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
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.
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
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.