How's Saab Doing? It Depends On Who You Ask…
Reuters reports that Saab/Spyker partner Vladimir Antonov has questioned whether Saab will hit its ambitious 80k unit global sales goal this year, saying
This means that the company could face capital problems
Thelocal.se provides a little more detail quoting Antonov as saying
I’m not involved in how the company is run so I don’t have access to the numbers. But according to earlier versions of the business plan, they have to sell 80,000 cars this year to stay with the plan. From my point of view, I think that’s a bit too optimistic.
If the goal isn’t reached it would be nice for Saab to have €50-70 million ($69-97 million) as a little something extra to lean on. We’re ready to provide that money if we’re allowed to do so by the [European Investment Bank].
Antonov went on to say that bringing in outside investors would be difficult and that if the EIB loan fell through, something he does not foresee, Saab could be bankrupt “in days.” Needless to say, Saab’s Chief Optimism Officer Victor Muller didn’t take kindly to Antonov’s remarks and is firing back in the press.
According to the Reuters report, Muller has said that
the remarks made by Antonov, who last month agreed to buy the Spyker luxurysportscar business [link added], were “complete nonsense” and that Spyker was sticking to all Saab sales targets.
And when Reuters went looking for some third-party clarity on the conflict, Patrick Beijersbergen of Dutch sharholders’ group VEB told them
Muller is someone who is very positive and optimistic, which is good as a businessman, of course. Perhaps Antonov is more realistic. We have always said Muller was taking a big risk with the takeover. We have said before that Spyker may have to do a big share issue. That is still possible if one of the financiers reclaims his money
Finally, Saabsunited.com confirms (through a translated Russian interview with Vladimir Antonov) that the firm’s much-hyped “Phoenix platform,” which is said to be the future of the brand, is actually a development of a GM platform. Antonov explains
Saab – a niche company, we can not compare it to corporations such as Volkswagen, who works for the unification of models between brands. Plan for production – 125 thousand cars in 2012. But we also understand that the unification within the company needed. Therefore, our new platform PhoeniX – a development owned by Saab, although it is a modified platform GM. Saab will be able to build on it from multiple machines in length from 4.3 to 5.4 meters, including the SUV. The entire new model range, already saabovsky own, will be built on one platform.
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