GM decided to grant Saab 30 days worth of life support to await new potential buyers. If no buyer is found within 30 days, then Saab is a goner. That’s the message all Saab workers and enthusiasts were given yesterday, to a certain relief. GM and Saab have confirmed there are potential buyers out there, but who are they? Who’s in, who’s out?
There are supposed to be at least 4 interested buyers; BAIC has confirmed they are interested in Saab – but what exactly they are interested in at Saab are unclear. Is it 100% ownership? A partnership with other buyers? Bits and pieces of Saab’s technology? TTAC’s Bertel Schmitt figures they’d take the new 9-5, but not old tooling or production assets.
Merbanco has confirmed interest too. In a dialogue with Saabsunited.com, their CEO Christoffer Johnston expressed interest, given the right conditions. But in a statement to Reuters, Mr. Johnston says Merbanco are ruled out as a bidder for Saab. “We were disappointed to learn we were not invited to move forward in our efforts for Saab,” Johnston writes in an email to Reuters.
Renco is also reportedly one of the interested parties, but the mysterious new bidder on the block is…Spyker! The Dutch supercar manufacturer, owned mainly by Lithuanian bank Snoras, and Russian Conversbank, has roots going back to 1898, when the two brothers Jacobus and Hendrik-Jan Spijker made their first car using a Benz engine. Production ceased in 1925, only to resurrect in 2000. Focusing on the super exclusive, super fast, supercar segment, they kind of remind you of Koenigsegg, right? Their spokesman, Mike Stainton told Swedish businesspaper e24 “We’re interested in Saab, and are just now talking to General Motors”. And even though they’ve lost money for the last 5 years (more Koenigsegg parallels?), with a registered motto from 1914 saying: “Nulla tenaci invia est via” (for the endurant, no way is impossible), who knows what they might try.
On the other hand, given GM’s sad history of not pulling off even the simplest sale (ho-Hummer…) 30 days or nothing sounds like … nothing.