After a torturous few months of indecision, GM has reportedly reached an agreement to sell Saab’s auto division to Dutch supercar company Spyker.
The deal reportedly gives GM $74 million up front, while it pockets $326 million in preferred shares from Saab’s new parent company. Also rumoured to be part of the deal is a guarantee that the Swedish government (who fought intently to keep the country’s second biggest car company afloat) is able to secure a 400 million euro loan.
Perhaps one of GM’s oddest requests in order to seal the deal was the insistence of removal of Spyker’s Chairman, Vladamir Antonov. Antonov is of Russian decent (his name really gives it away, doesn’t it?) and GM is quite adamant that their technology be kept out of the Russians proverbial hands. This was reportedly a condition in the now dead Opel-Magna deal as well. American pride is great, isn’t it? In any event, Antonov has agreed to step down in order for the deal to carry through.
Saab has had quite the tumultuous past decade or so. When GM bought it, the brand was all but forgotten. GM invested virtually no money into it and as a result, the quality of product, marketing and sales all suffered. Saab then, unsurprisingly got cut from the ‘new’ GM, which is essentially now being funded by both American and Canadian governments. Things started to look up for Saab when fellow Swedish car maker Koenigsegg stepped in offering to buy the brand, which saved it from almost certain death -a fate that had already been bestowed upon Saturn and Pontiac. That deal managed to fall through and the Grim Reaper was then again knocking on Saab’s door. Spyker managed to come fourth with a bid, which ultimately got rejected and GM then announced the liquidation of Saab. Spyker then offered this second bid, and after a ridiculously long wait, GM finally accepted the bid, and here we are.
Saab’s future looks rather bright right now. The 2011 Saab 9-5 is rumoured to be the model that really held things together during the deal discussions. It is supposedly one of the most advanced Saab’s ever and a Sportcombi version (that’s wagon in human speak) has already taken cold weather testing duty. The 9-4X crossover is reportedly ready for crash testing as well.
How will Spyker do with Saab? Who knows. The brand isn’t exactly a volume seller, so its experience in dealing with a large company such as Saab is limited, but hey, Saab’s just glad to call just about anyone their parent company right about now. Congrats to Spyker!