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Saab to build cars in Russia: Antonov

TT/The Local · 29 Mar 2010, 16:30

Published: 29 Mar 2010 16:30 GMT+02:00

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The Russian banker and former Spyker stakeholder was forced out of Dutch luxury car maker Spyker in order to facilitate its purchase of Saab from General Motors after the US firm expressed doubts about his suitability as an owner.

But on Monday Antonov claimed that a memorandum of understanding would be signed within the next month paving the way for the manufacture of Saab cars in Kaliningrad, a small Russian enclave lodged between Lithuania and Poland on the Baltic Sea coast.

"Yes, it's true that an agreement is in the works," Antonov told Swedish news agency TT, refusing to elaborate further.

Designated as a special economic zone by Moscow, Kaliningrad offers lucrative tax incentives for manufacturers and is already home to Hummer and BMW production facilities.

Vladimir Antonov revealed at the beginning of March that he was working to clear his name and persuade General Motors that the allegations of money laundering and organised crime which have circulated around his business empire are unfounded.

Story continues below…

Swedish media have reported that the Saab-Spyker deal was delayed in late 2009 as an investigation ordered by the Swedish government into the workings of Spyker and its Russian investors landed on the desk of the FBI and put a temporary stop to the takeover.

Though forced to step aside as a condition of the deal, Antonov said his banks had financed the first downpayment to GM.

TT/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

18:06 March 29, 2010 by tillerman
Bye Bye Swedish jobs.
18:07 March 29, 2010 by Lukestar1991
Bye Bye scummy Russian business
19:06 March 29, 2010 by anticommie


Looks like the real loser is sweden, but hey you always have welfare.
19:17 March 29, 2010 by jack sprat
Well what a surprise,...I don't think........,having forecast it from day one of the first mention of Ruskie involvement.

GM and the Swedish govt. were obviously very suspicious,yet eventually partly due to public pressure and lack of alternative solutions, were dumb enough to accept the buyers word that Russia would not be involved.

Jobs,together with EU funds and taxpayers money all heading East,courtesy of a simple Russian con trick.

Trust the Ruskies?

I'd sooner trust my balls to a Barracuda.
20:18 March 29, 2010 by boby
You should thank the idiots from the red parties that presurrized the government to back the deal.

I hate the lefties, hope they go and work in the Chinease and Russian factories.
22:58 March 29, 2010 by americanska
GAAAAR it's because of Americans and the General Motors that ruined our beloved SAAB! The capitalist pigs stole the company and then sold it to the Russians because they want the swedish economy to fail = because they are evil.

Right guys?

Well in fact it's because sweden and all the lefties still don't understand that distribution of wealth and punishing businesses is NOT the way forward.
23:13 March 29, 2010 by AlbionKyle

It's time for China and Russia to hemorrhaging money for massive loss, it is their turn! They have lots cash to burn.

Or they can make SAAB and Volvo competitive to German and Japanese car makers... ?
00:09 March 30, 2010 by repat_xpat
AlbionKyle, You are too funny!

Does anyone remember the sign from the Trollhattan protest "Save us from Gangsta Motors"? Who ever made that sign was soothsayer.
00:29 March 30, 2010 by bira
You all that constantly complain about GM, reality is this...if it wasn't for their deep pockets SAAB would have been forced to close their doors a LONG time ago. SAAB didn't make a profit before GM, during GM, and will not do so now with Spyker. Don't get me wrong, don't like GM and I do like SAAB but you all need a reality check. If SAAB was so great in the past they would never have been in the position to have been acquired by GM in the first place. Quit thinking SAAB is the best and instead MAKE it the best by working your asses off. Oh, sorry, forgot, this is Sweden - can't work extra hours, gotta go home. Have to have 1.5 employees for each position just so that everyone can take their sick days, etc, etc.
00:50 March 30, 2010 by Mike #1986
spot on bira..Swedes to busy enjoying there legal coffee breaks every few hours instead of working hard and getting more done in a 8hr shift !!!

lazy socialist sweden is what I call it..and then they have a winge too !!!
00:55 March 30, 2010 by jack sprat
Excellent post bira,...the true,cold hard facts of life!

Unfortunately too many Swedes prefer to dream on in their own little world of fantasy,....however I dont think reality lies too far ahead.
01:39 March 30, 2010 by Lukestar1991
typical capitalist bravado, how you should be ashamed.
02:00 March 30, 2010 by tapaninyc
The Future... The Future... It's Coming!
04:45 March 30, 2010 by Ghostrider
Well....it's pretty clear WHo is running Saab.
06:36 March 30, 2010 by sweco1
Yes the true colors of who is in charge of running SAAB is becoming very clear.

Yes bye bye SAAB.

