By Calvin Palmer
Saab, which likes to travel a different road than other car manufacturers, will continue on its journey after Dutch car maker Spyker agreed a $400 million deal with General Motors yesterday.
GM had begun to wind down Saab and 3,400 jobs, most of them at the production plant in Trollhatten, Sweden, were at risk.
Nick Reilly, the chief executive of GM Europe, said: “We’ve worked with many parties over the past year, including governments and investors, and I’m very pleased that we could come to such a good conclusion, one that preserves jobs in Sweden and elsewhere. GM will continue to support Saab and Spyker on their way forward.”
A new company Saab Spyker Automobiles will be formed to take over the Saab marque.
Spyker is paying $74m (£46m) in two instalments to acquire all the shares in Saab.
A new company Saab Spyker Automobiles will be formed to take over the Saab marque and it is looking to borrow €400m ($564m) from the European Investment Bank, a loan that Sweden said yesterday it would guarantee. If all goes to plan, the deal will be done by the middle of next month.
Spyker faces a tough challenge to succeed in doing what GM failed to do during its years of ownership since 2000, namely make a profit.
But Saab does have strong loyalty among its customers who value the Swedish car maker’s quirky design features and an engineering heritage grounded in the aerospace industry.
“Saab has always been a bit of a Swedish oddball,” said Alistair Philpott, vice-chairman of the Saab Owners Club of Great Britain, which said it was “delighted” about the sale.