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Spyker, maker of the $200k+ USD Spyker C8 Aileron, pictured here, is considering buying GM's Saab brand.  (Source: Auto Trader UK)

2010 Saab 9-5  (Source: AutoBlog)
Saab may escape death in the eleventh hour

Things were looking bleak for Swedish automaker Saab, a GM subsidiary.  Late in November Swedish sports car-maker Koenigsegg walked away from a pending deal that would have united the two Swedish automakers and preserved Saab's key assets.  With a similar Saturn fizzle leading to the shuttering of the brand, many speculated that the Saab story might end in a similar fate

The failure, in part, led to the resignation of Obama-endorse GM CEO Fritz Henderson, and his temporary replacement by GM Board Chairman Ed Whitacre, a former AT&T executive.

In the eleventh hour it appears that Whitacre has brokered a deal to save Saab, but it will come at the cost of brand removing some of the brand's most valuable assets and selling them in a separate deal.  Dutch automaker Spyker Cars NV, a maker of $200k+ USD luxury sports cars such as the C8 Aileron, has reportedly emerged as a frontrunner and is on the verge of finalizing a deal with GM to buy most of Saab's assets.  However, technology for the 2010 Saab 9-3 and 9-5, two of Saab's most popular models, will be sold to China's Beijing Automotive Industry Holding, Co.

The Spyker deal is also contingent on the EU handing Spyker a 400 million-euro ($585 million USD) loan from the European Investment Bank.  Despite the many uncertainties surrounding the non-finalized deal, there is some optimism.  Describes Mike Tyndall, an automotive analyst at Nomura Securities in London, "[The sale] would be a step in the right direction.  I’m not sure if it will be viable in the long term given Saab’s small scale and weakened brand image."

The deal with BAIH seems more certain.  The Chinese auto firm will receive Saab’s turbo-engine and gearbox technology, as well as the 9-3 and 9-5 platform assets, in exchange for at least $281M USD, according to sources.  The tech will likely allow BAIH to produce rebranded Saab luxury sedans, sating the Chinese consumers' lust for luxury autos.  While it will be painful to give up the popular models, it's worth it, according to Saab's engineering union head, Haakan Danielsson, also a member of the company’s board.  He states, "This is exactly what we need.  We can live a long time on this."

Spyker, based in Zeewolde, Netherlands, is bidding for Saab in conjunction with Chairman Vladimir Antonov’s RMC Convers Group.  According to sources other bidders also eyeing Saab include Merbanco Inc., a Wyoming-based investor, and billionaire Ira Rennert’s Renco Group Inc.

BAIH may only be one of two Chinese auto firms to own assets from a Swedish luxury automaker.  Ford is in advanced negotiations to sell its Volvo brand to China's Zhejiang Geely Holding Group.  Both parties are pushing for a finalized agreement to be reached "as soon as practicable", according to the Chinese firm.

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It's the Saabaru's Fault...
By cubdukat on 12/14/2009 4:04:39 PM , Rating: 3
How is it that Saab managed to exist so well by itself for years, and then after a couple years owned by GM it's in the toilet?

RE: It's the Saabaru's Fault...
By OrSin on 12/14/2009 4:33:45 PM , Rating: 2
Saab is not in the toilet. The company that owns Saab is. They don't want a oversee or market for another brand. Also Saab volume is pretty low volume. It was never really made to be massed produced the way GM does all their cars. Saab is just not a good fit for GM and never was. With the market down turn Saab might have went under even if they was independent. Hard to tell. Its a different world then 5-10 years ago.

RE: It's the Saabaru's Fault...
By Gul Westfale on 12/14/2009 7:07:08 PM , Rating: 4
saab was an individualist's cars. they insisted on small, turbocharged engines only, for example; because that meant lower weight, better economy, and yet good power when compared to a six cylinder.

then GM bought the company and they almost immediately started building six-cylinder cars. then came several re-badged cars that never fit with saab stood for in the first place, and GM never invested any sort of money to allow saab to make new models of its own. all their cars now are platform-engineered or simply badge-engineered.

ironically, many other makers now use smaller, turbocharged engines in lieu of larger, naturally aspirated ones, like BMW's 335i engine, or ford's ecoboost... but not GM, of course.

what i have always wondered about is why the government, which now owns GM, doesn't fire all the people that ran the company into the ground in the first place? everyone at the top of that company has been there for decades, isn't it time for some fresh ideas?

RE: It's the Saabaru's Fault...
By BikeDude on 12/16/2009 4:05:46 AM , Rating: 2
GM did sometimes spend money on Saab, but they never managed to execute any of their plans.

