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Dutch luxury carmaker confirms interest in Saab

TT/AFP/The Local · 2 Dec 2009, 17:34

Published: 02 Dec 2009 14:17 GMT+01:00
Updated: 02 Dec 2009 17:34 GMT+01:00

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"All I can say is that we and our main shareholder, Converse Group, are interested in Saab and there are talks at the moment," Spyker spokesman Niels Molewijk told AFP by telephone.

"We are having discussions on this topic with Saab and also with GM since they are the ones selling."

Converse Group holds 30 percent of the capital of Spyker, which is listed on the Amsterdam stock exchange.

A spokesperson for Spyker Cars, a brand which was revived again in 2000 after 70 years of dormancy, also confirmed its interest in Saab to the TT news agency.

Spyker's roots go back to the 1870s when it was a family firm which first built coaches prior to moving into automobile and aircraft production before going bankrupt in the 1920s.

The brand was revived in 1999 as Spyker Cars by current CEO Victor Muller and Maarten de Bruijn, with the company's first hand-built luxury cars coming on line in 2000.

Last year, Spyker sold 43 vehicles for around €200,000 ($301,400) a piece, according to the Reuters news agency.

Today, the company has 135 employees based at a plant in Zeewolde in the Netherlands. But production is in the process of being relocated to Coventry, England as part of a cost savings programme.

Spyker has yet to turn a profit and has had to rely on financing to survive, Reuters reports.

During 20 years of ownership by GM, Saab never made a profit and is expected to lose about 3 billion kronor ($434.5 million) in 2009 and 2010.

Following a decision by Swedish carmaker Koenigsegg to abandon plans to buy Saab, the future of the company has been uncertain.

On Tuesday, the board of GM said it will consider offers for Saab until the end of the year, by which time it will either be sold or shut down.

Social Democratic party leader Mona Sahlin said she is supporting the government's efforts to ensure Saab's survival.

“It's now up to all the parties to help out. The government knows that we in the opposition will do everything to solve this, pushing a bill through the Riksdag which supports the Swedish vehicles industry,” she told TT.

TT/AFP/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

15:22 December 2, 2009 by Nemesis
A Spyker / SAAb hookup would be very interesting.

That would have the potential to corner that niche of the market. It would be a far better match than GM and could possibly save most of the jobs in Tröllhatten.
15:45 December 2, 2009 by Rick Methven
Nice idea but if they have no money......

"Spyker has yet to turn a profit and has had to rely on financing to survive, Reuters reports"
19:26 December 2, 2009 by zircon
What's next? Dax Cobra? No better, why not I assemble a car together and send it to the car productionline of Saab, redesign a whole different package car, and change the fate of this industry? I have one Euro private money, will that cover it?
20:00 December 2, 2009 by Renfeh Hguh
Spyker DON*T DO IT!!

SAAB must either be bought by a sugar daddy company with very deep pockets or die gracefully.

Actually this might be good free marketing for Spyker. Make a bit of noise for a while and get a few write-ups in the media and then slip away from any deal quietly. Maybe with the publicity they will sell 50 cars in 2010.
20:07 December 2, 2009 by spy
Renfeh Hguh

You hit the nail on the head. Great PR and their share price has rallied. . . .
22:13 December 2, 2009 by karex
Renfeh Hguh and spy

With you on this one.

Serious bidders for Saab, please...
01:22 December 3, 2009 by sean o d
For me losing the SAAB name is like a death in the family.It is an iconic brand. I have always bought saabs for several years initially attracted by the peace loving,and progressive nature of swedish people in the 20th. century.I

always encouraged my children equally to buy Saabs.I bought

my last new 95 a week ago. My wife and 2 daughters also have saabs.

It saddens me to think that your government doesnt seem to care about its workers especially at a time when the pillor of Capitalism is now becoming socialist.I expected the anticipated 2010 saab 95

had the potential to be a great success.Though I live far away in Ireland,I sympathise with the swedish workers and innovators of this great brand which sadly was neglected by

General Motors.I sincerely hope it can be saved even at this late hour.
11:53 December 3, 2009 by Luckystrike
Saab is a dying breed "Sean o d" over priced cars that are no better than volvo's, which are cheaper i believe. Let Saab die gracefully!

P.S For much better written articles, use, swedishwire DOT com
14:30 December 3, 2009 by karex
@luckystrike

The sad story is that neither Saab nor Volvo are what they used to be after being ruined by their American owners.
14:59 December 3, 2009 by Luckystrike
I dont know how true that really is Karex. Now im assuming, i dont have facts but in the case of Saab automobile, they have not made any profits for many many years which has lead up to the situation today. Now, the brand owners are GM, but the marketing people are swedish, the sales people are swedish, the creators are swedish and so on...As far as we know, GM has just been throwing money at Saab to keep them afloat all these years.

The real people who you should be blaming is Senior management at Saab automobile, not the Swedish government or the "American owners" aka General Motors.
19:55 December 3, 2009 by TvAmazon
The sad fact is "During 20 years of ownership by GM, Saab never made a profit and is expected to lose about 3 billion kronor ($434.5 million) in 2009 and 2010". There is no way Saab can continue to exist with the same production costs. It has to either pay people far less or reduce the number of employees significantly. It is a sad fact but the cost of manufacturing in Sweden is to high with all the taxes and employee benefits it just cannot be competitive. This is the main reason for no buyers. If it could turn a profit easily then buyers would be lined up, but it can't. The Swedish people should not be mad at GM but grateful that it keep this tax write off going which employeed so many.

The only real loser is the American Taxpayer who is having to bail out GM.

Maybe the Swedish taxpayer should bail out Saab and pay more taxes to support this manufacturer because of the National Icon it represents.
20:17 December 3, 2009 by spy
Luckystrike & TvAmazon

Let's face it GM are a bunch of incompetent cowboys - one disaster after another, and just when it looks like they are going to do something right they change direction and wrestle defeat from the jaws of victory. GM has starved Saab for years - I think it is unfair to blame Saab for their current predicament.
22:08 December 7, 2009 by sean o d
Dont let the Chinese take your iconic brand and ruin it.The 2010 95 is poised to be a cracking motorcar.What do you see in German BMWs Mercs etc,because lets not forget they are not without mechanical and electronic trouble.When i think of Sweden,Saab Abba and the Nobel prize come to mind in that order.Support your country.
20:11 December 8, 2009 by spy
It will be very interesting to see who the people are in this group as this detial has not been revealed yet. Victor Muller has a history in mergers and aquisitions and he has some successful companies behind him... Just maybe...
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