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Report: Russian Mobsters Almost Killed Saab

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Saab’s future models like the 9-1 premium hatch will still sit on GM platforms for some time to come

Saab’s future models like the 9-1 premium hatch will still sit on GM platforms for some time to come

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When most of us think about Russian mobsters taking out a contract, we think hitmen, not multi-million dollar industrial purchase agreements, but in Saab's case, they almost equated to the same thing, with the target Saab itself. Reports out of Sweden this week indicate the U.S. and Swedish governments stepped in to delay the sale of Saab until a group owned by Russian billionaire Alexander Antonov could be removed from Spyker's shareholders.

Alexander Antonov owns the Convers Group, which until the halt on Saab's sale owned 4.6 million shares of Spyker. Spyker founder Victor Muller purchased the shares through his own holding group, Tenaci, in order to overcome the concerns.

Ties between Antonov and the Russian mafia are little more than allegations at this point, and Spyker says they are "nonsense and speculation," according to a report by FoxNews.

But regardless of the validity of the claims, the suspicions of Mafia ties almost brought Saab to a final death. Selling Saab has been a hard task for GM, as the previous deal with Swedish supercar maker, Koenigsegg, fell apart at the last minute. The deal with Spyker itself has taken months to bring to a final agreement, though things now appear to be on a smooth path to the brand's rebirth, with Spyker today laying out its plans for the brand.

Instead of a full-line carmaker as GM had been pushing the brand, Saab will become a niche marque, selling just a handful of models with a focused target audience. To read about Spyker's plans for the brand, check out our article here.

[FoxNews]

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Comments (5)
  1. And I thought it was GM that almost killed SAAB...
    ...hasn't GM been the favored manufacturer of cars by the American Mafia for the past 70-80 years or so? (Not to mention Yakuza in Japan?) Don't they also control certain aspects of the UAW?
    I also wouldn't bet against the Italian Mafia holding more than a few shares of FIAT - but that sure didn't FIAT from getting what's left of Chrysler...
    IMO, the US government should be far more concerned about the Chinese getting Volvo and Hummer...
     
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  2. The current, ongoing US economic meltdown is going to get fixed mostly with foreign money.That means we will be groveling for cash from our trade deficit overlords (China, India, South Korea and Japan), the world’s energy masters (Middle East and Russia) and those Europeans (who allegedly eat too much cheese and surrender all too often for our tastes) who are eager to dump their now-declining euros to get into dollar denominated assets. It isn’t going to be fixed at home, on our own, without outside help.We need to be nice to these people, while they still have the money. Get those wire instructions ready, we’re going to need them.
     
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  3. Hmm, I'm glad-- rich Russians never know how to run a car company, hence Nikolai Smolensky and TVR.
    @bepsf, I thought Yakuza liked Toyota Centuries, with their smooth V12s?
     
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  4. GM should ax the deal anyhow and preserve their other Euro connection. GM is producing some extremely competitive vehicles and the Saab style is very alluring! That also bodes well for my master plan for GM to lead the world in biofuel feed green semis under the brand Hummer and build a hummer mini pickup in clean diesel turbo to get you up the mountain at 40 MPG!!!! GM could link up with Cummins and a Bio fuel producer and the US Gov! Not to mention bring back the GTO as a lighter 4 banger and a Solstice electric coupe! GM wake up think global!
     
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  5. @Michael Escobar--
    When I lived there in the early 90's, Yakuza drove late 80's Cadillac Fleetwoods and bustle-back Sevilles...
    ...but nowadays you're probably right.
     
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