It is with profound sadness that I announce we will be closing after 44 years in business as an exclusive Saab dealer. My father started the business June of 1968 as one of the founding Saab dealers of this quirky, but safe little brand. The bankruptcy of Saab Automobile AB (Sweden) has forced this hand. As hard as we all tried (and you have no idea), it was impossible to sustain this business any longer. We will be closing the doors next Friday, February 3rd at 6:00 PM.
Words cannot describe the array of emotions we are all experiencing right now. Everything from sadness and anger to pride and hope. Although I can sit here and play the 'blame game', or let you know how I really feel -- I will limit my response to the conclusion that a deal to sell Saab to Youngman/Lotus was ultimately blocked by the decision makers at General Motors. In summary, GM from the outset made it quite clear that they would not approve a sale of Saab to any Chinese entity that allowed a transfer of shares amounting to 20% or more. In the final hours of negotiations, a proposal was presented to GM allowing Youngman/Lotus to focus and invest in new model development for the future without changing the ownership structure of Saab. That proposal was also blocked. At that moment, it became painfully clear that GM would withhold support for any such deal -- and the race was lost.
Oddly enough and in retrospect, Ford found a way to get a similar deal done with Volvo. In my strongest opinion, this whole tragedy was all so very avoidable.
With this announcement, Saab Cars North America suspended the processing and payment of all warranty claims. GM has come forward and stated that they will honor the warranty on all 2009 and older vehicles. However, GM will only allow that work to be processed at a dual GM/Saab dealers (locally -- Saab of Hyannis & Saab of Norwood).
There has been much work with Senator Brown's staff and Senator Kerry's staff regarding the Saab situation. The dealer associations in New England are attempting to rally our senators behind Senator Blumenthal of Connecticut, who has decided to grab and run with the ball on the Saab situation and the possible expansion of GM backing on such issues as customers' warranties (2010 & 2011). There has been positive feedback from our Senators, as well as from those in Maine and New Hampshire. It is expected that Senator Blumenthal will have a letter for circulation amongst the Senators in an effort to prod GM to do more on model year coverages beyond 2009.
As far as Norwell, we have signed an agreement to sell the real estate to Herb Chambers. It is his intention to bring Lexus here. My son, Mike, presented Herb with a 'Lexus of Norwell' business plan. The plan encompasses a full Lexus franchise that includes Saab service and a Saab conquest program that converts Saab owners to Lexus. It is a plan that incorporates our dedicated staff giving the feel of a family business while maintaining the necessary financial strength of a premier automotive group. As a sidenote -- Herb personally called me after reading Mike's business plan and stated it gave him 'goosebumps'. It was a thorough and very comprehensive plan. If this comes together, Mike would be named General Manager.
Timing, however, is a complicated matter. Herb's architects and builders are working feverishly trying to complete a building design. They are uncertain as to whether the building needs a renovation, a major renovation, or a complete tear-down. This means that the building will be dark anywhere from 3-12 months.
In summary, it is our best intention to remain under this rooftop to service you, our dedicated customers. Discussions continue on this topic at this time.
In the meantime, please visit SaabUSA.com for a listing of local Saab dealers for your servicing needs.
I owe a debt of gratitude to my employees and to you, our customers. Our employees are who we are -- they are the face of Shaw Saab. It has always been our philosophy to run an exclusive Saab dealership -- one brand under one rooftop -- and do it better than anyone else. My people did just that and I thank them for their dedication to the Saab brand, to Shaw Saab and for their painstaking efforts servicing you. I also thank you for your years of business and support.
To close this chapter, I want to share a story with you. My Uncle Ken (Kenneth G. Dalton) was editor of the Brockton Enterprise in the good ol' days. His daily article (K.G.D. Says...) spoke of his many experiences in this wonderful New England area. He always ended the story with '~30~'. Upon his death in the early 80's, my Aunt Freddie had the '~ 30 ~' engraved on his headstone which finally begged the question as to the meaning. She explained that it meant 'the end...for now'. Meaning there was another story, or another chapter coming tomorrow. That gave even greater meaning and pride to his marker.
The best way to close this out is simply to say--
Best personal regards,