The Saab-Spyker Deal Explained

Thor Johnsen
by Thor Johnsen
the saab spyker deal explained

It’s been a looooong wait and lots of nail biting for Saab employees and Saab enthusiasts around the world, but GM and Spyker have reached a preliminary agreement on a Saab sale. The deal includes amongst other things the rights to the Saab brand of course, the Trollhättan production facilities (which was important to Spyker – more on that in a bit), the rights to produce and sell the existing 9-3’s, the new 9-5 and 9-4x models. Former Saab CEO Jan-Åke Jonsson, who was let go when the liqudation of Saab started, will be reinstated as CEO. He, and Spykers CEO Victor Muller have been named the heroes of this deal – Jonsson for his endurance and stamina “He didn’t walk out the back-door as liquidation started – instead he started nightly negotiations, writes in a tribute to Jonssons’ role. And Spyker’s Muller’s charm and persistence have also been mentioned as a crucial part in securing Saab from GM.


Financing for the Spyker/Saab deal is not entirely known, but Victor Muller have allegedly contributed with private funds to secure the deal. But when asks him, he gets secretive. It’s mostly financed through loans, he says, but he refuses to specify sources saying “it’s about my own shareholder structure.”

What is clear is that he buys out the Russian black horse Viktor Antonov, which was a demand from both GM and the Swedish Government. Antonov will own nothinh in the new company, Muller says. But Muller himself will hold a 38% stake in the company. And Abu-Dabi based Mubadala will own 22,4%. The rest of Saab’s capital structure will consist of investment funds, each holding less then 5% of Saab”s equity. All this according to Muller himself, through


Under the terms of the deal, the following will take place.

1. Spyker Cars NV in Zeewolde, The Netherlands buys all Saab Automobile AB’s shares from GM’s subsidiary Saab Automobile Investment AB for US$ 74 million.

2. At Spyker’s general meeting later this spring, the Spyker NV*s name will change to Saab Spyker Automobiles NV. Saab will become a Subsidiary of SSA.

3. GM stops Saab’s liquidation and Jan Åke Jonsson and the rest of Saab’s manafgement is reinstated.

4. Payment to GM will happen in two stages: 50 million upon final contract signing, by Feb.15, and then 24 million by July 15 2010.

5. The contract between GM and Spyker are dependent on the €400m EIB loan. The Swedish government has said they will guarantee the loan, but the EU commission must approve the guarantee, and the EI Bank must grant the loan.

6. GM will partner in the new Saab Spyker for 7 years, by getting interest bearing preference shares worth USD 326 million (with a 1% voting rights). This is in practice a loan from GM to Spyker that is due Dec 31 2016.

7. Victor Muller will, through his privately owned company Tenaci Capital BV, resolve Vladimir Antonov from the deal. Antonov’s presence was an issue to GM and Sweden’s Gov’t.


Spyker’s plan for Saab includes production and sales of the existing 9-3 models, the new 9-5 and the new 9-4x ASAP, hopefully during April. Muller also wants to produce Spyker cars at the Trollhättan facilties. Today, Spyker are collaborating with Lotus, paying millions per year for development recources. With Saab Spyker these costs can be kept in-house. In an interview with AutoMotor&, Muller also says Saab will not release a 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8-series like Audi/BMW/Mercedes, but will instead concentrate on a few models. But he REALLY thinks the Saab Aero X is a model deserving to become reality. “At Spyker cars we know how to produce exclusive cars in small series, so…” he teases AMS


Jan Åke Jonsson says in an interview with that he reckons Saab will be profitable in 2012, which is when they will have finished the plan’s largest investments. Saab must sell 100,000 cars to be profitable, he says. Saab has consistently sold 100.000 cars, regardless of economic changes. “We’ll use this estimate even though we have quite a new model programme, so these figures could even be a conservative estimate,” he tells

Will this work, though? What’s the difference between this and the Saab-Koenigsegg Deal? The Opel-Magna deal? The Saturn-Penske deal? The Hummer-Tenzhong deal? Time will tell, but for the first time in a long, long time, Saab at least has a future to look forward to.

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2 of 23 comments
  • Robert.Walter Robert.Walter on Jan 27, 2010

    What's all this about 7 year partnership? Is this SAAB paying GM for engines, transmissions, steering and stampings and/or badge-engineered vehicles? That's not partnership, that is a suppy-relationship. edit: should be "supply-relationship", but I like the typo, so it stays in.

  • John Horner John Horner on Jan 28, 2010

    This really is like those B horror movies where the beast keeps coming back from the dead.

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  • Namesakeone Actually, per the IIHS ratings, "Acceptable" is second best, not second worst. The ratings are "Good," "Acceptable," "Marginal" and "Poor."
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  • Lorenzo As long as Grenadier is just a name, and it doesn't actually grenade like Chrysler UltraDrive transmissions. Still, how big is the market for grossly overpriced vehicles? A name like INEOS doesn't have the snobbobile cachet yet. The bulk of the auto market is people who need a reliable, economical car to get to work, and they're not going to pay these prices.