“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.
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.