IRVINE, CA — November 7, 2008 — SOEC/Saleen Forums News — Automotive News reported today that specialty car builder Saleen Automotive is seeking a buyer. The company has experienced trying times in an industry segment that has seen slow sales due to high gas prices and tougher financing.

“The [HPA] board has set a tentative timetable to receive preliminary indications of interest from prospective parties over the next two months and plans on finalizing a transaction in early 2009,” reports Automotive News.

Saleen Automotive has suffered from internal struggles in recent years. While founder Steve Saleen and other partners continue to own a substantial interest in the company, controlling interest was sold to investment group Hancock Park Associates in 2004 as part of the cash infusion needed to expand facilities for the Ford GT program. There was a surprisingly high turnover of their own CEOs who were brought from within the firm, but from outside the industry. Reportedly heads butted over the years, and eventually Steve Saleen left the company in May of 2007 with several key engineers. The three Saleen children, Clint, Sean and Molly, left just a few months later. Saleen’s wife Liz left the company in 2006.

Saleen Automotive’s CEO Paul Wilbur left in August of 2008, followed shortly by its General Manager Marques McCammon — both from ASC — and both ended up in a green car company in San Diego County. September saw additional departures of upper management as well as throughout the ranks as vehicle production stalled.

The sale of the company may be a tough order in these challenging times, as auto sales in general are slowed as financing is tight. Paint and partial assembly of the Dodge Viper are done at Saleen Automotive, but the uncertain future of that program complicates matters as Chrysler LLC considers selling that Dodge brand.

Saleen Automotive had been operated in California for nearly 25 years, but all production had been moved to Michigan in 2007.

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