By on January 26, 2010

Who would have thought, after the eulogizing and pessimistic reports? GM has just announced that they have reached an agreement to sell Saab to Spyker. GM did not disclose financial details. Reuters asked its “source familiar with the matter.” The source said Spyker would buy Saab for $400m. A paltry $74m is in cash, the rest is deferred shares. The deal is not completely clinched: It is subject to a Swedish government guarantee on a €400m ($564m) loan from the European Investment Bank. Sweden told GM, it is looking into the matter. GM’s press release is after the the jump. Meanwhile, we’ll try to find out what it took to bring Lazarus back from the dead. Or how likely it is to really happen this time. Haven’t we been here before?

GM Reaches Agreement to Sell Saab to Spyker

2010-01-26

DETROIT – General Motors and Spyker Cars NV today confirmed that they have reached a binding agreement on the purchase of Saab Automobile AB.

“Today’s announcement is great news for Saab employees, dealers and suppliers, great news for millions of Saab customers and fans worldwide, and great news for GM,” said John Smith, GM vice president for corporate planning and alliances.

“General Motors, Spyker Cars, and the Swedish government worked very hard and creatively for a deal that would secure a sustainable future for this unique and iconic brand, and we’re all happy for the positive outcome,” Smith said.

As part of the agreement, Spyker intends to form a new company, Saab Spyker Automobiles, which will carry the Saab brand forward. The sale will be subject to customary closing conditions, including receipt of applicable regulatory, governmental and court approvals. Other terms and conditions specific to the sale will be disclosed in due time.

The Swedish government is at present reviewing the transaction and the related request for guarantees of a Saab Automobile loan that has been requested from the European Investment Bank. Assuming quick action, the transaction is expected to close in mid-February, and previously announced wind down activities at Saab will be immediately suspended, pending the close of the transaction.

“Throughout the negotiations, GM has always had the hope to find a solution for Saab that would avoid a wind down of the brand,” added Nick Reilly, president, GM Europe. “We’ve worked with many parties over the past year, including governments and investors, and I’m very pleased that we could come to such a good conclusion, one that preserves jobs in Sweden and elsewhere. GM will continue to support Saab and Spyker on their way forward.”

GM did not disclose financial details. Reuters asked its “source familiar with the matter.” The source said Spyker would buy Saab for $400m. A paltry $74m is in cash, the rest is deferred shares.

The deal is not completely clinched: It is subject to a Swedish government guarantee on a €400m ($564m) loan from the European Investment Bank. Sweden told GM, it is looking into the matter.

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48 Comments on “Breaking: Saab Sold To Spyker...”


  • avatar
    Stingray

    Hell YEAH!!!!!!

    • 0 avatar
      Pig_Iron

      Agreed. I sure hope they can make a go of it.

    • 0 avatar
      CarPerson

      Why “Hell Yea”, exactly??

      They need $500M in working capital and $1.5B net liquid capitalization to fund the next products. At best they have one quarter of that and few prospects of getting even a tiny fraction of what they need.

      It doesn’t “pencil”, even for a long shot.

      Best guess is this a way to funnel money to workers who will be out on the street in less than a year. Incumbants spending government money to ensure re-election? It must be an election year somewhere.

  • avatar
    Phred_da_Phrog

    So… they sold off the old and new 9-5, so what’s that leave the firm with? An aging 9-3 and a Trailblazer with a key between the seats?

  • avatar
    Autojunkie

    It’s good to see that 3400 direct jobs (not including dealers, suppliers, and surrounding businesses) will be saved.

    Good luck to Saab Spyker Automobiles!

    • 0 avatar
      Pig_Iron

      Yes, many good people do their damnedest to put out first rate machines. It’s sad their efforts are so often betrayed by higher ups. Hopefully they get a chance to stand on their own two feet this time.

  • avatar
    keepaustinweird

    They didn’t sell off the new 9-5. New 9-5 and 9-4x headed to high volume production in the next few months per GM conf call (both are already in low volume production). Great to see the brand get one last run at solvency. What an interesting combo SAAB Spyker should be. I’m excited about the potential.

