1. The only thing it could do is to possdibly save some jobs in Trollhättan in western Sweden, but I would never touch a car manfacturer that has gone straigt downhill.

#18 Owen

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Posted 08 January 2010 - 09:55

I don't think this is about Saab F1.
This is a Bernie (ie money) thing, not an F1 thing.
I think we're adding 2 and 2 and making 5 here.

#19 Rainer Nyberg

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Posted 08 January 2010 - 09:56

Let's see....Saab hasn't made a profit since 2001 and it had to be rescued by GM before that. Its cars are rebranded Opels and Subaru's. Its once innovative and cool image has been watered down to nothingness.


Let's see...this sounds like incompetent ownership.
Whatever the problems are or has been, the finger always points at GM.


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#20 Connectimages

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Posted 08 January 2010 - 09:58

How can Ecclestone be completely impartial in F1 when he's doing business deals with the owner of one of the teams?


Sorry but who ever said Bernie Ecclestone wasn't bias or impartial he's not the FIA he is the promoter and a businessman, hes got to be careful to show all teams hes doing a good job for them but hes basically free to do what he likes.

#21 Gilles4Ever

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Posted 08 January 2010 - 10:00

This thread is for discussing SAAB and a possible involvement in F1. For discussions of it as a car company go here http://forums.autosp...howtopic=121602

#22 Mansell4PM

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Posted 08 January 2010 - 10:04

If SAAB are to be purchased from GM, will they still be allowed to use GM's engines/drivetrains/floorpans as they partially do at the moment? If not, will they be looking to partner with another manufacturer? Maybe Renault (and by extension, Nissan)? SAAB's range could only be said to perhaps overlap Renault's a little, so they're not really a competitor .....

If SAAB are in such dire financial straits as some are painting they will need either new owners with bottomless pockets or a tie-up with another manufacturer.

SAAB/Renault F1 could be the tip of a marketing strategy in such a circumstance.

Fanciful? Probably - but such a thing COULD be behind what's going on.

#23 Duck of Death

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Posted 08 January 2010 - 10:07

I don't think this is about Saab F1.
This is a Bernie (ie money) thing, not an F1 thing.
I think we're adding 2 and 2 and making 5 here.


I'm not so sure, when the hear of the commercial side of F1 and a 75% team owner (a team thats looking for an out anyway) buy a car company id of thoght that it was a real posiability.
Even if it's just a renault with a saab sticker on it - Lets face it the Mercedes is just a Ilmor with a sticker!

#24 Duck of Death

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Posted 08 January 2010 - 10:08

If SAAB are to be purchased from GM, will they still be allowed to use GM's engines/drivetrains/floorpans as they partially do at the moment? If not, will they be looking to partner with another manufacturer? Maybe Renault (and by extension, Nissan)? SAAB's range could only be said to perhaps overlap Renault's a little, so they're not really a competitor .....

If SAAB are in such dire financial straits as some are painting they will need either new owners with bottomless pockets or a tie-up with another manufacturer.

SAAB/Renault F1 could be the tip of a marketing strategy in such a circumstance.

Fanciful? Probably - but such a thing COULD be behind what's going on.


On Road cars Saab use their own engines and vaxhaull floors, in F1 id imagine it would be a renault engine or they might have to down the Cosworth route

#25 Romulus

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Posted 08 January 2010 - 10:16

I think SAAB can produce cool cars.

Posted Image

#26 Mansell4PM

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Posted 08 January 2010 - 10:25

I think SAAB can produce cool cars.

Posted Image


Imagine that with some of the engineering from a Nissan GT-R under the skin.

Instantly (in industry terms), SAAB would have a stylish, technologically advanced and thoroughly engineered GT car. Last minute engine changes can be successful (Brawn, anyone?).

That's what the tie-up with Renault/Nissan that I alluded to could potentially result in.

SAAB F1 car with a Renault/Nissan engine, to complement a range of road cars with the same tie-up? It could happen.

