2008 Saab 9-4X BioPower ConceptEnlarge Photo
After a year of talks with GM, Spyker, a European maker of expensive sports cars, has finally been awarded SAAB.
Maybe awarded isn't exactly the right word.
If we recall correctly, one of the reasons SAAB agreed to join GM was that in today's automotive world, a small brand like SAAB didn't have the size, the buying power, the staff, the research facilities or the income to survive. By joining with GM, they were able to draw on GM's huge resources.
Unfortunately, they also had to draw on GM's huge bureaucracy and middle-think which pretty much destroyed the Brand, but that's another story.
So now, Spyker-- a company that consists of fewer than 200 people, a small factory and a few dealers in Europe's playgrounds for the rich-- is about to swallow some 2,400 employees, a few high-tech factories, a nervous dealer network spread around the world, and an organization that requires sales of at least 50,000 cars a year vs Spyker's current 60.
One wonders two things.
First, what make the folks at Spyker think they can keep this lead balloon afloat? Do they think they can make SAAB profitable when G.M. with all its cash infusions couldn't? There's a lesson taught in most business schools warning that too much growth too fast can destroy a small, successful company. How about growing 18 times in staff and 8,000 times in output overnight?
Second, what led GM to make this deal? Did Spyker pledge G.M. a % of their profits over time? Is GM that hard up for cash? Did they burst into tears over the idea that they were about to kill a storied Brand? At this writing, details of the deal are not available.
Or, as we pondered a few articles back, did GM's Government handlers not want an American company--especially one owned by the U.S. Government--to be responsible for killing a European company? Especially since G.M. "disappointed" the German government on the outcome of the Opal deal? So did the Government favor spinning SAAB off onto a European company for it to die quietly in their hands?
Conspiracy theories are fun, aren't they?
Regardless of the reasons why this deal was struck, we see no long term future for SAAB in today's vicious business climate.
And now, we fear for Spyker as well.