But SAAB is only part of their world wide run on the Auto Industry their cousins in the US are running their high profile scam on Toyota. Just look at who was in charge of the US government hearing on the Toyota "problem" Ray Lahood Lebanese (American?), Darrel Issa Lebeanese (American?) born in Cleveland Ohio the heart of darkness and Ed Towns D-Brooklyn (trained by the orthodox cousins ) all working hard to force down Toyota's market share.

Carlos Ghosen another Lebanese something Running Nissan/Renault is another one working with this group of high level organised criminals
06:56 March 30, 2010 by Uncle
What is all the hysteria about? Volvo Trucks AB - one of the 3 biggest truck producers (well ,perhaps 4, if one considers the chinese market) has a factory in Kaluga as well as in Gothenburg... No capitalists died and no commies took over...

A factory in Kaliningrad will lower the costs of SAAB, while leaving it in the same luxury range. No problem whatsoever.

On a contrary - less costs will decrease overhead per car. Plus it seems that the russian mafia guy will promote Saab in eastern europe and increase volumes sold. All of this will make the Trollhattan factory profitable and perhaps

take SAAB out of the constant losses.
08:30 March 30, 2010 by jack sprat
Presume you having a laugh Uncle.
09:14 March 30, 2010 by Nemesis
@ jack sprat, Lukestar1991, tillerman, anticommie and every other naysayer

Kalingrad as a secondary production unit for Eastern Europe, does not suprise me.

Commenting that this is bad for SAAB is pointlessly stupid and people mouthing of, who have no idea of business.

if you have verifyable evidence this is bad for SAAB, produce it or shut up.

At present no one really knows what the long term plans of SAAB are. Only the people running it actually know.

The only thing that is really known is that SAAB has started to take back on some workers in Trollhättan and that they are in negotiations regarding building a new factory in Kalingrad.

That reads more as an expansion of capacity, than anything else.

Literally that is the only available facts. The rest is hyperbole and speculation by people who do not have a clue as to what is actually happening on the ground in SAAB.

If they expand SAAB into Eastern Europe and secure Trollhättan for western area production, then good.

Other car companies have more than one facility for production. Should GM or Ford close all there factories and only produce in one facility? I think not.

Just because it is not now American, does not mean it is bad.

Europeans have and do run sucessful business's.
09:42 March 30, 2010 by americanska
nemesis - the point is they are not expanding their facilities in Sweden. that is why people are upset. but it's because swedish policies are anti business. the current government is helping but it's too far gone.

I mean how many opterations have to leave sweden for people to realize that this far left acid trip does NOT work. it just dampens the blow because only the middle class and small/medium business feel it right now.

the Wealthy and the large businesses leave - so it's easy for them.

the lower income and lazy people just turn a blind eye to the fact that there government dictated "rights are not sustainable
09:59 March 30, 2010 by Nemesis
@ americanska

Wrong. Trollhättan is increasing capacity.

The reason I know why is my neighbour who works in a small supplier to SAAB has went from a 2 day week to four days starting on tuesday and has been told that they hope to be back on fulltime in the next 6 to 8 weeks. He has not worked five days a week for 5 years. Quite a change from American ownership.

Your ideas appear to be based in extreme ideology. My views are based in what I see on the ground. I don't give a damn about ideology, left, right or whatever. I only go with what works.

Regarding production capacity. Are you seriously suggesting that companies should close there facilities in other countries or not expand? Your communist, anti-business idea opposing business expansion is noted.

As for rights.

I live in Europe. I have rights, everyone has rights in Europe. That is part of what defines us as Europeans. If you don't like that, leave Europe, move to a country with no rights and do not come back. If you want no rights, move to Somalia, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Afghanistan or Iraq.

As for a production unit in Kalingrad being a bad thing for SAAB. I have seen no evidence of that.

Produce your verifyable evidence that it is so.
12:04 March 30, 2010 by Uncle
Jack - at least point at what you disagree with.

Expansion into countries with cheaper labor is often just expansion and not a replacement for the local factory. Why not? Because of the label "Made in Sweden" that adds at least 30-40% to the product net price. This is true even if a part of the range will be actually made in Sweden.

Also this expansion not only pays for itself, but also starts giving dividedends for the workers in Sweden - who in turn provide quality product. Win-win situation.

@amerikanska - corporate income tax in Sweden is 26.3% as of 2009 . This should show the capitalist tendencies of Sweden, if you know anything about taxation.
12:09 March 30, 2010 by saar
BMW builds cars in Kaliningrad. Doesn't seem to hurt BMW. 10000 SAABs won't make much difference to Swedish workforce. It may actually help SAAB. It will make it more popular in Russia.
12:11 March 30, 2010 by reco73

you don't have to go as far as Somalia......Americans have no rights when it comes to workplace in USA!

they can be sacked with no cause....and not even given any notice!
13:16 March 30, 2010 by americanska
reco73 has no clue. it's actually extremly hard to get fired in the US. Just not impossible like it is here.

which means that epople actually get full time jobs after Uni. instead of short term assignments that really have no rights. (like here)
14:29 March 30, 2010 by witsltd
To those of you who are saying no to this and basically whining, what exactly did you except? Here are some options:

• Sweden buying SAAB back

• Chinese buying SAAB

• Indians buying SAAB

• Russians buying SAAB

I assume many will say, Sweden buying SAAB and keeping all the jobs etc. Wake up call! Sweden has no money or economic strength to bring SAAB or any other problematic company back to life. Whether you like it or not, Sweden has been losing competitive advantage as nation for more than a decade now. Large companies; built and developed in Sweden have been moving out of Sweden for quite some time now.

