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Saab's Phoenix Platform Lives On In New Spyker/Youngman Deal

 
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2011 Saab PhoeniX Concept

2011 Saab PhoeniX Concept

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Dutch sports car manufacturer Spyker, the former parent of bankrupt automaker Saab, has signed a definitive agreement with Chinese automaker Youngman to form new joint ventures that will be responsible for the development of a new SUV as well as a range of sedans based on Saab’s Phoenix platform but sold under the Spyker brand.

The deal was first announced in August of this year and was developed as a last-ditch effort to save the Phoenix platform that was developed by Saab prior to its bankruptcy and licensed to Youngman in 2011.

Spyker and Youngman had originally hoped to build a new generation of Saabs from the Phoenix platform, though any chance of that happening was ended when the deal to sell a share of Saab to Youngman was blocked by General Motors late last year.

Fast forward to today, and Spyker has agreed to a deal that will see Youngman invest 10 million euros (approximately $12.9 million) in Spyker, the bulk of which will be used to purchase shares in Spyker and the rest provided as a loan.

A new joint venture, to be called Spyker P2P, will also be formed. Youngman will contribute 25 million euros ($32.3 million) for a 75 percent stake of the joint venture. The remaining 25 percent will go to Spyker, which instead of cash will supply the technology behind its D8 Peking-to-Paris SUV concept.

The new SUV is expected to go on sale in late 2014 and be priced around $250,000. It will be based on a unique aluminum spaceframe and may spawn additional models should it prove popular.

As for the Phoenix-based sedans, Spyker and Youngman will jointly incorporate a second joint venture called Spyker Phoenix in which Youngman will hold 80 percent of the shares whilst Spyker holds 20 percent. The new Spyker Phoenix joint venture will be responsible for developing and manufacturing a full range of premium cars based on the Phoenix platform.

Spyker is keen to stress that the new models will be positioned higher than the comparable Saab models that were originally planned, and that production in China and Europe is being considered.

2006 Spyker D12 Peking-to-Paris concept

2006 Spyker D12 Peking-to-Paris concept

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If you were thinking the deal couldn’t get more complicated, you’d be wrong. A third joint venture called Spyker Trademark will also be formed. Spyker will transfer all of its trademarks to this joint venture and retain just a 20 percent share while Youngman owns the remaining 75 percent. Spyker Trademark will then grant a license to Spyker, SpykerP2P and Spyker Phoenix for the use of the “Spyker” brand name and logo.

Furthermore, as Youngman is providing most of the cash in this deal, it will have the right to nominate a third of Spyker's supervisory board and a third of its management board. Of course, the deal is still subject to satisfactory completion by Youngman of a due diligence on Spyker as well as approval from regulatory bodies in both China and Europe.

As if Spyker didn't already have too much on its plate, the Dutch firm is attempting to sue GM for $3 billion, alleging the American auto giant forced Saab into bankruptcy by blocking a planned purchase from Youngman. GM has since filed a motion to dismiss the case, while Spyker will attempt to argue against the motion in a Michigan count on February 19, 2013.

Note, another Chinese-based firm, NEVS, which bought the remains of Saab, including the technology behind the Phoenix platform, plans to build a range of new Phoenix-based cars and sell them as Saabs. It will be interesting to see if either side manages to start production though it looks like Spyker, with Youngman’s deep pockets, may have the advantage.

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