By on August 6, 2012

“YES!!!!!!!”

That was the first comment  from the acolytes of the recently a bit depressed fansite Saabsunited, when it was announced that Victor Muller’s Spyker sued GM for $3 billion over Saab’s bankruptcy.

“It’s hard to believe. We have no comment until we see the lawsuit,” said GM spokesman James Cain to Reuters. The complaint is attached to this message.

According to a statement by the propeller-brand, Saab’s bankruptcy was GM’s fault:

“GM’s actions had the direct and intended objective of driving Saab Automobile into bankruptcy, a result of GM’s … interfering with a transaction between Saab Automobile, Spyker and Chinese investor Youngman that would have permitted Saab Automobile to restructure and remain a solvent, going concern.”

Spyker sued for “tortious interference with economic ecpectancy”  (translation: GM mucked with Saab’s deal with Youngman to protect itself from competition in China.)  The suit was brought in the U.S. District Court for the eastern district of Michingan (Soutrhern Division.)

Now isn’t the aggrieved entity Saab and not Spyker? Sure it is.  Saab’s new owners apparently don’t see much merit in the lawsuit. Says the press release:

“Since Saab Automobile is in receivership and hence incapable to contribute to the costs of litigation, Spyker and Saab Automobile have entered into an agreement pursuant to which Spyker will bear the costs of such litigation in exchange for a very substantial share of Saab Automobile’s award when the proceedings are successful. Spyker has secured the financial backing required to see the lawsuit through to the end from a third party investor.”

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

36 Comments on “Get The Pöpcørn: Spyker Sues GM For 3 Billion...”


  • avatar
    Astigmatism

    How do you get “Saab’s new owners apparently don’t see much merit in the lawsuit” from “Saab automobile is in receivership and hence incapable to contribute to the costs of litigation”? Do you have fifteen million dollars lying around to pay a couple dozen lawyers at Patton Boggs a thousand bucks an hour?

    • 0 avatar
      Madroc

      You don’t. But it’s hardly the first time a journalist, or this site, has demonstrated ignorance of the legal system.

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        There’s a rumor that Spyker is also going to ask for punitive damages of at least 350 billion USD, for the collective mental anguish GM imposed on Saab fans by having the temerity of trying to sell Saab to another entity, as it was a financial dead end for GM, and not succeeding (unless some obscure Chinese company miraculously swoops in and gobbles Saab up at the last minute, post bankruptcy, obviously).

        Seriously, this is a frivolous lawsuit and Spyker should get their ass spanked by the judge.

        Did I mention that I actually liked Saab products PRE-General Motors ownership? (no one can hang the Saab hater label on me).

  • avatar
    Omnifan

    And one wonders how SAAB was going to be profitable…….

  • avatar
    dejal1

    If the GM/Spyker deal was “nothing to the Chinese”, how can “No” be mucking up the deal.

  • avatar
    el scotto

    Are they tilting at windmills or is this an attempt at corporate blackmail? This will get ugly and sordid and provide blogs for weeks.

  • avatar
    Geekcarlover

    Saab, the Jason Voorhees of the auto world. It just won’t die.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    “Now isn’t the aggrieved entity Saab and not Spyker? Sure it is.”

    No, it isn’t. Saab and Spyker are both plaintiffs in the case. Spyker was a party to the supposed proposed Youngman deal, so why wouldn’t it be a plaintiff in a case that alleges that the Youngman deal was interfered with?

    Still, I would caution the Saab fans against expecting too much. Even if Saab and Spyker could win or settle the case, I wouldn’t expect Saab to be revived with the proceeds.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    LLN has a bit of a different spin on the story. They are reporting that because GM still owned preferred shares of Saab as part of the Spyker deal they had the legal right to veto a sale attempt.

    If that’s true then I would say this lawsuit is dead in the water.

    You can’t have it both ways. DEATH TO BAILOUT COMPANIES! DEATH TO BIG GOVERNMENT! SAVE US FROM THE PREFERRED STOCK SHARES! REGULATORS, SAVE US!!!

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      “They are reporting that because GM still owned preferred shares of Saab as part of the Spyker deal they had the legal right to veto a sale attempt.”

      You mean that they are speculating?

      My own speculation is that the answer lies in the language of the licensing agreement, a copy of which is attached to the complaint filed with the court but is not included in the PDF link above.

