Saab must feel like the bridesmaid, never the bride by now. Failed negotiations to sell the franchise are making the turkey vultures swirl. But in the 11th hour, in the eve of the orderly wind-down, little Dutch sports car company from the Netherlands has stepped back in to give Saab a chance at survival.
Who is Spyker?
According to Automotive News, Spyker sold 43 cars last year for at least 200,000 euros ($287,800).
The Moscow Times says that the primary backers of Spyker include Russian banking tycoon Vladimir Antonov and his Convers Group, which has a 29.8 percent stake in the firm. Convers Group controls 29.8 percent of Spyker after Konversbank, which ceased to exist in 2008, bought the stake in 2007. Konversbank was merged with Investbank, a subsidiary of Convers Group.
Alexander Antonov, who heads Convers Group, is currently on Investbank’s supervisory board, while his son Vladimir is the bank’s deputy CEO. It was Alexander that was shot last March, in Moscow but survived.
Vladimir Antonov is also the current chairman of Spyker Cars’ supervisory board.
Jeroen Willard, an analyst at Dutch brokerage AEK, told Automotive News that for Spyker to finance the deal it would likely issue shares to its Russian backers.
Automotive News, is reporting that some of its (Saabs) assets, including intellectual property, have been sold to a Chinese automaker, Beijing Automotive Industry Holding Corp (BAIC). BAIC, China’s fifth-largest automaker, said separately it would launch an aggressive campaign to develop it’s brand both at home and overseas, after buying the rights to old Saab models from GM for $200 million.
“Someone has commented that the purchase of Saab’s intellectual property can help cut short the development time for Beijing Auto’s own-brand passenger vehicles by four to five years,” BAIC Chairman Xu Heyi told Automotive News reporters,
“We basically agree with the view,” Xu said
The Chinese automaker plans to immediately start integrating Saab technology into its vehicles, with an aim to sell 100,000 self-developed passenger vehicles in 2011, Xu told Automotive News.
Here is the press release from Spyker Cars:
ZEEWOLDE, The Netherlands (20 December 2009) “ Following the announcement on Friday that the terms of the intended sale of Saab Automobile AB between Spyker and General Motors (GM) could not be finalized, the Spyker leadership has submitted a renewed offer in the hopes of securing a future for Saab, it’s employees and the brand “ despite the announcement that the winding down of Saab would begin.
Spyker CEO Victor R. Muller said today that an 11-point proposal had been submitted to GM, addressing each of the issues that arose during the due diligence process and that the renewed offer would remove each of the obstacles that were standing in the way of a swift transaction.
“We have made every effort to resolve the issues that were preventing the conclusion of this matter and we have asked GM and all other involved parties to seriously consider this offer,” said Muller.
“We are very confident that our renewed offer will remove the impasse that was standing in the way of an agreement on Friday, and this would still allow us to conclude the deal prior to the expiry of the deadline originally set by GM of December 31st”, said Muller.
“Despite our collective eleventh-hour set-back, we are returning to the table with a renewed offer, that addresses every known issue brought to light during the initial negotiations and that has the full backing of the Saab Management. The new offer eliminates the need for an EIB loan approval prior to year-end, for example, which will allow the deal to be concluded within GM’s deadline. Our efforts are based on our passion for saving an iconic brand that we would be honored to shepherd, and the jobs and livelihoods of thousands of loyal Saab employees, suppliers and dealers around the world. Some 1,500,000 Saabs are on the road today and their proud owners would no doubt welcome the survival of this phenomenal brand”, he added.
In Spyker’s view, the ownership of Saab by Spyker Cars would add a lot of value to both parties. For Spyker, Saab would bring a strong, global distribution network consisting of no less than 1100 dealers, state-of-the-art production facilities, a truly dedicated workforce, and solid engineering, sourcing and research & development capabilities. Likewise, Saab would receive the financial backing required to compete as a competitive global brand, along with an entrepreneurial leadership team sensitive to the uniqueness, heritage, and individuality of the Saab brand. Throughout these negotiations, both Spyker and Saab’s leadership have proven that they share a mutual vision for just such a partnership.
“Our company motto is nulla tenaci invia est via – for the tenacious no road is impassable,” said Muller, “And we intend to remain true to that throughout these negotiations as we bid to secure Saab’s future and revive the company.”
The renewed Spyker offer is valid until 5 pm (Eastern Standard Time) on Monday, December 21, 2009.
When you watch this video think of how Saab will fit in with Spyker.
Here is a video of the Spyker D12 Peking to Paris concept at the 2006 LA auto show.:
Lou Ann Hammond is the CEO of Carlist and
Driving the Nation. She is the co-host of Real Wheels Washington Post carchat every Friday morning and is the Automotive, energy correspondent for The John Batchelor Show and a Contributor to Automotive Electronics magazine headquartered in Korea.
Hammond is a founding member of the Women's World Car of the Year #WWCOTY, and board member of the Women in Automotive. She is a guest contributor for Via Corsa magazine and Vicarious magazine.