2010 Saab 9-5Enlarge Photo
The never-ending story of Saab's sale looks to be finally over, and the brand born from jets will be adding a propeller to the mix. Dutch supercar maker Spyker has reached a deal to purchase the brand from GM. Trading in Spyker stock was halted early this morning by the Netherlands Authority pending an announcement by the company, and now GM has made it official.
Terms of the deal will see Spyker forming a new company, Saab Spyker Automobiles, which will be the brand's standard bearer. Closing is expected by mid-February if things go smoothly.
“General Motors, Spyker Cars, and the Swedish government worked very hard and creatively for a deal that would secure a sustainable future for this unique and iconic brand, and we're all happy for the positive outcome,” said John Smith, GM vice president for corporate planning and alliances.
Completing the full transfer of Saab will take at least a month yet, but the sale enables Saab to avoid further winding-down steps and to move forward with new product creation and production. Just yesterday word of production of the 2011 Saab 9-4X broke, with other models, including the 2010 Saab 9-5 now expected to hit retail soon as well.
spyker c8 aileron production version 010Enlarge Photo
Spyker is a tiny company in the grand scheme of things, turning out just a handful of supercars each year, but its dedication and perseverance throughout the Saab purchase indicates it is committed to the brand over the long haul. Saab's rabidly loyal fan base will no doubt be hopeful for the future, with their beloved Swedish marque saved from GM's brand exodus and given a new lease on life.
“Throughout the negotiations, GM has always had the hope to find a solution for Saab that would avoid a wind down of the brand,” added Nick Reilly, president, GM Europe. “We’ve worked with many parties over the past year, including governments and investors, and I’m very pleased that we could come to such a good conclusion, one that preserves jobs in Sweden and elsewhere. GM will continue to support Saab and Spyker on their way forward.”
The sale began its long and turbulent path during GM's bankruptcy last summer, attracting multiple bidders, but never seeming to get much in the way of real traction until Koenigsegg AB, itself another firm whose primary automotive business is the construction of high-end supercars, managed to secure a deal, but was later forced to back out at the last minute due to funding complications. That move prompted comparisons to Saturn's failed sale to Penske Automotive Group, with many despairing of any future for the quirky, boxy brand.
Spyker never let up, however, despite Ed Whitacre's statements on the sale, saying in December, "It's real easy--just show up with the money and you can have it. Nobody's come with the money." Now that Spyker has come up with the money, the future of Saab is once again bright, if still somewhat uncertain. Saab's position within the market has been tenuous over the last several years, with stale products and weak sales, prompting GM's decision to sell the brand in the first place.
Stay tuned as we uncover what Spyker plans to do to turn things around, and what it plans for the future. We'll bring you the latest as it breaks.