  • avatar
    Autojunkie

    @ Phred_da_Phrog

    GM sold off the old 9-3 and old 9-5. The new 9-5 stays with the Saab Spyker Automobiles for now.

  • avatar
    briancataldi

    Meh, just prolonging Saab’s death IMHO.

  • avatar
    gsnfan

    Finally. I thought it was never going to happen.

  • avatar
    Ingvar

    Allow me to be skeptic:

    “General Motors, Spyker Cars, and the Swedish government worked very hard and creatively for a deal that would secure a sustainable future for this unique and iconic brand…”

    “…will carry the Saab brand forward.”

    So, what is really being sold here? With the old platforms gone to China, and the new 9-5 vetoed by GM, what are Saab Spyker going to produce? All I here is a lot of talking about brands…

  • avatar

    Too bad Spyker owns SAAB after GM sold the family jewels to China. And there are millions of SAAB fans and customers? I’d wager its more like 200,000 on a good day.

  • avatar
    Ingvar

    Spyker is paying GM with stocks, stocks that are inflated due to the affair. So, if Spyker gets their hand on the 400 million euro loan, and pays GM back 350 million euro worth of stock, what has they really paid for? And with what?

  • avatar
    gslippy

    Count me shocked. We’ll see if it really happens.

    GM has paid a total of $1.1 billion to acquire Saab (in 2009 dollars): $600 million in 1990, and $125 million in 2000. Not counting what they invested in the business over the years. And now they get only $400 million out of it. I guess that’s better than nothing.

  • avatar
    Carlson Fan

    Oh wonderful! I’m sure Saab will once again return to the success they previously enjoyed before being bought by GM…LMAO

  • avatar
    Contrarian

    Saved… for now.

  • avatar
    criminalenterprise

    First good news out of GM in a long time. Too bad it’s literally “out of” GM. Best of luck to Spyker.

  • avatar
    Ingvar

    I can’t find any details anywhere. I want to know what was really included in the deal.

  • avatar
    GarbageMotorsCo.

    Great news. I hope Saab all of a sudden makes a huge comeback and smacks success right in the face of those scumbagss in Detroilet. Show Government Motors once and for all how f’n stupid they were for letting the brand whither on the vine with foolish rebadges of Subarus and POS Trailblazers to go with 10 year model runs.

    I have a newfound respect for SAAB and they will no longer be off the shopping list because they were associated with Government Motors crap.

  • avatar

    If you hate GM you should take Saab right back off the list then.

    GM will still own a good chunk of the company and Saab will still be peddling GM vehicles with their name and styling cues on them for a good long time. The new 9-5 and 9-4X are GM vehicles throughout and versions of vehicles GM sells under their own brands right now.

    I too believe this is only prolonging the inevitable for Saab, it certainly hasn’t “saved” anything.

    Spyker is a boutique shop that fashions less than 100 cars each year for six figures a pop. They have zero mass-automaking experience and no money to invest in coming up with completely new vehicles for Saab. It would be like Hennessey or Saleen buying up Pontiac or Saturn and getting a plant, what exactly could either of them really do with it?

    The entire deal is very suspect.

    • 0 avatar
      Nutella

      Trishield, the truth is that Saab taught Opel how to make turbocharged vehicle that handle well, have smooth fuel efficient engines, good handling and good crash tests.
      Opel couln’t do any of that prior to Saab engineering infiltration.
      They were unsafe, outdated, nasty and unreliable.
      Given than Buick are rebadges of Opel, you get my drift.
      Saab taught GM to make better cars, and got nothing in return….well almost, they have a more efficient factory now.

    • 0 avatar
      Robert.Walter

      I’m no great GM fan, nor SAAB hater, but I think the previous post overstates SAAB’s contribution to Opel, and I would rather say it reverses the reality of the true situation.

