Specialty manufacturer and tuning company Saleen, Inc. has been in hot water for the last year or so thanks to the economic downturn. Company founder Steve Saleen resigned amidst rumors of dissatisfaction with board members back in May of 2007, followed by the closing of the company's only direct retail outlet in Irvine, California a few months later. The resulting snowball effect saw the specialty high-performance manufacturer close up shop in California, relocating its headquarters to Troy, Michigan where it essentially closed up even further. A string of auctions saw much of the company's assets liquidated before announcing last November that they were seeking a buyer for the struggling operation. MJ Acquisitions (MJA) came to the rescue this past January, purchasing most -- but not all -- of Saleen, Incorporated, including the street vehicles and performance parts divisions.
Fast forward to last week. In a letter sent to existing Saleen dealers, MJA announced that they would not be responsible for warranty costs or coverage belonging to Saleen, Inc. prior to February 2, 2009, the official date of MJA's purchase. According to the letter, all warranty issues on parts prior to that date as well as all vehicle warranties -- regardless of purchase date -- remain in the hands of Saleen, Inc.
Meanwhile, Saleen -- which retained the S7 super car, S5 Raptor and paint operations in the deal with MJ Acquisitions -- has reportedly announced that all operations within the company have now completely ceased, and that it no longer has any money to honor warranty claims on any products or vehicles. As a result, owners of Saleen products and vehicles with existing warranty coverage have been left holding the bag, including Saleen dealers who now have brand-new Saleen vehicles on showroom floors with no warranty coverage to back them up.
The folks over at the Saleen Owners and Enthusiast Club (SOEC) were the first to break the story, as no official press statements have surfaced from MJ Acquisitions or Saleen, Inc. on the subject. Some of the forum members are already talking class action lawsuit, as no mention of a bankruptcy filing by Saleen, Inc. has been mentioned from any source. Between MJA's purchases and the sale of various items like company vehicles and office equipment, many Saleen enthusiasts are asking where all the money went.
MJA says it will continue to offer replacement parts to dealers at a discounted rate, and the company will honor a 1 year/12,000 mile warranty on eligible parts sold after February 2, 2009.
Saleen was originally founded in 1984, and gained notoriety through the 1980s as a tuning company for Ford Mustangs. Though the current offerings from Saleen are technically considered to be independent models, vehicles like the S-281 -- which is a highly-modified version of the current Ford Mustang -- still retain factory warranty coverage from Ford Motor Company on parts not changed, altered or affected by Saleen.