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No deal with Spyker due to Russian owner

TT/The Local · 19 Dec 2009, 09:41

Published: 19 Dec 2009 09:41 GMT+01:00

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Through his company Convers Group, Antonov owns around 30 percent of Spyker and is thought to have propped up the auto manufacturer through the supporting purchases of cars.

General Motors has taken the first steps towards closing Saab Automobile. "This was an extremely surprising and very unfortunate decision,” said Sweden's enterprise minster Maud Olofsson during a press conference in Trollhätten, where Saab’s headquarters are located, following the announcement from GM.

She emphasized that the decision was made by GM. “GM is Saab’s owner and GM could have done a lot more for Saab during all of these years,” she said.

“The government has tried to make it attractive as possible to be here in Trollhättan. Now we must help of the employees and the municipality with future savings.”

Olofsson has called for a meeting on Monday with the affected local authorities, as well as trade union and company representatives, to assess the situation. She once again reiterated that the Swedish government will not step in to save Saab.

According to John Smith, vice chairman of the GM's board, GM realised on Friday afternoon that is was impossible to save the Swedish auto manufacturer, and that therefore was no reason to wait until next year to make a decision, as had previously been promised.

“Sometimes it just doesn't work,” Smith told TT news agency.

He said that the goal is to shut down operations as quickly as possible. New investors are not being sought. “We have investigated all possibilities,” the vice chairman said.

Story continues below…

Smith reported that the GM has a ballpark figure for the cost of shutting down Saab, but declined to say how much. He blamed the car industry as a whole for the failure.

He declined to comment on questions regarding GM's responsibility as an owner. “We have tried to integrate Saab into GM in order to create quality products. But we have been unsuccessful for a variety of reasons. We have tried,” Smith said.


TT/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

11:42 December 19, 2009 by tillerman
If Spyker were offering a cash deal GM would have sold. But having to take payment guarantees from a company with weak financial credentials didn't make sense.
12:28 December 19, 2009 by Rick Methven
I await with interest the real story after GM is out of Sweden for good and we learn of the machinations that have been going on with the crooks of GM
14:07 December 19, 2009 by rx2heroism
I think the swedish government could have been more effective with an astute and comprehensive rescue plan. The job losses and effect on the spending in the community will have resounding effects on the economy, especially at such a sensitve time.
14:18 December 19, 2009 by morchad
GM good or GM bad....who cares, the fact they are haemorrhaging money, & brands is proof enough, their empire-building has been their undoing. Pity for us its SAAB and its employees & suppliers employees that suffer.
15:00 December 19, 2009 by gavas
GM is turning their business around. Key to that is shedding all their money-losing businesses/brands like Saab (as well as Pontiac, Saturn and Hummer). Part of the reason that GM run into money trouble is because of keeping them around for too long. If it weren't for GM, Saab would have folded a long time ago. Saabs unfortunately always had this basic problem: they were cars for a niche market and apparently they were more expensive to make than the money they could sell for. I personally don't blame GM at all, I think they tried their best to make Saab work, but this was a very difficult riddle to solve. GM probably should have never bought Saab at the first place.
16:29 December 19, 2009 by Scotsaab
Whichever way you look at it the demise of Saab is an automotive tragedy. Approptioning blame and hand-wringing will achieve little - let's just hope the 3400 Trollhattan workers find alternative employment. I have owned Saabs in Scotland since the 1960s and loved them - I rallied them and a 96 V4 DeLuxe saved my life in a head-on with a truck in 1973. More recent cars have been less appealing - too much Vectra not enough Saab. But I had planned to order a new 9-5 in 2010 and hoped a new Saab compact car would soon emerge from the reborn company. Sadly it looks as if that is a forlorn hope.

Sileo in Pacis Saab.
19:08 December 19, 2009 by Rick Methven
@gavas "Saabs unfortunately always had this basic problem: they were cars for a niche market and apparently they were more expensive to make than the money they could sell for"

Until GM started changing things SAAB Cars where a luxury car that sold in a luxury market. That is exactly why GM wanted to Buy SAAB.

