Saleen Automotive Inc. (“Saleen” or “the Company”) is a low-volume, specialist vehicle design, engineering, and manufacturing company. For over 30 years, the Saleen brand has been known for its ability to deliver innovative automotive designs and high-performance vehicles.
Today, Saleen is in a rapid growth phase and is working to increase its presence in the industry by capitalizing on the Saleen brand’s legacy for new opportunities. During summer 2014, the Company plans to debut a fully built, proprietary electric vehicle (EV) as well as all-new paint colors for its cars.
Saleen is perhaps best known for its ability to mass customize (creating customized products in an efficient, mass-production manner) high-performance parts and vehicles derived from the base chassis of the Ford Mustang, Dodge Challenger, and Chevrolet Camaro, which lead the class of “American Muscle” cars globally.
The global automotive market is valued at over $4 trillion. The largest national market for vehicles is China, followed by the U.S. where 15.6 million cars and trucks were sold in 2013—a nearly 8% increase over 2012. Sales of premium and high-performance vehicles drove U.S. market growth in 2013, with many low-volume luxury manufacturers selling every car they produced or imported during the year, spurred on by stronger economic conditions among other factors.
Emerging economies in BRIC nations (Brazil, Russia, India, and China) are stimulating increased consumer demand for car ownership, which is encouraging new operators to begin meeting expanding transportation needs. By 2016, China is forecast to overtake the U.S. as the largest market for premium cars, driven by both the super-wealthy and newly affluent consumers.
Saleen vehicles are sold in the U.S. through franchised dealerships from Ford Motor Co. (F-NYSE), General Motors’ (GM-NYSE) Chevrolet brand, and Chrysler Group LLC’s Dodge brand, and in China through a distribution agreement with GreenTech Automotive, Inc. Saleen aftermarket performance parts and lifestyle accessories are available online through http://www.smssuperparts.com/ and http://www.saleenstore.com/. The Company is also in the process of launching a retail store for showcasing its vehicles and technologies, and for sale and installation of Saleen-branded parts and accessories.
Saleen uses an extensive conversion process of designing, engineering, tooling, testing, and certifying every vehicle part in order to transform the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) chassis into a Saleen vehicle. The Company customizes the powertrain which includes a patented Saleen supercharger and also creates the handling and braking systems to support the increase in power. In addition to considerable performance gains, Saleen vehicles have custom interior and exterior styling, inspired by the Company’s racing pedigree.
Saleen’s core values are power, style, and performance, as can be seen in all of its vehicles. Going forward, these values will also include a focus on designing low- to zero-emissions vehicles that are not dependent on fossil fuels, in effect bringing Saleen’s styling and performance to the electric vehicle (EV) market.
The Company announced production of a “Saleen Tesla” in January 2014, which is based on the chassis of the Tesla Model S electric sports car (named the best overall car for 2014 by Consumer Reports and named Motor Trend’s Car of the Year in 2013). Saleen’s EV is being created in partnership with Pasadena’s Art Center College of Design, a school known for its skill in automotive design, and AC Propulsion, an EV technology company, and could be unveiled as early as summer 2014.
Saleen’s product line also includes a new American supercar to compete against offerings from exotic car manufacturers such as Porsche and Ferrari. Saleen builds supercars and race cars from the ground up and has in the past successfully built the U.S.’s fastest production car (the Saleen S7). The S7 has proven its endurance and speed on the race track by winning the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2010, among many other races over the past decade.
The Company has shown over the years that it can develop, innovate, and bring new products to market faster than most single-category automotive companies (which it did with the S7 in only nine months). However, the Saleen business extends beyond solely vehicle manufacture. The Company may generate revenue via a variety of other activities, including a high-margin aftermarket and replacement parts business, lifestyle accessories and apparel lines, vehicle maintenance, brand licensing, design and engineering services, business to business services and consultations, and custom car production for feature films and television shows.
Auto enthusiasts are estimated to represent approximately 10% to 15% of U.S. drivers, and are a primary customer base for Saleen’s vehicles and aftermarket performance parts.
Sales of street performance parts—parts and accessories designed for sports and muscle cars—reached a 10-year high in 2012, representing roughly $7.5 billion of the $31 billion specialty equipment market. Saleen believes that it is well positioned to capitalize on the new and replacement aftermarket part sector, particularly as its performance parts and lifestyle accessories fit not only Saleen vehicles but also the hundreds of thousands of OEM Mustangs, Challengers, and Camaros from Ford, Chevrolet, and Dodge.
Feature films and television are avenues used by Saleen to promote its brand. The Company’s motorsports and engineering teams have performed contract design, engineering, and product development services for a number of Hollywood movies. Notably, this work has included supplying the Saleen S7 as the feature vehicle driven by Jim Carrey in Bruce Almighty (2003), creating a Saleen Mustang for the role of “Barricade” and building the Chevrolet Camaro playing “Bumblebee” in Transformers (2007), and most recently, supplying supercars for DreamWorks’ Need for Speed (2014).
For the nine months ended December 31, 2013, Saleen reported vehicles and parts revenue of over $3.5 million, up from vehicles and parts sales of close to $1.3 million in the first three quarters of fiscal year 2012. The increase in sales reflected the Company’s expanding sales force, growth through existing car dealerships, and addition of new dealer networks.
At December 31, 2013, the Company had cash of $10,840. Subsequently, the Company has raised over $3.2 million to date in 2014, which includes $2.5 million from the sale of unsecured 7% Convertible Notes. The Company continues to seek additional funds, which is needed to continue operation and which will likely occur through the issuance of debt or equity securities. Saleen has stated an intention to raise approximately $15 million, of which roughly $6.5 million has already been received.
Saleen is headquartered in Corona, California, near Los Angeles on a four-acre property with space for production, research and development (R&D), and offices. As of March 2014, the Company employed 28 individuals.