By on December 4, 2009

Sigh. (

It’s true, we [the Netherlands and Sweden] are small northern countries. We don’t have big German conglomerates to help us out. I just felt like we have to stand together because we’re the same people, we have the same DNA.

Spyker CEO Victor Muller explains his firm’s racially-charged interest in Saab to the LA Times‘ Dan Neil, while somehow managing to avoid any reference to Chris Bangle. Does this mean Muller is OK leaving Saab production in Sweden as a term for the European Investment Bank Loan?

Absolutely. As a matter of principle. The only truly authentic thing about a brand is provenance. The [Porsche] Boxster is built in Finland, OK, no problem. But could they be built in Mumbai? Sure, they’d be 20% cheaper but nobody would buy it.

Sigh. Given Muller’s soft spot for ethnicity-based branding and the sale of 9-5 tooling to China’s BAIC, we’re going to guess that the Saab-Spyker deal isn’t going to work out so well. [Hat Tip: Thor Johnsen]

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32 Comments on “Quote Of The Day: The Worst Possible Reason For Buying A Car Company Edition...”

  • avatar

    Not the most enlightened viewpoint but nevertheless country-of-origin certainly plays an  important part in people’s initial perception of a vehicle.  Kind of like how I’ve never paid much attention to Spyker because after all, what can the Dutch know about building supercars anyway?  Real supercars are only made by Italians (and Northern ones at that).

  • avatar

    I just felt like we have to stand together because we’re the same people, we have the same DNA.
    Obviously the Dutch politicians don’t think so considering the way Geert Wilders is being treated when he says anything about immigration.  On the other hand, what’s wrong, TTAC, about cars retaining some ethnic/racial characteristics that reflect their origins?  Who wants a multicultural “we are the world” car with no specific characteristics?  A Corvette is not a Ferrari, and the day they (and other brands) morph into each other is the day I’ll start riding a bus.  Somehow a Chinese SAAB is a big question mark to me.

  • avatar

    What an arrogant dumba**.  Somehow, I don’t think it will be legal (or nearly as profitable) when he tries to limit sales of SAAB’s to people sharing his DNA.  BTW, ask him which part of his DNA he is refering to … if it is mitachondrial, then in all likelihood, this harkens back to a woman in Africa.  Check that, he’s an arrogant, ignorant, double dumba**.

  • avatar

    BTW, Ingvar Kampraad (another eugenics-friendly type) never seemed to suffer by outsourcing his production to Low Cost Countries and hyping it for its racial purity (just look in the catalogue at all the photos of the Swedish-DNA populating the design department and ask, “where are all the photos of all the 3rd-World-DNA from the production department\'”).

  • avatar

    So a guy who’s foolish with money makes a great opportunity for blog-fodder moral preening because he’s arrogant, ignorant, a racist…whatever words we can throw at him for having ethnic pride and being the color and fair featured man he is.
    The world over you’d find the same attitude if it were regarding the South Koreans, the Japanese, the Chinese, the Germans, the Indians, the French… and let’s not forget Americans who wanted American car companies to survive and thrive as three strong American offerings.
    Unbecoming of TTAC, Mr. Niedermeyer, to try to get some cheap interest off let’s call the Norwegian a racist for being proud to be from Scandinavia.  People are the same in that sentiment the whole world over.
    Would a boy from Flint be a racist for saying he wanted a strong Buick because it was built by the same people, with the same DNA, in the same land?

  • avatar

    Being African American I believe He has a right to express his beliefs. However, 3rd world labor is what is. My relatives in Ethiopia dont have a car factory there, and if they did, I wouldnt buy one!  We all have pride in our forefathers, stating such is not a crime. Not that any of this matters. Its not news. The company is a dead man walking.

  • avatar

    Spyker will be bailing out of SAAB quicker than Victor can say DNA, when they realize that its more company than they can afford or manage.  Just as they did with their Formula One team. 

  • avatar

    The worst thing you can call a person is racist.  It’s a real career ender, and I’m very disappointed TTAC is playing the race card for something so innocuous.  But, like many politically correct phrases, it’s mostly meaningless when you try and parse it.  The fact that people have pride in their country, ethnicity or race, and celebrate their heritage is, it appears, only bad for white guys.  It’s OK for everyone else, it seems.  Liberalism has destroyed us.  Welcome, our multicultural overlords.

  • avatar

    TTAC, I think you’re overreaching on this one, and playing a dangerous game with your own credibility.

  • avatar
    John Horner

    In this context, one man’s patriotism is another man’s racism I guess.

  • avatar

    I think Muller was simply conflating culture and DNA, and yes, that’s a little ignorant, but he probably forgot to take biology when he was in college. In any case, I doubt that he’s a racist. He’s just proud to be from Sweden, just as I am proud to be from the United States. Cars often do take character from their home countries, and they used to do this even more. I remember very fondly the Saabs and Volvos of my youth. The French, the Germans, the Italians, the Japanese, and our own cars of the middle of the last century all had national character, and I would love to see Saab once again evince some Scandinavian character. I would love to see an Israeli car, but I’m glad my own great state, Massachusetts, does not have a state car. I’m afraid it would be akin to that Pelosimobile.