But in a typical American Cheapskate move GM reduced the quality and kept the price high. The first GM SAAB was the 'New 900' that was NOT a SAAB but an Opel at a SAAB price. Us SAAB drivers would not buy it. Why buy an Opel for 20% more than the real thing?

GM wanted the revenue from a luxury car but produced a cheap car with a luxury price tag. THAT is why sales fell.

I currently own a 1996 SAAB 9000 Aero (when GM owned 50%) and a 2005 9-5 Aero (when GM owned 100%). The difference in quality of the 2 cars is plain to see. I shall keep both cars until they fall apart. I will lay money that the 9 year older 9000 Will be on the road after the GM 9-5 is on the scrap heap!
20:25 December 19, 2009 by hfvikingarna
It is clear that GM would not like any buyer to acquire SAAB. If the buyer makes profit, that will prove GM was wrong to manage SAAB. GM just wants SAAB die.
20:42 December 19, 2009 by Andrey Ivanov
It is really a shame what has happened to SAAB. A community of SAAB owners here in Russia is really upset with the unique brand anihilation.

I beleive truth will surfice some day why the deal fell through and it won't make credit for GM. Its management's inconsistent policy became evident when they withdrew from the talks concerning the sell of Opel to Canadian Magna and Russia's Sberbank early this year. That was the first bell. Then followed a failure with Koenigsegg Group.

The bitter truth is that the unique brand is to cease to exist on the market. And the only positive thing about all that it is not going to belong to GM anymore. I extend my sympathy and support to SAAB workers, engineers and contractors.
00:04 December 20, 2009 by GLO
you can support a failed product for so long..Saab, GM..Land Rover and many others..Sweden Build a car people want at a good price and your in business all over the World. Build over priced to the World Market and you Have a History Lesson.Sorry your not playing in a sand box....You can change...
01:09 December 20, 2009 by glenn_dallas
GM got exactly what they wanted out of SAAB. Safety technology (anti-whiplash seats, airbag technology, work being done on advanced crumple zones) and turbocharging advancements (Trionic engine management system, which lives on in other GM cars). That's all they wanted. And just like a major American juggernaut corporation, it is dumping the rest (minus the parts they sold to BAIC).

SAAB may have been a "niche" market auto, but it was put together well and overall was a fun car to drive (owned 2, 1999 9-3SE and 2001 9-3SE). I too was hoping to purchase a 2010 9-5 and will miss the brand...
01:26 December 20, 2009 by ABuB
GM lies about Saabs profit over the years, because they are jealous and they want the people to buy their robotic faced Cadillacs.

The press is the ones causing trouble because of their ugly false news, if it was lamborghini or ferrari who were in crisis, everybody would Boost Jump to help and spread good news and try to help them just hoping they might fame or noticed with a Lambo or Ferrari or even they give him 1 as a gift, people now are lazy non self reliable AND hypocrites!!!

Sweden doesnt want to have an industry thats why they are putting down their brands, are the people envious of their own selves? Journalist attacking Saab before and during their crisis time, and now they are crying!?

it is not Saab is the loss making! it is GM that is corrupt and sucked the whole money from everybody! it was evident before they declared that they were bankrupt and they were still using those private jets of their own and having big parties from the company's money.

Now they put all the blame on Saab and they want to dress her all their corruptness, it is like those old kids games.. you make a mistake, and if your parents look at you, you point at your younger brother.

Why do swedish hate Saabs?

I believe Saab needs people with high IQ's to notice them and research them from ground to top, the same i did, without caring about life and parents and critical peoples, I BOUGHT IT! my first car is a Saab!

I believe that people are afraid of the unknown.. thats why they hate Saabs.. because they cannot understand it, and others they have never heard of it before, and they compare it less than an a Corolla!!

because GM didnt advertise for SAAB.......

AND HEY! Saab was under Gm and they couldnt do anything without them saying Not!

I will make sure i never buy from Gm!

