Dutch luxury carmaker confirms interest in Saab

Dutch luxury carmaker confirms interest in Saab
A second niche luxury sports carmaker, Spyker, has confirmed it is interested in buying Saab Automobile.

“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.

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