It took a while, but it now appears that the axe has finally fallen and Saab really is going to die. For the last twenty years, the Swedish car maker has been part of General Motors; it may seem a strange thing to say under the circumstances, but it's quite difficult to be certain whether that has been a bad thing for Saab or not.
General Motors says it will shut down Saab after talks to sell the brand to Dutch carmaker Spyker Cars collapsed, marking the third time this year that a deal by GM to sell an unwanted brand has fallen through.
It should have been the first model launched by Vauxhall/Opel under the ownership of a new parent company, Magna. Instead, the new Astra, which goes on sale in the UK today, will be the centrepiece of General Motors' emerging turnaround plan for its European operations, after the US group decided to keep its British and German brands rather than selling them off.
The new Chevrolet Spark is an important new model for General Motors – but not as important as it might have been. Until October this year, GM had planned to sell its European Opel and Vauxhall operations in order to shore up its precarious financial position. That would have left Chevrolet, the brand under which GM sells its Korean-sourced cars in Europe, to spearhead the American group's efforts here – and the Spark would have carried the burden of being the first new Chevrolet to be launched by GM in the post-Opel/Vauxhall age.
The new Opel/Vauxhall Astra has won a German Golden Steering Wheel award. “Das Goldene Lenkrad” is Germany's most prestigious car prize, and provides it provides a welcome boost for the Astra and Vauxhall's plant at Ellesmere plant where it is built at a time when the future of GM's European operations has once more been thrown into doubt.
Would it matter if Cadbury were to fall into US ownership? Should we care that Opel and Vauxhall are being bought by a Canadian-led consortium? Or that Volvo may be taken over by the Chinese?
General Motors has decided to sell its European arm, including Vauxhall, to Canadian car parts firm Magna, the German Chancellor announced today.
Vauxhall has given outline details of the engine range to be fitted to its new British-built Astra model. The main theme is a reduction in engine sizes – at least where the petrol engines are concerned - in the interests of fuel consumption and CO2 emissions, but without sacrificing performance.