By on August 27, 2012


Victor Muller managed to sell out to China after all. Today it was announced (full press release here) that Muller’s Spyker and former Saab suitor Youngman will form two companies. Spyker calls them “joint ventures,” but they look more like companies owned mostly by Youngman, with Spyker holding a token share.

The first company is called Spyker P2P.  It will make the Spyker D8 luxury SUV (caught above by Carnewschina.) Spyker contributes the technology and the Spyker trademarks for a 25 percent share of Spyker P2P. Youngman will make a €25 million cash contribution (over time) for 75 percent of the shares. “P2P” does not stand for “pay to play” as you may assume, but for “Peking-to-Paris,” another moniker for the Spyker D8. The car is supposed to see the light in 2014, but with only 25 million in funding, it will need more money, a lot more.

The second and more interesting company is called Spyker Phoenix. According to the press release, “Youngman will contribute the rights to the Phoenix platform as developed by Saab Automobile AB in 2010/2011 to which Youngman acquired a license in 2011 as well as provide all required funding.”  Youngman will hold 80 percent, Spyker will hold 20. The company “shall develop and manufacture a new full range of premium car models based on the Phoenix platform which models will be positioned higher than the comparable Saab models were. Spyker Phoenix products may be manufactured in Europe and China as the case may be.”

In addition, Youngman will invest €10 million into Spyker itself.  €6.7 million buy 29.9 percent of  Spyker  (and hence another 6 percent of  the Phoenix company and another 7.5 percent of the P2P deal,) €3.3 million will come as a shareholder loan.

How did Youngman end up with Phoenix after their advances to buy the assets of bankrupt Saab were rebuffed?  Before Saab finally went bankrupt, the rights to the Phoenix platform were transferred to a Spyker-controlled special purpose vehicle, and used as collateral for a loan from Youngman that was never paid in full. When Saab went belly-up, I wrote

“I wouldn’t be surprised if a license for the PhoeniX platform won’t suddenly show up at Youngman, pledged as security for some of the money that had been paid. Then, GM will say that Phoenix IP is mostly theirs, and there will be a protracted and messy lawsuit.”

The first part of that prediction came true today. For the second part, we probably will have to wait a while, most likely until the first Phoenix cars are built, if they ever will.

Youngman will need government approval for the investment in a foreign company, and either foreign company will need government approval for joint venture production in China.


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9 Comments on “Return Of The Zombies: Spyker, Youngman, Phoenix...”

  • avatar
    el scotto

    Does this mean the Saabinistas with be frothing at the mouth and filling the internet with speculation? It’s risen from the dead!, Made in China, they’ll make right!, Available in a year or so!
    At one point, I thought I wanted a 9-3. Then I realized I really wanted a 900 Turbo and to be 20 again. One step forward and two steps back are not the foundation for a successful car company.

  • avatar

    IDK The ins and iuts of IP protection, but doesn’t GM have some obligation to lodge a complaint against any perceived IP infringement as soon as they become aware of it? (It is unlikely that they have to do this in public, so perhaps they already have, directly to Youngman, like Apple did to Samsung, so that if infringement does occur, there will be a history of having protested.)

  • avatar

    There isn’t enough money in these deals to open a decent car dealership, much less a a car company.

    Spyker / Muller is talented at producing press releases. Producing cars is another matter.

    • 0 avatar

      Muller is a horrible person, that’s it. Everybody and anybody, who wasn’t a SAAB fanboi, can clearly sense that making Saab a success as an actual car maker was never the intention. The question is HOW he was supposed to get cash out of the deal, well that and exactly how legal the dealings would be in the end.

  • avatar

    Youngman continues it’s quest to become relevant as a auto manufacturer. While big in buses and commercial vehicles, they are small time players in cars, and they seem to live in constant fear of becoming consolidation victims before they establish themselves as a producer of cars in volume. They have yet to show an ability to design & build high quality autos, but they have shown a willingness to do anything, with anybody, to become a player in the Chinese car market.
    Persistence is a wonderful thing.

  • avatar

    So, how much longer before we see the intellectual property remains of Saab passed back and forth accross China like so much worn out Austin Maestro tooling?

  • avatar

    “Victor Muller managed to sell out to China after all.”

    It seems the one-trick pony might have finally managed to pull off his one trick, then…

  • avatar

    Rain falls in winter, Pope wears a big hat, bears do smelly stuff in the woods…..

    Anyone who wasn’t obssessed with saving Saab coud see this coming a mile off. So not only has Victor walked off with a debt free Spyker but he has also got a brand new platform upon which to build another range of his insane creations. Wow! Who couldn’t have seen that on coming? Well, The Church Of The One True Saab for one.

    I’ll bet that lawsuit against GM will quietly disappear if they agree to forget about any rights to Phoenix platform.

    If I was running Saabs United, I’d be asking Victor for my pen back.

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