    • 0 avatar
      Robert.Walter

      Depending on what components GM/Opel is contracted to supply to SAAB (i.e. powertrain, steering, stampings, license fees), this just might be a perfect opportunity for GM to suck the 400M € EIB loan out of Spyker…

    • 0 avatar

      So in turn Opel taught Saab how to make an actual car then instead of just bits and pieces? Because Saab has been selling reskinned Opels for quite a long time now.

      And there is no Buick rebadge of Opel other than the upcoming Insignia, which has no Saab influence whatsoever. Oh and the new 9-5 is a rebadge of the Buick LaCrosse which is a gussied up Chevrolet Malibu.

    • 0 avatar
      Nutella

      Prior to the mess orchestrated at Saab by GM US with the help of Opel (that is having Saab engineers reassigned to Opel and other GM divisions to help them make decent cars), Saab was developping inhouse all the important bits (trionic,engines, ATC, crashworthiness) and was leading GM in technology (patents etc)- Due to its low volume, it made sense to use redesigned(to make them better) Opel pltaforms All the imporatnt stuff (engines, electronic, suspensions, safety) was done in house. Several years after the first 9-3 and 9-5 were launched, and the Saab engineering spread around, Opel (wuth the Vectra) started making cars that were substantially better- that is , good crash tests, better handling and equipped with turbos with Saab know how(trionic 8). Saab was even tasked at the time with designing the premium platform for GM europe that was given to Alfa Romeo for the 159 after the divorce with Fiat. Now go drive an Alfa Romeo 159 with the Saab chassis and ask yoursef wich other GM car come close in handling ?
      Ask yourself why suddenly, all medium sized GM cars in the US will be available with turbos ? Look at the GM Ecotec engine, and compare the design with the 4 cyl Saab H engine that preceded it.

    • 0 avatar
      Christy Garwood

      All, as a long time GM employee, with both manufacturing and product engineering experience, I can safely say that all GM regions share product, engine, and transmission design information and manufacturing techniques. Trollhattan is no more or less responsible for the design of any particular vehicle than is Russelsheim; Warren and Pontiac, MI; Oshawa, Ontario; Holden – Melbourne; Sao Paulo, Brazil; Shanghai; Bupyeong, Incheon.

    • 0 avatar
      Nutella

      Your comment is obscuring the fact that GM cars (in particular Opel cars) became more Saab like than the other way around. Saab didn’t have much to learn from GM: they were in for the economies of scale.
      Drive an MY 2000 Opel, MY 2000 Saab back to back with the new Opel Insignia and you’ll notice immediately that the Insignia has become ….a Saab, which is good thing for an Opel.

    • 0 avatar
      TEXN3

      SAAB would have been dead long ago if GM didn’t start sharing it’s Opel components (platforms, electronics, etc). My father-in-law has 2 SAABS, for what reason I have no clue…same with his Volvo and the Volvo I inherited from my wife (thanks dear!). SAAB may have lead some R&D in turbocharging, using a Haldex AWD system, and safety…but they didn’t “lead the way” for GM at all. Have essentially 2 cars, in 25 years, prior to GM ownership doesn’t say much about having a sustainable future. And then having essentially 2 cars (excluding blatant rebadging) over th past 15 years surely hasn’t helped.

      There has been no SAAB-only car since the early 900, which was based on the 1960-era 99. Everything since then has been GM (and Opel), but with SAAB engineers doing the fine-tuning.

      SAAB got an extension in life due to GM since the SAAB Truck didn’t want anything to do with the little quirky, and money-losing, cars.

      To be honest, if there was one company best suited to absorb the SAAB name, it would have been Subaru. But I’d hate to have seen Subaru go downwards because of such a foolish purchase.

    • 0 avatar
      Nutella

      FYI, GM died last year, GM is the company that wasn’t sustainable.
      Saab is ironically the only part of old GM that could be sold as yesterday’s events proved ;-)

      The only reason why you can still talk about GM is because of the socialist government running the US. The GM company you cherish was one the biggest money loser in the world.

