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Spyker Buys Saab, Considering New Products

Maker studying smaller 9-2; remains heavily dependent on GM.

by on Feb.23, 2010

Saab hopes to relaunch production of the 9-3 and new 9-5 in a few weeks, while launching the 9-4X crossover soon afterwards.

Dutch-based Spyker Cars has completed its once seemingly improbably bid to purchase the long-troubled Swedish automaker Saab Cars.

The deal, tenatively approved last month, saves Saab from the automotive rubbish heap.  Its long-time parent, General Motors, decided to abandon the brand prior to last year’s bankrupty reorganization, but after one proposed sale collapsed, GM began taking steps to close Saab until it a last-minute bid by Spyker, which until now has produced only a small number of high-priced sports cars.

Nonetheless, GM will retain strong ties to its former subsidiary, providing parts, powertrains and platforms for two critical models.  Longer-term, however, Saab may seek out other partners, said CEO Jan Ake Jonsson, as it moves to develop additional products, such as the next-generation 9-3 sedan.  Jonsson also revealed that the maker is considering an even smaller model that would be based on the entry-level Saab 9-2.

A Saab Story with a Happy Ending?

“As of today, our focus will be on getting back in business,” said Jonsson, speaking to reporters from Sweden during a Tuesday conference call.  He noted that as GM prepared to liquidate the brand, Saab could no longer get the parts it needed to keep its assembly lines going, despite demand for the all-new 2010 9-5 sedan.

Saving Saab involved “three months of working literally day and night,” noted Victor Muller, the one-time Dutch lawyer who decided to get into the automotive business.  In 1999, he introduced the first of several models bearing the Spyker nameplate, reviving a once-heralded Netherlands brand that had gone out of business in 1925.


Spyker Buys Saab

Deal saves Swedish brand just as GM began "wind-down."

by on Jan.26, 2010

It appears the new Saab 9-5 has been given a reprieve, as part of a sale to Spyker.

A last-minute reprieve has saved the long-struggling Saab, the Swedish brand parent General Motors was in the process of “winding down.”

The purchaser is the unlikely Dutch luxury sports car manufacturer, Spyker, which sees the acquisition as a way to expand its own global distribution base.

(This story is revised from the original as more details emerged.)

In return for $74 million in cash, and $326 million in preferred stock redeemable after 2013, GM will be free of Saab. (A senior GM officials hinted at a “third component” of the deal, but declined to provide details.)  Meanwhile, Spyker has received a $550 million loan from the European Investment Bank to fund the venture.

Swedish government officials gave their quick sign-off to the deal, which included the providing of guarantees for the EIB deal.  Assuming quick action on the few remaining issues, the transaction is expected to close in mid-February, about one year after Saab filed for bankruptcy.

“General Motors, Spyker Cars, and the Swedish government worked very hard and creatively for a deal that would secure a sustainable future for this unique and iconic brand, and we’re all happy for the positive outcome,” said John Smith, GM’s vice president for corporate planning and alliances.

Following the sale, the new parent plans to combine its existing operations with those of its new subsidiary to form Saab Spyker Automobiles.  (more…)