#27 Fatgadget

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Posted 08 January 2010 - 10:26

How on earth can a manufacturer like SAAB buck the trend and be able to afford F1 in this current climate?

Edited by Fatgadget, 08 January 2010 - 10:26.


#28 JPW

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Posted 08 January 2010 - 10:26

I don't think this is about Saab F1.
This is a Bernie (ie money) thing, not an F1 thing.
I think we're adding 2 and 2 and making 5 here.

Exactly, this is purely a "money thing" for both GenII and Bernie, nothing to do with F1.

BTW contrary to earlier information Spyker did make a new offer for Saab yesterday too.

Spyker submits fresh offer for GM's Saab



#29 jokuvaan

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Posted 08 January 2010 - 10:45

If SAAB are to be purchased from GM, will they still be allowed to use GM's engines/drivetrains/floorpans as they partially do at the moment?

Yes, Saab will keep on using them and Saab keeps on making R&D for GM like it has past 10 years. Some smaller parts will be changed to different subcontractor as Saab can get them in better price. Engineering and production is way more expensive in Germany than in Sweden.

#30 Rob

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Posted 08 January 2010 - 10:50

Sorry but who ever said Bernie Ecclestone wasn't bias or impartial he's not the FIA he is the promoter and a businessman, hes got to be careful to show all teams hes doing a good job for them but hes basically free to do what he likes.


He's on the FIA World Motorsport Council. As long as he maintains this position, he can't have conflicts of interest, which he quite clearly has.

#31 Morbus

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Posted 08 January 2010 - 10:53

Now that would be interesting twist. Renault to SAAB. The Swedish car maker has had involvement in rallying in the past, but F1 would be totally new territory.
To me SAAB has mostly had a reputation of a good quality family car, so it would require quite a bit of promoting to switch the brand to F1. Good luck if this is ever going to happend :up:

Because family sedans are a reflection of F1 cars? Huh, wait, I know what you mean!!! Because road car quality is a reflection of F1 car quality! No, that's not it either... Then, is it because the cooler a road car is the better its F1 counterpart is? Nah...

What the hell do you mean?

#32 Baddoer

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Posted 08 January 2010 - 10:53

Good news indeed

#33 Duck of Death

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Posted 08 January 2010 - 10:58

He's on the FIA World Motorsport Council. As long as he maintains this position, he can't have conflicts of interest, which he quite clearly has.


So Was Jean Todt when he was Ferrari Team Boss

#34 One

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Posted 08 January 2010 - 11:19

Jean to take over Ferrari? Never never...

Saab has this aero branch, or parts that makes fighters. WOuld this be interesting for Bernie?

#35 jokuvaan

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Posted 08 January 2010 - 11:23

Saab AB and Saab Automobile AB are different companies, separated a long time ago. One makes weapons, other cars.

#36 One

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Posted 08 January 2010 - 11:40

Saab AB and Saab Automobile AB are different companies, separated a long time ago. One makes weapons, other cars.



Thatis right. Still both of them are SAAB. I do not think that Bernie wants to sell weapons, but the brand Image of Saab is that it is the maker of fighter airplane that is awfully lot better for an aggressive buyers. Ford neglected this as they think that it is politically not correct to sell a upper class family car with the idea that relates to a Swedish killing machine, but but,... Genii and Bernie at hands, this image can be manipulated...

#37 JarnoA

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Posted 08 January 2010 - 11:48

Does the deal include Scania? If so, Bernie could sell trucks to all of the F1 teams.

I can't see Renault being too happy about this. Renault and Saab are direct competitors. Maybe this was a pre planned way to dupe Renault into selling their F1 outfit to a competitor. First take 75% of Renault F1 and say it will be named Renault F1 with less financial involvement, then force Renault into selling the other 25% by renaming it to a Rival manufacturer name. I think the board of Renault would have favoured Dave Richards over Genii if they knew they would take over Saab.

