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GM

As GM continued its shutdown of SAAB, Genii Capital said that that was the final straw and pulled out of discussions. That was yesterday morning in Europe. By yesterday morning in the USA, GM had announced it had, at last done a deal to sell what's left of SAAB. It would, the company said, go to Spyker after all, and the shutdown would be suspended immediately.

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After almost a decade of losses as GM moved SAAB from its quirky but profitable models to standardised boxes built from the GM parts bin, the final attempt to save the company has failed. As Spyker dropped out of negotiations, GM says it is starting a wind-down of operations.

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Saying that it could not reach agreement with its consortium partners over a strategy to move SAAB from mass market to premium brand, Koenigsegg has told both GM and the consortium that it's not going ahead with the deal announced in June.

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Rick Wagoner may be presented as having fallen on his sword to secure the rescue of General Motors from terminal insolvency. But he's walking away with more money than much of the world' s population would earn in several lifetimes. It seems that the price of failure is a generous pay-off.

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GM has issued the following statement:" There will be no interruptions in GM’s ability to take care of our customers and honor customer programs, warranties and provide replacement parts."

The company formerly known as General Motors Corporation (and now known as Motors Liquidation Company) has transferred "substantially all" of its assets to a new company - called General Motors Company." But some carefully selected liabilities will go along with them.

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When the GM stuff hit the fan, the first brand to go under was SAAB, calling in administrators whilst other units cried for government money to keep them going.

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General Motors is breaking up. When this newspaper suggested that US car makers had too many competing brands and not enough direction, plus too many attempts to fill niches which are best filled by specialist manufacturers, that view was not popular. Now that approach is at the core of GM's rescue plan as Hummer and Opel are sold off.

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Don't be under any illusions: GM didn't start dying within the last two years. It has been suffering from a terminal illness for thirty years. It is doubtful if the latest operation will bring anything but respite.

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It might sound ridiculous but when Ford announced today that it had lost "only" USD 1,400 million people were happy. For they had expected it to lose more.

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Whilst Obama lords it over a meeting of his new best friends - the bankers - Rick Waggoner of GM becomes the scapegoat - someone had to go to prove Obama's got steel under that smile.

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The announcement that General Motors wanted to buy Chrysler raised a few eyebrows. First, why would the venture capital company that only recently bought it from Daimler-Benz want out so soon; would competition authorities agree; but most of all, where would the money come from?

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