How’s this for irony:
In 2009 General Motors nearly killed off Saab along with Pontiac, Saturn and Hummer. But in the first days of 2010, the General sold Saab to Spyker. Saab fanatics rejoiced. We were skeptical, even back then, about Saab’s long-term prosperity.
Today Spyker is in deep financial trouble with Saab and has one last-ditch plan to save the brand. The plan involves a sketchy Russian billionaire, the Swedish government and, wouldn’t you know it, rests on the approval of General Motors.
We should have Elton John write a song, because this is an incredible example of the Circle of Life in the auto world.
Here’s the quick-and-dirty version of the story:
Saab’s Trollhättan plant ground to a halt in late March of this year, because Spyker owes almost $50 million to auto suppliers, which have stopped supplying parts until they get paid.
To raise the money, owner Spyker plans to sell the plant and other real estate holdings to Russian businessman Vladimir A. Antonov, who will then lease the property back to Spyker.
Problem is, Spyker needs approval from Saab shareholders, including the Swedish government, the European Investment Bank and, of course, GM.
According to The New York Times, the government and the EIB have signed off, leaving Saab’s fate once again in the hesitant arms of GM.
So what will happen? GM is keeping its mouth shut about whether or not it will sign off on the deal, with spokesman Klaus-Peter Martin offering up a simple “no comment.”
I do hope Saab can pull off another miracle, but the odds of its survival aren’t looking good. If it does live on, lets hope Saab’s future cars look something like the Geneva show’s PhoeniX concept. I don’t care if that car was funded by the Italian mafia, it’s got a killer look that would inject life back into the dying brand.
Should GM sign off on Spyker’s plan to sell the Saab plant, among other things, to Vladimir Antonov?