People don't think "should I buy an Aston Martin or should I buy a Renault."

People could decide between a Saab and a Renault though.

#38 taran

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Posted 08 January 2010 - 12:11

I don't really think this is a F1 project. Bernie likes making money and he has been diversifying his portfolio in recent years AFAIK. He also lost half (?) in his divorce. Genii is a venture capital company.

Obviously Saab has some value left in some areas of the company and the sharks are now circling.
What these companies want is to grab what's left from GM's fire sale and later sell it for a profit. Rebuilding Saab, a company which has done poorly for almost 30 years, would take a huge amount of time and effort and not just a quick regime change and better marketing. And it is debatable if there is room for Saab in today's congested car markets.

Bernie is all about the quick cash, not carefully building up value, as are corporate raiders.



#39 One

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Posted 08 January 2010 - 12:31

Saab may have no future at all then, but there might be something else that comes out of Saab...

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#40 Sausage

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Posted 08 January 2010 - 12:45

Seriously Bernie is just trying to get Saab on the cheap here, undoubtedly he thinks not much of it himself. With some branding and investment he'll sell it for profit somehow, if he's still alive at that point... but he might be immortal after all

#41 One

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Posted 08 January 2010 - 12:46

He made use of so much companies till today, so I assume he is still thinking of growing.

#42 Owen

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Posted 08 January 2010 - 12:47

Seriously Bernie is just trying to get Saab on the cheap here, undoubtedly he thinks not much of it himself. With some branding and investment he'll sell it for profit somehow, if he's still alive at that point... but he might be immortal after all

How can he be @rsed with this at his age? Must be the Sanatogen or something.

#43 One

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Posted 08 January 2010 - 12:50

So you guys think that Bernie is a passenger of the Genii's vehicle?

#44 Rainer Nyberg

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Posted 08 January 2010 - 13:31

Does the deal include Scania?


No, Saab Automobile has nothing to do with Scania anymore.
Volkswagen controls 70% of Scania.

#45 FlatOverCrest

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Posted 08 January 2010 - 13:40

I would far rather see possible new owners of Saab concentrate on building another small car with four wheel drive, to enable them to take what was a legend of a brand in Rallying...back to the formula where it made such a great name for itself...

Saab = Rallying.... not F1..

But then again I would far rather see Audi back rallying, than playing with Diesel sportscars...

#46 Biggles Flies Undone

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Posted 08 January 2010 - 13:55

How can he be @rsed with this at his age? Must be the Sanatogen or something.


That's what I thought.
Herr Bernard is actually older than Saab which was founded in 1937.

Venture capitalists flip companies for quick profits, I don't think GM want that sort of deal.

#47 Jackmancer

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Posted 08 January 2010 - 14:17

Saab is about to shut the factory doors. Of course it makes perfect sense they want to make a Formula 1 team now! :drunk:

#48 William Hunt

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Posted 08 January 2010 - 14:17

If Genji Capital does manage to buy SAAB then I don't see any reason why they wouldn't want to promote that name by rebranding the Renault F1 team as SAAB F1. From a marketing viewpoint that would make sense.

#49 MinT

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Posted 08 January 2010 - 14:38

Bit of a fantasy thread this isnt it.

They cant make ends met making road cars - hardly going to have the cash to build an F1 team are they.

Anyway looks like we will have enough sub par teams with below average pay drivers getting in the way next year....

#50 pup

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Posted 08 January 2010 - 15:59

This isn't about SAAB as a company wanting to get into F1. It's about some F1 people seeing an opportunity, and perhaps - perhaps - thinking they could use F1 to bolster the brand's image. Of course, there are other racing categories, and let's not forget that the FIA is still after their world engine; which, coincidentally, will probably be a small displacement multi-fuel turbo unit that sounds suspiciously like every engine SAAB has ever produced.

So it isn't too wild a thought, actually.