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by George Skentzos

General Motors has reached a tentative eleventh hour agreement to sell Saab Automobile AB to Dutch sports car maker Spyker, saving the Swedish brand from a shutdown after two decades of GM control.

The purchase has led Spyker to form a new company, Saab Spyker Automobiles, with which to carry both brands forward after the sale is officially closed by February 15.

Once the deal is finalised, Saab will become the first brand under the GM umbrella to be sold since the corporation filed for bankruptcy, with operations at Saturn winding down after a sale to Penske Automotive Group Inc. fell through.

The deal to sell Hummer to Sichuan Tengzhong Heavy Industrial Machinery Co. is also still awaiting approval from the Chinese government, while Pontiac remains a casualty of the dire financial situation in the US.

“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.

The Swedish government is currently reviewing the transaction and the related request for guarantees of a Saab Automobile loan valued at around USD$563.5 million – including USD$74 million in cash, a further USD$50 million by February 15 and the rest by July 15 – in addition to USD$326 million worth of preferred shares in the merged company.

Spyker CEO Victor Muller said the agreement had to sort out “trying to take a company that was part of General Motors for 20 years and carving that out as a different business. It was a massive exercise and a lot of different issues. We have a lot of work to do. For a moment, we are going to celebrate.”




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