SAAB was saved second time, this time with Russian money and Danish entrepreneurship. Many mentioning here that moving production (partially) to Russia will destroy SAAB; are thinking with prejudice hat on them. And also there is no question of trusting or not trusting Russians, its all business. Russians have learned to run business and turn companies profitable.

If Russians can pump money into SAAB, move production to Russia, make SAAB profitable again, invest money in innovating again…then why should someone complain?

Why the production should be limited to Sweden? For reputation sake and pity for current employees are not really good business logics.
22:22 March 30, 2010 by americanska
@nemisis. the problem is that your so called "rights" in Sweden are actually government entitlements paid for by the distribution of wealth. I call that the opposite of rights.

Rights are when the government stays out of things (other than law enforcement).

Nothing you said actually countered any of my points. But it's fairly evident you are a simpleton. I mean on another wall you claimed that Geely must be a great company because you had a friend that talked to a really smart engineer that worked for them.

You take very small facts and try to sound clever. it doesn't work. But then again you are a typical negative liberal that hate the idea that there are people out there that don't NEED the government.
07:16 March 31, 2010 by Kooritze
We should be glad someone actually bothered to buy this loss making business instead of winging about the non swedishness of the buyers.

The alternative if you remember was a shutdown of SAAB motors.

Expansion to the Russian enclave of Kalinigrad will probably help to make it profitable.........cheap workforce and a location closer to market.

Antonov is a shrewd businessman, be it with links to organised crime........and such characters emerged in America at the begining of the 20th century in the USA.....criminals became legitimate businessmen and politicians. This is a pattern repeated in Russia after 1991. Like it or not.....it,s the way it is......and in fact always has. You dont get powerful by being nice and fair. I wish SAAB all the best for the future and own a 95 combi which is the best car I,ve ever had.
07:47 March 31, 2010 by wenddiver
It might help to get the dealers place orders, to have a gangster on board. There are more than a few thugs in Detroit.

Real life the Russians are the only ones willing to put money into it. Congratlations to them and success in the future.

I'm a FORD stockholder and I thought there was too much risk to put money there, so I hope for the sake of the Swedes , the Russians and Chinese can make it work. : )
08:59 March 31, 2010 by ylorand

10 000 is so small for Saab, there cars sholud be built only for Russia

all is OK
17:00 March 31, 2010 by Luke35711
Isn't this a little bit like Britain in the 70s? I read that unions were also extremely strong back then, and there was a lot of left thinking among intellectuals. Except that there is no Swedish Thatcher in sight, and there is already 20% real unemployment. Frankly, I wouldn't be surprised by massive societal collapse (plenty of weird crime already), civil unrest, default, and IMF intervention. A potentially very unpleasant decade ahead. I wonder if we at least get some interesting cultural trends out of this, like it was in Britain with punk and rock music. So far, crime writing seems to be the thing.
18:45 March 31, 2010 by Henckel
So they're going to send jobs to Kaliningrad in the former East Prussia. You can bet the workers will be Russians of ethnic Poles; most or all of the ethnic Germans were expelled in 1945-49 when the northern half of East Prussia was annexed by Russia and Koenigsberg renamed Kaliningrad. My family's hometown, Rastenburg, was in the southern portion, annexed by Poland at the same time and the Germans expelled. I doubt I have a single relative still living there now.
22:00 March 31, 2010 by americanska
@uncle - I guess you don't know much about taxation.

people like you should not be allowed to vote - just too naive.

overall tax on business and individuals in sweden is astronomical.

But i'm not surprised that you spout irrelevant facts that don't pain the whole picture.

VAT = 25%

High taxes on energy

labor regulations that make it nearly impossible to run a small or medium business.

various other barriers to entry and economic blunders - but i'm too bored of internet arguments because like you that don't know what your talking about. you pull one fact
14:46 April 1, 2010 by Anmiga

What is your proof that "it's actually extremly hard to get fired in the US"? My wife and friends have all experienced the exact opposite. Being fired without warning with zero advance notice.
19:37 April 1, 2010 by foriegner
To be fired in the US you need to do something pretty bad or be truly incompetent. Otherwise companies can and are often sued. To be let go because there is no work for you is called being laid off - this can happen suddenly and without any other reason and makes you eligible for unemployment (payment).
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