    • 0 avatar
      TEXN3

      Nutella, trust me…I don’t cherish GM (never really have) or our current form of government (never really did). SAAB was just another piglet sucking on the GM teat which left it dry as well. SAAB is only being sold, no-given away if the Swedish gov’t (now, talk about socialist!) can come up with the money, and mainly because of a concern for people’s jobs and it’s a national treasure. Why hasn’t the Swedish government come to rescue Volvo from the Chinese?

  • avatar
    getacargetacheck

    The cars will remain sales-proof. Even more so with Saab’s bankruptcy. This reminds me of the Phoenix purchase of MG Rover. It’ll be over in a few years if that long.

  • avatar
    Ingvar

    Apparently, the new 9-5 is included in the deal. Victor Muller is having a press conference in Stockholm as of now. The 74 million dollars payed, was payed to the Russian investor Vladimir Antonov, to buy him out of the deal.

  • avatar
    26theone

    Sold like Hummer sold to Tengzhong Heavy Industrial Machinery sold? Or sold like Saturn to Penske sold?

    Dont get ahead of yourselves.

    • 0 avatar
      Christy Garwood

      Good points. Sale of businesses, like houses, are never really sold until the deal closes. And when national governments have to approve the sale or loans, closings may or may not proceed along the time line the buyer and seller wish.

    • 0 avatar
      gslippy

      That’s what I meant by my previous post; you’ve said it better. Lots of other suitors have passed on Saab for a reason, and it’s for sale for a reason.

      Saab’s business model must have some hidden inner beauty, or maybe the beauty is only skin-deep. So far it’s been the latter.

  • avatar
    stuki

    My guess is; somehow, some way, decision making executives at Spyker, workers at Saab, a few Swedish politicians up for reelection, and someone at GM who would otherwise have more cleaning up to do, will get the long end of this stick, while widely dispersed taxpayers fronting public money will get the short end. And the lawyers cheerleading the eventual quarrel as Saab sinks anyway, will get the longest end of all.

    Hope I’m wrong, though, as I generally like Saabs, and suspect a relative decline in the importance of the Swedish auto industry will take its toll on the rally and general car culture in Sweden, as well as its neighbor Finland. Nothing like frozen lakes and snow covered logging roads for cheap, mass market hooning.

  • avatar
    NoChryslers

    I’m happy for the workers; workers who actually make quality cars…

  • avatar
    nicnoc

    ‘fraid gslippy has it right. This is nothing but an arse covering excercise by the Swedes, and a clever way to disguise a E400 cash-flow to GM/Opel courtesy of Swedish taxpayers. The fly in the ointment was the Russian banker – but he’s out. Now, the only possible fall guys are the sappy Spyker execs. If their is a big success, GM will step back in to take the credit.

    In America, this is what we call a win-win-win.

  • avatar

    I dunno…I think the market is wide-open. The “new” Saab just has to dispel THE german auto-superiority myth perped by long-gone VW Beetles and MB diesels. Ultimate Driving Machines? Maybe when the roads are dry. Otherwise, they GOTTA have their snow tires. The Volvo safety thing started because rear-drive Volvos had a tendency to go airborne ina Swedish second when they hit a bit of frost and launched into a tree. Saabs never had that tendency. Now that the auto world is looking to smaller displacements and has discovered TURBOS, Saabs had a turbo model since ’77 and only turbos in the US since ’98. Get some diesel and hybrids cookin and theyll be all-good.

    The auto industry has too much capacity. Ya dont KILL the low-volume innovators, ya(somehow?) make the beigeautospackle-makers lose a shift or two. How many automakers does Japan, China, Korea, the US, Canada, Europe, The WORLD REALLY need? A cottage-industry like Saab that makes 150K cars a year if theyre lucky is hardly THE problem.

  • avatar
    mtypex

    “What did Saab get in return?”

    Money! Why else would Saab or Suzuki sell their souls?

    .. in Suzuki’s case, to GM and then to VW!
    Subaru has fared better, from Nissan to GM to Toyota. Well, or not.