E.g. at one point GM cooperated with Fiat. Saab had a new 9-5 ready to go around 2003, but that project got cancelled at the last minute since GM and Fiat went their separate ways. Prior to GM, Saab successfully managed to co-operate with Fiat which resulted in the 9000 which was a very nice car at the time.

It is hard to make money when you depend on a large parent with attention deficit disorder.

GM delayed the 9-3x (there are several old 9-3x concepts at the Saab museum), they cancelled the 9-2x (cancelled the deal with Subaru), they refused Saab to show the world that they had hybrid technology too (a 9-3 convertible with a hidden power chord).

Many Saab projects were subsequently hidden from their corporate parents. AFAIK GM did not know Saab started dabbling with ethanol. The result of which was BioPower, a technology that sold many cars and allowed Saab once again be first to market with new stuff.

Saab doesn't deserve to be shut down. Their cars are still counted among the safest (if not _THE safest_!) on the road and they are still a lot of fun to drive. When the first snow appears here where I live, the percentage of Saabs on the roads increase dramatically. Owners of other brands usually elect to leave their cars at home, rather than face the slippery roads.

Only when driving other cars do I notice how fast and comfortable a Saab handles bad roads.

RE: It's the Saabaru's Fault...
By aqwan135 on 12/20/2009 8:23:47 PM , Rating: 1

fr ee sh i pp ing

(jordan shoes) $32

(air max) $34



in related news
By cludinsk on 12/14/2009 2:55:10 PM , Rating: 1
the Chinese manufacturer of Tiger Balm will purchase the rights to have Tiger Woods promote their product now that he has "proven his virility."

RE: in related news
By amanojaku on 12/14/2009 3:22:51 PM , Rating: 4
Tiger's virility was never proven. His stupidity was.

RE: in related news
By Marlowe on 12/14/2009 4:08:48 PM , Rating: 2
Tiger Balm + Tiger Woods? LOL :D

RE: in related news
By LiamC on 12/14/2009 8:18:03 PM , Rating: 2
Wood balm?

Woody balm? :)

RE: in related news
By chick0n on 12/14/09, Rating: -1
RE: in related news
By aqaq55 on 12/15/2009 7:58:30 AM , Rating: 1

fr ee sh i pp ing

(jordan shoes) $32

(air max) $34



RE: in related news
By aqaq55 on 12/15/09, Rating: -1
By Oxonium on 12/14/2009 8:50:01 PM , Rating: 2
BAIC is NOT getting the tooling for the 2010 9-3 or 9-5. It is getting the tooling for the previous generation models.

That's not uncommon. Russia's GAZ bought the tooling for the old Dodge Stratus.

RE: Wrong...
By BikeDude on 12/15/2009 7:23:42 AM , Rating: 2
Every Saab related news item on this site is filled with similar inaccuracies. :(

As you say, BAIC bought tools for the previous model 9-5, plus some 9-3 technology (but not the stamp tools -- it was first believed they also received pre-2002 stamp tools, but apparently this is not the case).

Saab has started producing the new 9-5 and will continue doing so on January 11th. Production of the current 9-3 models will also resume on that date.

This was all common knowledge a week ago. The rumours started some 14 days ago that the deal went through and it has been known for several months that BAIC was interested in the old tools.

The 9-3 and 9-5 IS Saab's core business. I do not understand how the journalist would think someone could continue Saab without any cars to manufacture. You would think this was obvious.

Saab were profitable as late as 2007. After a decade filled with cancelled new models (thank you GM), Saab have no less than three new models that have either launched or are about to launch. 9-3X earlier this year, the 9-5 starts production now and the 9-4X is scheduled for early 2010. (but I have not heard much about the 9-4X for a long time now)

By Iaiken on 12/14/2009 3:05:40 PM , Rating: 1
The Chinese auto firm will receive Saab’s turbo-engine and gearbox technology

For the love of porn! not even the communist Chinese deserve such punishment... The UNHRC should intervene on humanitarian grounds!!!

RE: Why?
By BZDTemp on 12/15/2009 3:50:19 AM , Rating: 1
Have you ever driven a real Saab? (By this I mean not a rebadged GM pos.)

Apart from drivetrain I would think the Chinese can learn a lot with regards to safety and that they need badly.

By inperfectdarkness on 12/14/2009 3:29:04 PM , Rating: 2
my shoes, jeans, phone, computer, and practically everything else in my daily life is already made in china (or taiwan, hong-kong, etc). the circle of life is nearly complete.

Mods, can you ban aqaq55????
By samuraiBX on 12/15/2009 8:12:25 AM , Rating: 2
Honestly, the spam this ID keeps putting on every article makes me nuts! I know it's only temporary 'til this fool makes a new account, but please knock that ID off of DT?

On a separate note, SAAB 9-3s were alway fun to drive. Definitely a different feel than the other European cars, but the interiors definitely need help...

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