2010 Saab 9-5
Saab, or should we say the ‘new’ Saab, has started production again at the Trollhattan, Sweden plant. The plant has been closed for the past two months while the fate of the brand was hanging in the balance. Now owned by Spyker, Saab is back, and the first car off the line was a 9-5 saloon followed quickly by a 9-3 convertible.
Alongside the workers at the plant re-opening were Saab CEO Jan Ake Jonsson, Spyker CEO Victor Muller and plant director Gunnar Brunius, all of whom greeted the new car with banners reading: “Saab number 001 of a new era”. Over 3,400 workers have returned to the plant, which produces about 100 cars a day. Spyker officials hope to produce 50,000 to 60,000 Saab cars this year and over 100,000 vehicles per year in the future. Recently, the company also announced that its North American headquarters will be moved to Royal Oak, Michigan, a suburb of Detroit.
Muller, the man who closed the deal with GM in January, is a car collector who owns 15 exotics including Aston Martins, Ferraris, Maseratis and a Rolls-Royce, as well as five boats including a 71 Riva Super Aquamarine and a former Malcolm Forbes luxury yacht. In 2000 he started Spyker with former business partner Maarten de Bruijn, who now runs Silvestris, a sports car and boat manufacturer.
In late 2009 he sent an email to GM vice chairman Bob Lutz expressing his interest in purchasing the beleaguered Saab brand. Eight minutes later Lutz connected him with the sales team. The rest is history. Muller celebrated the deal with a top hat and a live rabbit at the Grand Hotel in Stockholm, a nod to his ability to pull a rabbit out of his hat several times during the negotiations. The rabbit, called Silver Paw, will be cared for by Muller’s children at home.
When talking about Saab, Muller emphasized his intention of bringing bold new cars to the brand. “We will reinforce the emotional experience between Saab drivers and their cars and we will focus on Saabs historical strengths in the fields of independent thinking, aircraft heritage, ecological performance and motorsport,” he said.