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Spyker chief to preserve Saab's 'Swedishness'

AFP/The Local · 27 Jan 2010, 12:40

Published: 27 Jan 2010 12:40 GMT+01:00

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"It's been an incredible ride since we started the negotiations back in November," Muller told a press conference in Stockholm shortly after General Motors announced a "binding agreement" to sell its high-end Saab division to Muller's Spyker cars.

"The first thing that needs to happen is that Saab needs to learn to stand on its own feet. It's been part of a very large conglomerate for very long and it's going to be quite challenging to be absolutely responsible for everything yourself", he said.

As part of the sales agreement, Spyker will form a new company, Saab Spyker Automobiles, which will carry the Saab nameplate forward.

"That company will in the future have two operating companies under the same roof that will be independent but working very closely together," Muller said.

"It's not so that Spyker will benefit immediately from being a sister company to Saab or vice-versa," he warned, however praising GM for creating "an infrastructure and a business that is serious as can be" in its 20-year ownership of the Swedish brand.

Muller vowed to keep the identity of Saab and praised the network of dealers and brand enthusiasts who were quick to show their support for the brand GM said on December 18 it would wind down.

"The interest in Saab is basically very easy to understand, Saab is an iconic brand," Muller said.

"The typical element of the Saab brand is its Swedishness...I think one would be very short-sighted to think that the Saab buyer would be very pleased to buy a Saab from Mumbai," he added.

Story continues below…

Muller said his current business plan for Saab did not foresee major job cuts but he did insist that the road ahead for the car industry was unpredictable.

"No industry was hit harder than the car industry. Assuming that everything develops according to plan, we will be good in terms of our staff," he said.

AFP/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

09:48 January 27, 2010 by Decedo
Great for SAAB, but what's Swedishness??

Status quo? Don't rock the boat? Fear change?
10:42 January 27, 2010 by Twiceshy
The important question is, what will they do to make Saab profitable... and do they have a big enough incentive to do it, given that the Swedish government has guaranteed the loan?
11:09 January 27, 2010 by Scotsaab
Great news for Saab - better news still that GM has bowed to pressure from Europe to, for once, put others first, and release Saab for sale. It was something they did not want to do fter years of using the Swedish marque as a tax loss cow.
12:04 January 27, 2010 by Nemesis
Brilliant plan.

I hope they suceed.
15:13 January 27, 2010 by mannorun
@Decedo, i have asked myself same question about the swedishness thing

Mr CEO you better brace up for significant losses if you don't forget this Swedishness issue.

Just do it the way you perceive good at least for your investments and precious time spent through out this past period.
15:14 January 27, 2010 by rugla
Breath of fresh air for the employee base, but does anyone want to take any wagers, on the venture being on the same boat in a couple years and our government stuck with the tab?

One hopes otherwise, for the sake for the sake of our taxes going to waste but what is the plan for the new company?

Producing the same substandard s……………….t?
17:08 January 27, 2010 by rahpor
What is it about Swedish people that they don't believe in their own country, their own culture and their own heritage? To all of us not from Sweden, Saab is Swedish! Swedish stands for quality, good pricing, reliability and something different then the rest!

Please be proud of your country and believe in what you can reach with brands like Saab! And know that in the current economic situation, these little companies like Spyker (and even Saab now) can survive the big ones. But only if you believe in it, not if everyone in Sweden criticize it.
19:08 January 27, 2010 by israeli
The influential Swedish newspaper 'Metro' refuses to publish any article which may have a reference to the so-called "Armenian genocide", Ara Papyan, historian, diplomat and currently the head of the Modus Vivendi center said.

The expert said editor-in-chief of Per Gunne refuses to place any article in the newspaper about the so-called "Armenian genocide", because he is "no longer sure if there was "genocide" or not."

"The same change in policy has been adopted by another Swedish daily, Svenska Dagbladet, which, through the well-known journalist Bitte Hammargren, now uses the media expression of "Armenian massacres", as opposed to "genocide".

"These are not mere words, but represent policy. Policies have changed immensely lately, and they have changed after protocols on normalization of the Armenia-Turkey relations were signed, Papyan said.

Earlier, the so-called "Armenian genocide" was questioned by the well-known 'Canadian Embassy' magazine as well.


URL: http://www.today.az/news/politics/56860.html

read and cry
19:18 January 27, 2010 by rugla
As a Swede I´m humbled by your belief of what it represents, however for SAAB, it has not been the case for many years, the unions, IPR and patents sold, lack of innovation and just plain mismanagement not only from GM but from fellow Swedes have diminished the brand, perception, service and quality of the goods they produce.

Furthermore, what does Spyker have to lose if it goes bust? Their good name? they are a niche player with little or no brand recognition, at least they are not dumping their shares now, as the good old Koenies were doing, they have loan guarantees from the Swedish government and the 74 M they put on the table is leveraged as well.

So in a nutshell they bough Saab with little or no money of their own, just plain business savvy and acumen and for that I take my hat off to them!
00:37 January 28, 2010 by Lon Ernwall
As a Proud Swedish American, I don't understand why the Swedish Government refused to back a Swedish auto maker, but backs a dutch auo maker to take over Saab?????
00:52 January 28, 2010 by Tobugrynbak
Spyker has a big job ahead of itself to turn around the GM malaise that pervades SAAB and its current products.

It needs the Engineers to be innovative again and not hamstrung by Beancounters.

Perhaps they should buy some 84-88 900 Combi Coupes as fleet cars so that the Designers and Engineers can identify why that Era SAAB is so much superior to the SAAB badged rebodied GM crap they've been producing for the past 20 years.

Sometimes you have to go back to the past to find your way into the future.

I'm confident that Spyker will do all it can to ensure the success of SAAB, because if it doesn't, it will be taken out as well. Investor confidence affects "parent" companies too.

SAAB is as Swedish as Knackerbrod, Gravlax, and Lyngon sylt(jam). At least the Dutchmen at Spyker have an understanding of what that is.
03:15 January 28, 2010 by Davey-jo
Pretty much the same as Ford preserved Jaguar's Britishness.
13:11 January 28, 2010 by Britswedeguy
At last, some good news!

And let the lesson be learned - don't let Americans take over your business!

(Too late for Cadburys...)
13:22 January 29, 2010 by jasper5
So there I was having my SAAB serviced at a dealer in the upper region of New York State (farm country). I was in the service area joined by an elderly lady who seemed to have no interest in cars at all . Suddenly, with a smile on her face, she spoke and said: "there is nothing like driving a SAAB". Somehow I think that says it all.

There are so very many SAABs in the upper region of New York State that it is unbelievable, unconceivable and unacceptable that SAAB would no longer exist.

Thank Heavens for people like SAAB's Jan Åke Jonsson & SPIKER's Victor Muller.
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