Saab: Once More, with Feeling

Spyker Motto

Spyker is coming round again, making a new 11-point offer that is said to answer the objections or difficulties GM found in making a deal for Saab. These were not revealed by GM, but insiders report problems revolved around proprietary technology issues and Russian financing behind the Spyker proposal. The Russian Convers Group owns some 30 percent of Spyker.

Spyker CEO Victor Muller put out his new offer on Friday and gave GM a deadline of 5:00 pm EST today for consideration. That deadline, apparently, has now softened and been reset for Wednesday. The Antonov group (those tough-guy Russian investors) is now out of the picture, and Spyker has reportedly found a way to finesse the €400-million loan from the European Investment Bank that was part of its initial offer.

Shares of Spyker were up over 17 percent by early Monday afternoon, as hope for Saab sprang to life in the breasts of car-lovers (and profit-seekers) everywhere. SaabsUnited, the website for all things Saab, was also brimming with hope. But really, folks, the chances of a deal are still mighty slim. Swedish officials and union people are holding “crisis talks” even as they express skepticism about GM’s agenda and synergy with Spyker.

So things still don’t look good for Saab’s employees or dealer network (218 of them in the U.S.). We mentioned the terrible sales figures in our last Saab report. Chris Haak of Autosavant makes the point that “dealers are now stuck with an average of 10 orphaned cars that they will have to sell over the next few months, likely at large discounts.” Others are urging GM to somehow rebrand the new 9-5 sedan, which is most unlikely to happen.

Spyker’s press release quotes the company’s motto: “for the tenacious no road is impassable.” If he can somehow manage to convince GM to sell on its new terms, Herr Muller will be a big hero not only in Sweden, but among the dedicated Saabers here, too.

GM has let Saab down badly over the years. Will a sale to the Dutch Spyker firm help GM’s fortunes? What’s your opinion?

—jgoods

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