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Unions urge GM to review new Saab bid

AFP/The Local · 21 Dec 2009, 07:31

Published: 21 Dec 2009 07:31 GMT+01:00

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The head of the influential IF Metall union called on the US auto firm to examine the renewed bid for Saab, which employs about 3,400 people in Sweden.

"I understand the frustration felt by everyone who is dependent on Saab, to be thrown between hope and despair is terrible. GM must now respond with a serious examination of the new bid," union chairman Stefan Löfven said.

General Motors said on Friday that it would close Saab, based in western Sweden, after it failed to agree upon a sale with the Dutch carmaker.

The bid "demonstrates there is a significant interest" in Saab, Löfven said, calling on Sweden's centre-right government to get involved in the talks with GM.

GM has been trying to sell the unit since the beginning of 2009. Swedish luxury carmaker Koenigsegg, a company which builds around 18 cars a year, pulled out of a deal to buy Saab last month, citing costly delays.

Like Koenigsegg, Spyker is also a niche premium car manufacturer.

In 2008, it sold just 37 cars worldwide with prices starting at $290,000). Saab sold just over 93,000 cars worldwide last year.

According to media reports, Saab's closure could lead to more than 8,000 job losses, including subcontractors and others dependent on the carmaker.

Saab's history as an automaker dates back to the 1940s, when the first cars were produced by the Swedish aircraft maker Svenska Aeroplan Aktiebolaget or SAAB. GM acquired Saab Automobile in 1990.

Despite General Motors' announcement on Friday about its impending closure of Saab Automobile, Dutch sports carmaker Spyker saidon Sunday it had made a second purchase attempt.

"The Spyker leadership has submitted a renewed offer in the hopes of securing a future for Saab, its employees and the brand – despite the announcement that the winding down of Saab would begin," the company said in a statement.

Story continues below…

Spyker said it hoped "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 Spyker chief executive Victor Muller.

Muller said he was confident a deal could be done by the December 31 deadline set by GM to complete the sale. Spyker's new offer remains valid until 5pm Eastern Time on Monday (11pm CET), the company said.

AFP/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

09:11 December 21, 2009 by Renfeh Hguh
The Swedish government should stay out of it. SAAB is dead unless it finds a very rich sugar daddy who can afford to invest in a new model platform, which Spyker and it's former KGB backers are not.

If Spyker truly had the financial backing behind them that SAAB needs, then Spyker itself would be a much bigger company in the niche sports car market. At the moment Spyker is tiny compared with TVR and Morgan.

Get real!
10:02 December 21, 2009 by xavidx
Spyker has the money. GM is selling.

Whats the problem. I dont understand this situation. GM Sucks.
10:03 December 21, 2009 by rahpor
It indeed is strange that a company, for 60% owned by US taxpayers, can take their losses by winding down a company instead of (at least) getting some money back for it by some ungrounded fear of 'Russians in my backyard'. Seems to scare the hell out of them, so badly they immidiatly stop talking.

Appearantly the situation in the US isn't that bad at all. All the stories we hear of people losing jobs, losing healthcare, houseprices dropping are not true? Why else should taxpayers agree on these practices? This is how your goverment is wasting billions in companies like GM instead of helping the people on the street!

Even if Spyker could not make it a profitable carbuilder, why not sell it to them and get at least some money back? Unwinding is an expensive operation too!
10:13 December 21, 2009 by ingvar
"What is good for GM is good for America"

The Swedish government should learn from its oversea partners.
10:24 December 21, 2009 by aaww
what is Spyker trying to buy now? the SAAB brand name? or 3400 employees?

as i understand, that company has nothing left
11:04 December 21, 2009 by Run Malmö
What makes you think G.M: would save Saab after it closed two of it's own brands

Saab has been a dead car maker since the U.S. Yuppies decided it wasn't cool anymore. Not profitable...EVER!
11:56 December 21, 2009 by rahpor
U.S. Yuppies decided it wasn't cool anymore?

GM decided Saab should look more like BMW and order to build another sedan, next to the 9-5. And then they moved production to Austria. Maybe not a big deal in the US, it was a big deal in Europe and the clear evidence GM didn't understand a thing they were doing.

Saabs were bought by doctors, architects, creative designers and bankers. They lost Saab when GM made again a wrong decision, ruining another brand (like Pontiac was always the sporty brand... also died by GM putting the Pontiac label on other cars from the GM group)
12:38 December 21, 2009 by Luckystrike
Amazing. We have so many auto industry specialists on TL.
13:03 December 21, 2009 by Eagle63
Because Saabs are so common in Sweden, most Swedes do not see the uniqueness of Saab (admittedly watered-down by GM, but the potential is still there).

Sometimes it takes an outsider to recognize how special Saab (and many other Swedish products..) is.

Not many car brands have such a loyal following all over the world.

It is/was still the car of choice for the more intelligent driver, who doesn't care about the status of the 'Big Germans', like airline pilots, engineers, architects, surgeons and yes... even a few astronauts...!
13:23 December 21, 2009 by Scotsaab
Sad to see US-biased comments are once again trying to influence Euro/Sandanavian industry. The US market is unique and while many sensible and intelligent buyers over there have bought our Euro cars the majority still favour old and cheap home-grown US technology. Leave them to it. Saab can survive. It's a great marque. Let's not tie ourselves to any US influence - it always ends in tears.
13:32 December 21, 2009 by Eagle63
What other small economy anywhere has such unique and diverse homegrown industry as Sweden ?

Unfortunately being proud of all that is viewed as not politically correct or too nationalistic even...

Eventually this attitude backfires.

Common Sweden.. be proud of your heritage, uniqueness and your people..!

To me (being Dutch) Sweden remains in my 'Top 3 of Favorite countries' , right behind mighy Canada..
14:01 December 21, 2009 by Beynch
Keep the unions out of this. They're nothing but trouble.
14:05 December 21, 2009 by Run Malmö
Sorry...Saab is dead!
15:36 December 21, 2009 by Eagle63
If Saab dies, an essential part of Sweden dies with..

Like a person losing one of his/her arms..

But personally I believe that even IF GM (and the government) kill the current Saab, there are so many very passionate people that no doubt they will start up a whole new operation, maybe under a different name even, but with the same spirit....
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