Saab for the Emotional, Intelligent, the proud, the self reliable, the unique, the loners, the effecient person, the agile person, the smart, the practicals, the cautious, those who seeks fun, and lots more......

Saab in the heart and in heaven with me
02:31 December 20, 2009 by Thebinary1
Actually, the blame squarely lies on the Swedish Government and no one else. The reason why is indicated in Maude Olofsson's comment:

She emphasized that the decision was made by GM. "GM is Saab's owner and GM could have done a lot more for Saab during all of these years," she said.

That statement implies that the Government knew all along that Saab was being mistreated by GM and then decided to ignore the issue. The Government also knew all along that American MNCs and businesses in general do not have binding moral or ethical standards.

And now she says that she is "surprised". Well even though I agree that the Swedish Government has no business owning and running a car company, it does not give Maude Olofsson the right to no do her job of "governing". She should be fired and the Reindfeldt Government put on notice for incompetence!
04:25 December 20, 2009 by falcon
Hej GM,

Stop chasing gangsters and low production supercar makers. Place a call to Wyoming! They have the stones and knowhow to get this done fast.

Why wait?
08:06 December 20, 2009 by JDV
GM like Ford raped our companies for their technology and whatever cash they could get out of it and eliminated a competitor in the process. These are predator companies who have raped the workers of America, closed their American factories and shipped American jobs to China.

The sooner we rid of ourselves of all American business interests in our country the better...

It is a crime against Swedes that the current Swedish government of American fifth columnist... is destroying our country and not investing in, caring for our workers and saving Swedish companies for Swedes, by investing in them and buying them back, for the benefit of the people of Sweden by making us the stockholders and the deciders of our own fate… Not the Americans.

Their ultimate goal and the goal of this neo-"con" government is to destroy the socialist democratic success story that made Sweden a success and it's products worldwide brand names of quality recognized around the world…and country to be admired and witness to American lie. These American wannabes are working hard to make us a second rate failed neo-con... cheap knock-off, non-manufacturing copy… of a failed America.

We should be forcing our government to take over SAAB... and givning the Swedish workers who have put thier lives into the company and building a high quality product for a high end market... the company... If you really want to lower taxes and save jobs build a sustainable economy that's the proven Swedish way to do it....
08:44 December 20, 2009 by stevelewis
Has it not occured to anyone that GM may have ensured SAAB made a loss. It seems logical that GM would want to make a loss in Sweden in order to make a profit where the tax was cheaper. This if course does not mean it was making a loss across the board but does noy necessarily mean making a loss at SAAB. SAAB was purchased with the plan that GM would

1. standardise chassis and technology across their range, thus reducing R and D and production costs.

2. Produce more vehicles thus benefitting considerably from units of scale acquired in item 1.

They do not appear to have produced any more vehicles than they did in 1990, approx 100,000. (not considerably more at any rate) Yet have continued "to make a loss" despite massive improvements (and non improvements quality wise) in costs of component purchase and design (ALL SAABS since 1998 have had Vauxhall/Opel chassis, suspension and brake technology).

Does that not sound strange? Do you not ask how much SAAB Sweden has been paying for this 2nd rate technology from alternative GM plants where taxation may be lower. Why make a profit in a country where taxation may be higher or a country you have little interest in.

Why would Sweden bail out a company who may have given very little. I hope that a phoenix can arise from the ashes.
13:02 December 20, 2009 by michalino
What wecould say. It's infamous then the ami's close their factories in States. Why we are so thick to shot out those maniacs to destroy all what we love in Europe.

Swedish government wake up! I believe the Saab will be alive!
14:11 December 20, 2009 by Mr B
A very sad day,I sold my classic 900 convertible a few months ago,with much regret.I now drive a 'soulless' British built japanese company car.I,for one,have no intension of letting the brand die completely.I am already looking for a Decent used Saab.I love the brand and the cars.Its true that the Americans steamroller everything they see.They are the modern day colonialist,raping every industry and country with their bullyboy ways.But they don't exactly excell at anything.I think this worldwide recession will be the end of the American dominance in world affairs.
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