      • 0 avatar
        APaGttH

        http://www.businessspectator.com.au/bs.nsf/Article/Spyker-sues-GM-over-failed-Saab-takeover-WWLT8?opendocument

        Spyker Cars, the tiny Dutch company that bought Swedish carmaker Saab from General Motors for $US74 million in 2010…

        …As part of the deal selling Saab, GM retained say over GM technology used by Saab – including the chassis of most of its models. It also kept $US327 million in preferred shares in Saab, with payments due to start several years after the sale, if Saab turns profitable.

        Spyker has never turned a profit, and Saab never turned a profit under its oversight. When the takeover occurred in 2010, most analysts were extremely sceptical that Spyker would be able to turn Saab around, saying that it didn’t have the quality to compete against high-end luxury cars, nor the volumes needed to compete in the upper-middle class market.

        As Saab’s financial position grew increasingly dire, Muller cast about for various buyers for Saab…

        Hmmmm…

        Retained all licenses for all GM technology being used by Saab (basically everything).

        Control of $327 million in preferred stock shares versus the $74 million Spyker paid.

        Spyker never met a single agreed to CONTRACTUAL obligation with GM.

        Spyker sues GM.

        Ya, LLN speculating. It’s one thing to be biased (either way) its another thing when you can simply look at the very public terms of agreement. You also don’t need to be a brain surgeon to go how does $74 million become $3 billion in the space of less than 24 months on what was already a dead brand walking – exactly?

        If Spyker agreed that they basically didn’t get any IP and all they bought was a “brand,” by their own agreement, and left GM with a larger chunk of preferred stock shares, by agreement, then it was their fault for signing such a lopsided deal to begin with.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        “It’s one thing to be biased (either way) its another thing when you can simply look at the very public terms of agreement.”

        Unless you have read the licensing agreement, then you can’t know what the terms are.

        I’m pretty sure that you haven’t read it. I know for sure that I haven’t read it, and I have my suspicions that most members of the press haven’t read it.

        The licensing agreement obviously would have agreed to some form of licensing between the parties. Such an agreement would have likely included “reasonableness” language that would have restricted GM’s ability to withhold consent.

        The case may or may not have merit, but it will come down to that reasonableness language and what GM was obliged or not obliged to do on its side of the deal. I doubt that Spyker will get $3 billion or that a $3 billion judgment would result in the resurrection of Saab, but that’s a different matter.

      • 0 avatar
        Athos Nobile

        So… where can we find the aforementioned license agreement? Would make for a nice read.

    • 0 avatar
      dejal1

      That has always made me laugh at Saabs United. Big evil GM beholden to the US government.

      Lousy Swedish government for not stepping in and saving Saab.

      I like this comment

      “We have all been terribly wronged by GM and now there is a chance for justice!”

      We? You own a freakin product. How were you wronged? If you had a warranty pre Spyker, it was honored. If you had a warranty post GM, talk to Sypker. GM didn’t wrong you.

  • avatar
    bunkie

    “Get The Pöpcørn”

    I know this is nitpicking, but as a speaker of both Swedish and Danish, this drives me nuts. The ö and the ø are the exact same letter. The first is Swedish and the second is Danish. The Nordic languages (Swedish, Danish and Norwegian in this case) have additional vowel sounds. The sound for this vowel is the same in all three languages, but the Danes (and the Norwegians because Denmark ruled Norway and imposed their spellings on Norwegian) use different characters to represent it. Danish has no double-dot, it uses the slash. Swedish uses the double-dot.

    And don’t get me started on the pronunciation of Copen-HAHGEN. Only Germans pronounce it that way and few things will piss off a Dane who lived through the occupation as much as that. It’s copen-HAYGEN if you’re speaking English.

    Now back to our on-going SAAB story…

  • avatar
    cdm

    Actually, it seems to me that the big question is an issue of discovery:

    Does GM want it’s arrangements and communications with it’s Chinese partners (and hence by extension the PRC government) made public in detail?

    My guess is “No”, so they will first try to get the suit thrown out on a technicality, then they will settle.

    • 0 avatar
      cdm

      Or maybe more importantly:

      Do GM’s Chinese partners – and by extension the Chinese government – want their arrangements and communications with GM made public in detail, or do they politely and firmly “suggest” to GM that this matter would be better handled if it went away?

  • avatar
    jpolicke

    I have a question regarding the Phoenix platform and who does or doesn’t have rights to it. Even if it was developed in-house by SAAB and shares nothing with the Opel platforms, if it was developed while being owned by GM then GM owns the IP. I would have thought that GM owns the work product if it was developed on GM’s time.

    • 0 avatar
      Seán Moloney

      The Phoenix platform was developed by Saab during the Spyker ownership. It is a heavily revised Epsilon 1 platform which is the basis of the current (well the recent) 9-3, which GM gave Saab as it is an outdated platform now that the Epsilon 2 platform is out. It uses a bit of GM IP, but most of it is Saab tech.

