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Saab names new Chief Operating Officer for North America

Now that Saab has obtained funds through a new partnership with Chinese automaker Hawtai Motors, the company is able to make strategic moves to strengthen the brand around the world – beginning with yesterday’s announcement of the new Chief Operating Officer and President for the North American market.

Saab’s new President and COO of North America is Timothy Colbeck, who joins the Swedish automaker after serving 25 years with Subaru. Colbeck will report directly to the North American Board of Directors and Saab global sales head/vice president Matthias Seidl.

While spending a quarter of a decade with Subaru in the US market, Colbeck served at a variety of positions in the sales, finance and e-business segments. His most recent position with the Japanese automaker was serving as the senior VP of sales and under his leadership, Subaru posted record sales in the North American market.

North American is currently Saab’s largest and most important market. If the company is going to have any real chance of success – it will depend on the Swedish automaker growing in the United States. Colbeck’s history with Subaru shows that he has the experience and capabilities to help an automaker flourish in North America but with the recent financial troubles; Spyker has to make every cent count.

Colbeck was able to help Subaru reach record figures but that was a company that had a secure footing and a positive brand perception. While Saab enthusiasts around the world came out of the woodwork when the company hit rock bottom with GM, people driving 30 year old vehicles aren’t helping the brand survive. Colbeck and the Spyker-controlled Saab will have to prove their ability to develop and market vehicles in North America without the help of GM. The current lineup is heavily influenced by General Motors but over the next few years (should Spyker be able to stay afloat with the help of their new investors), the company will begin introducing their own unique models – at which point we will have a much better picture of the future of Saab.

Source: The Detroit News

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