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Spyker Strikes Back

Freed of Saab, Muller reviving exotic sports car brand.

by on Mar.08, 2012

Victor Muller inside one of his Spyker exotics.

“I’m a reborn man,” proclaims Victor Muller, as he wanders the PALExpo Convention Center during the first press day at the 2012 Geneva Motor Show.

A year ago, the Dutch entrepreneur was at the annual event pulling the covers off the Saab Phoenix concept car – and hoping to line up financial support to keep that struggling Swedish carmaker in business.  Now Saab is dead, Muller severing all ties and turning it over to the bankruptcy courts.

But while some folks might have taken that as a cue to vanish from the automotive headlights, not Muller, who could be found drifting through the sprawling conference center saying hello to old friends and giving TheDetroitBureau.com the inside scoop on life post-Saab.

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The most significant news? The ever-upbeat Muller has decided to scrub plans to sell off his other automotive company, the Dutch-based Spyker Cars.

“I’m excited to get back into this business,” he says, explaining that he has largely worked through the “huge liabilities” he incurred during what he calls “the Saab era.”

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Multitasking with Victor Muller, Saab’s Unlikely White Knight

Can a Dutch lawyer-cum entrepreneur turn the long-troubled company around?

by on Jun.07, 2010

Victor Muller's Spyker pulled off an unexpected coup by acquiring Sweden's Saab from General Motors.

Despite his congenial and seemingly relaxed manner, Victor Muller isn’t a man to waste time.

Joining some journalists for a meal at a hillside restaurant in the Swedish town of Trollhattan, one evening last week, Muller readily fielded questions with only the occasional pause for reflection.  When his guests spoke, he’d quickly grab utensils and stab a bite of food, glancing down at a pair of cellphones as he’d chew.  When it was time to respond, Muller would exchange fork and knife for two cellphones, a new Blackberry in his right hand for e-mail, a battered old Nokia in his left to handle text messages – often keying in one-handed responses on each as he spoke.

It was a skill the one-time lawyer learned in the days when he was making, rather than spending money, building up a reputation as a mergers-and- acquisition specialists in the Netherlands, then as an entrepreneur, building his bank account with a shipping company and, later, a fashion firm.

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But a decade ago, the tall and lanky Dutchman quite literally shifted gears, turning to a more risky, albeit more passionate, series of ventures that now put his comfortable fortune at risk.  Muller’s current pursuits bring several biblical references to mind: David and Goliath, perhaps, though the deal he inked barely 100 days ago might better be likened to Jonah swallowing the whale.

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