      I personally don’t think the lawsuit has much merit. Though apparently the basis of the lawsuit is the fact that GM signed an agreement with Saab to licence GM tech to Saab until the end of 2014. Apparently by threatening to stop supplying Saab in the event of the Chinese takeover GM violated the terms of the agreement and here we are.

      • 0 avatar
        binkje

        Personally i don’t think there is a Phoenix platform. We all know what it costs to develop a platform, even if its based on a previous one. Saab hasn’t had the time or resources to develop such a platform. If you don’t have the means to keep your production line running you sure can’t invest a billion to develop a platform and you sure can’t do it in one year either. It’s another nice attempt to disguise the real problems. Muller is a marketing guy that will tell you anything you would like to hear.

  • avatar
    jeff_vader

    Words fail me. I’m guessing that having dumped all of Spykers debt into Saab GB and made them profitable again, Muller has now decided he needs a little R&D money for his bonkers supercar company who have only ever made 30 cars and has gone acting Billy Big Man to the American courts.

    This will either end up with him being slipped a couple of million to shove off or GMs lawyers will destroy him. I’m sure that even has we speak they are looking with great interest into his links to fine up standing member of the banking community & close personal friend of Victor Muller, Vladamir Antonov.

    Methinks he has bitten off more than he can chew here…

  • avatar
    el scotto

    Maybe GM has the IP for a Saab to avoid a really big moose.

  • avatar
    chicagoland

    “We have been wronged by GM…” LOL!

    They want the GM engineered badge jobs to continue! WHo do they think designed their precious cars with ignition on the floor for the past 20 years?!

    Next, Oldsmobile owners will sue saying they were ‘wronged’.

  • avatar
    oldyak

    I could only hope that Spyker could sue G.M. into bankruptcy AGAIN so that it could die once and for all!!
    with NO taxpayer life support!!!

  • avatar
    jeff_vader

    Some of the comments on The Church Of The One True Saab at the moment defy belief. It staggers me that a bunch of people can be led by such blind faith by the actions of one man. They can’t even begin to comprehend that he might just be doing this to line his own pockets.
    Then there is one contributor on that site who must either be an employee of Spyker or a troll from a BMW/Audi site who enjoys stirring up the Saab fanboys. Over the last year his continuing praising of whatever the latest Muller party line is has just become embarassing, with always that hidden sweetner of either “I know something about EAG/North Street Capital/Youngaman/PangDa/Hawtai/the major european motor manufacturer with a blue and white badge who are going to save Saab that you don’t know,” or “I knew that. I always had my doubts about EAG/North Street Capital/Youngaman/PangDa/Hawtai/the major european motor manufacturer with a blue and white badge who are going to save Saab, I just couldn’t say anything at the time,”
    Now he’s at it again claiming that NEVS are “bigger than you can possibly imagine,” and that the lawsuit has been properly researched over six months and Muller can’t lose.
    The depth of the delusion on that site knows no bounds.
    As I’ve already posted I would imagine that GM has already set up a special legal division with the sole purpose of digging up dirt on Saint Victor. Personally, I can’t wait.

  • avatar
    Paddan

    Don’t dismiss the suit as BS until you read the documents that underlie it. I have not, so will wait to pass judgment. I will say this – Patton Boggs a well respected, substantial firm. Suspect it will settle and I don’t see any downside to it if I am sitting in Mueller’s shoes.

  • avatar

    Saab, never a dull moment. GM has time until the 28th to respond. I am curious what GM will come up with.

    • 0 avatar

      The problem is if you go for 3 billion, you lose credibility if you settle for let’s say one percent. Truth is that Muller can use all the millions he can lay his hands on. Hidden motive might also be that Muller is trying to deflect any liability himself.

  • avatar
    binkje

    General Motors Co on Friday dismissed claims made in a $3 billion lawsuit filed by Saab’s parent that the U.S. automaker deliberately bankrupted the Swedish company by blocking a deal with a Chinese investor.

  • avatar
    binkje

    Saab parent’s $3 billion lawsuit versus GM thrown out by U.S. judge


Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Subscribe without commenting

Recent Comments

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Staff

  • Authors

  • Brendan McAleer, Canada
  • Marcelo De Vasconcellos, Brazil
  • Matthias Gasnier, Australia
  • J & J Sutherland, Canada
  • Tycho de Feyter, China
  • W. Christian 'Mental' Ward, Abu Dhabi
  • Mark Stevenson, Canada
  • Faisal Ali Khan, India