  • avatar
    geozinger

    It would be great if SAAB were able to get back to building the types of cars it built before the GM acquisition. I say this as a GM fan, but honestly, I’d rather have Opel badged Opels here in the States rather than SAAB-badged Opels.

    The details of this ‘done-deal’ haven’t been released yet, but I would like to think there’s still a place for SAAB in this world. If not, I hope the end comes quickly. And, if so, they get a Viking funeral.

    • 0 avatar
      Dr Strangelove

      “And, if so, they get a Viking funeral.”

      How does a Viking funeral work? Lots of booze?

    • 0 avatar
      geozinger

      @Dr Strangelove- typically the deceased is sent off to sea in a floating funeral pyre, on their way to Valhalla. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Viking_funeral

      I think the booze is for the survivors left on shore. The Irish would describe that as a wake.

  • avatar
    the duke

    Having briefly owned a 1981 Turbo, I have a soft spot for Saab and really like the looks of the new 9-5 (yes, I know its got a lot of GM in it, but I like it nonetheless) and want them to succeed. Cards are stacked against them, and Spyker, though.

    One thing in that press release really puzzles me:

    “…the transaction is expected to close in mid-February”

    “previously announced wind down activities at Saab will be immediately suspended, pending the close of the transaction.”

    So until the European bank decides if it will cough up cash, GM keeps gutting Trollhattan…only to give Spyker an empty factory come mid-february?

    • 0 avatar
      Christy Garwood

      Duke, remember that the current 9-5 tooling has been sold to a Chinese car manufacturer. BAIC, I think. That tooling has to be packaged and shipped.

      Also remember that GM assigned wind down supervisors to Saab. That is the activity that has been suspended until the transaction with Spyker closes in February.

      As a GM employee I don’t have any more info than any of you, but from what I read, I think that there must be discussions (either on-going or past) about the new 9-5 tooling. My guess is that the tooling will be used in the Trollhattan plant.

      Remember when Koenigsegg was going to buy Saab? There were reports that GM was going to produce vehicles for them for some time period. Similar discussions are probably going on with Spyker. But none of us will know the details until the ink is dry on the contract.

  • avatar
    tparkit

    Try thinking about it like this:

    – GM did not “sell” Saab. At best, GM gave it away. Most likely: GM partnered with the Swedish government to pay Stryker to take it.

    – Don’t be fooled by the $74 million figure. It’s a safe bet GM sugared the balance sheet to convince Stryker that Stryker can come out ahead on this after Saab fails.

    – No public sector lender would put a wooden nickle into this heap of crap. That’s why the Swedish government guarantees were necessary.

    – Look for continued GM “involvement”. Translation: The US taxpayers will funnel money to Stryker via GM investments in what will be presented as a glowing high-tech clean green automotive leader.

    – Giving Stryker money to “buy” Saab is what is floating this deal. ANY deal for ANY car company or division can be made to work if Washington puts enough cash on the hood. That’s why we should never be surprised when Lazarus pops up. He’s still dead, but he can be made to walk a short distance to a new grave located on someone else’s property.

    – What’s the goal of all this? To allow Government Motors/Washington to avoid the stink of failure and financial loss. I can hardly wait for the spin: free markets are at work, Obama & co believe in the private sector and have begun the process of divesting themselves of an albatros they were forced to rescue out of a sense of duty, and GM is again proving it knows how to play on the world stage.

  • avatar
    Power6

    Too much romaticizing of SAAB and they aren’t even dead yet! Fact is worldwide car production capacity needs to contract and here is a good opportunity. Keeping the lights on another few months without a real plan is not “saving” any jobs.

    Saab is gone already. The key was put between the seats so the gearshift could be locked instead of the steering wheel. The original SAAB engineers would probably move it to the dash. Nowadays the ignition is still between the seats to make SAAB drivers feel special. Sorry tradition does not make a good replacement for innovation.

    I just don’t see any place for SAAB to go back to the ways that brought them up in the world. It will be hard for them to make it as a bit player. I’d love to see something other than a reskinned GM platform from them though.

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