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Colleran Out as Head of Saab USA

Using the time-honored phrase of “leaving to pursue further career opportunities,” Saab has announced that Michael “Mike” Colleran is out as president of Saab USA just as the company is gearing up its resurgence in the United States.

Join us... reported the news on its website. “Saab Automobile AB announced the appointment of Matthias Seidl as interim Chief Operating Officer for Saab Cars North America, effective immediately. Seidl replaces Michael Colleran, who has resigned to pursue further career opportunities. Seidl temporarily takes on responsibility for Saab Cars North America in addition to his current position as Executive Director Global Sales for Saab Automobile. Saab Automobile expects to announce a new Chief Operating Officer for Saab Cars North America soon.”

I had occasion to talk with Mike at the introduction of the Saab 9-5 at the Monticello Motor Club this past July as well as when he spoke before the New England Motor Press Association in September (where I am vice president) and again when he spoke at the New England International Auto Show. He had a real enthusiasm for the Saab brand and was just a good guy who went so far as to hire the widow of a former Saab PR guy who died at a young age from brain cancer so she could support her family (and then heaped praise on her for the job she did).

But there was a mention at SaabsUnited that he may have been too enmeshed in the old GM corporate-think for the folks at the new Saab. He had been a member of the Saab USA team since 2005 and most recently served as sales director for the General Motors premium brands which include Saab, Cadillac, and HUMMER. Colleran told me he could have stayed at GM but decided to make the leap to Saab when it was acquired by Spykker.

Saab has had a dismal couple of years lately since GM all but abandoned it as it prepared to either sell or shut down the brand. Its 2010 sales were 5,446, which were down 37 percent from 8,680 in 2009. Its 2008 sales numbers were 21,368, which shows the brand had a 75 percent drop in sales in two years, according to numbers compiled by AutoBlog. Saab needs to hit at least 15,000 in sales in the U.S. to be considered at all viable in 2011.

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