  • avatar

    A man says out loud what everybody knows and he gets crucified…

  • avatar

    I think so, too. After all, Farago once argued the same thing, arguing it would ruin branding.

  • avatar
    Jeff Puthuff

    We don’t have big German conglomerates to help us out.
    No, just a Russian tycoon. I’d rather be in bed with a German conglomerate than a Russian tycoon. Has Herr Muller qualified Herr Antonov with a cheek swab DNA test?

  • avatar
    The Sinjinzen

    Mr Muller is not Swedish, he’s not even Scandinavian – he’s from Holland, the Netherlands, Dutch. And even though there are some common DNA, like 6.000 years back, and there were some loose war-alliances between Holland and Sweden in the 17th century, the dutch are more related to the Germans, Swiss, Belgians and Austrians than the Nordic people. That’s why this sounds funny.
    One wonders what his, and his Russian oligarks’, real agenda is.
    And BTW; the day TTAC becomes politically correct, that day – I for one – will stop visiting the site.

  • avatar

    Right on Mr.GreenMan n’ others – well said.

    The only bigots here are guys like Robert.Walter, who are always the first to degrade, insult, and cat call in the interests of a kinder, gentler, more tolerant world.

    Muller wants to keep a Swedish car company Swedish. Dear God…he’s worse than Hitler!!! Silence him! Quick!!! The monster must die…!

    Get real…

    Best of luck to Muller and SAAB…and I think everyone can agree they are going to need it.

    • 0 avatar

      I had no quarrel with the objective, only the rationale.  As David Holzman rightly pointed out, brand purity and ethnic purity are two distinctly separate things.  There are many good justifications for wanting to try and rescue SAAB, genetic commonality is the least of them.

  • avatar

    Due to my mongrel DNA I shouldn’t be commenting on this at all, but at the risk of offending some, I’d like to offer this (from my very humble position, as per naure would have it): Are the Dutch Scandinavian?

    Wow, that’s news to me.

    Again, do not, of course, intend to offend any superiority complex.

    Carry on…

  • avatar

    For the umpteenth time, somebody, please buy Saab from GM.  Liberate it.  You could probably make the case for Daewoo and Opel too.

  • avatar

    Nationalism?  Certainly.  Jingoism?   Perhaps.  Racism?  Nah.  The usage of the term DNA is overreaching a bit, but the statement doesn’t offend me or strike me as more racist then the average American wanting American cars built in America or the Japanese fiercely defending their domestic rice market.
    It is a decision based on emotion rather then economics, but I think country of origin is a consideration in a great many number of goods consumers the world over buy.  What we feel in our minds and hearts is expressed with our dollars/rupees/RMB/Euros/rubles, why not Victor Muller?

  • avatar
    Martin Schwoerer

    I have to side with Ed here.
    Talking about DNA and common northernness is plain stupid. And Ed didn’t say Muller is a racist: he says that Muller said a racially-charged thing. Which he did.
    And it’s digustingly arrogant to say that nobody would buy a Boxster if it were built in India. Not only not true, but also evident of an incomplete understanding of automotive branding.

  • avatar

    So they will build cars in Ethiopia. Dont I feel silly! See how much time I have to study my culture?

  • avatar

    I don’t see it as any more racist than me rooting for Ford to survive or maybe a more exact example would be a Canadian rooting for Ford. I do think his geography is a bit muddled though.
    having national pride in your countries products is a good thing. Our embrace of globalism has seriously hurt our already wounded manufacturing base.

  • avatar
    Kristjan Ambroz

    This coming from Spyker, who has just relocated their whole production from Holland to the UK? Nice timing :D

  • avatar

    “It’s true, we [the Netherlands and Sweden] are small northern countries.”
    That’s only partially true. Both are in Nothern Europe, but
    1. The NL is a very small land area with a good size population of 15-17 million.
    2. Sweden has  a much, much larger area, far larger than the UK, Germany or Italy (or even France, maybe) but a smaller population at approx. 10  million.

  • avatar
    Kristjan Ambroz

    generally agree, with the exception of France, which is the largest (areawise) country in Europe, if you exclude ex-Soviet Republics :)

  • avatar

    A little racist imo. I don’t mind people having a soft spot for a country, even their own country, but I wanna see why not another country. The Boxster argument is seemingly pretty narrow minded ie. blind and egotistical. . Its like saying I want faith in God to stay in Rome cause that is where it started (is it?).  I’m not religious (no offense), so the hell with buying American for Americas sake alone.

    Like Spyker, everyperson is ego centric ie. thinks they are better or worse than another, to some degree (me included). Ego centric means they focus on external conditions to justify their hierarchy. Hence the real reason why Racism exists and buying American/sweedish, and most of the worlds problems.

  • avatar

    The best SAAB ever made was made in Japan.

    The second best SAAB ever made was made in Ohio.

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