Uncertainty over Saab

Posted on 21 Dec 2009 by The Manufacturer

General Motors’ sale of its Saab brand to niche Dutch car maker Spyker could now be back on after a new bid was submitted yesterday.

The US firm had announced Friday that it was going to wind the Swedish brand up in January after talks with Spyker, backed by the Swedish government, broke down owing to unspecified but reportedly irreconcilable disagreements.

However, Spyker yesterday submitted a new bid with an 11 point plan which it says addresses all of the concerns.

“We are very confident that our renewed offer will remove the impasse that was standing in the way of an agreement on Friday, and this would still allow us to conclude the deal prior to the expiry of the deadline originally set by GM of December 31,” said Spyker CEO Victor Muller.

Stryker has set a deadline of 5pm Eastern time (10pm GMT) today (Monday) for the dea to be agreed in principle. GM announced it has received a bid but wouldn’t conform from whom and said it wouldn’t comment until it has weighed the offer up.

Swedish enterprise minister Maud Olofsson said the failure to complete the deal last week was GM’s fault. “It’s GM who took this decision, on their own grounds, and they have to answer to that by themselves,” she said.

GM has been trying to sell the brand since January and has failed twice already. In June this year a deal was agreed to sell Saab to its fellow Swedes Koenigsegg but the prestigious supercar maker pulled out last month. The Swedish government had agreed to underwrite £365m worth of funding from the European Investment Bank (EIB) to enable the deal to go ahead. There was also talks last week with Chinese firm Beijing Automotive Industry Holding (BAIC) about selling some of Saab’s technology and trademarks but they too proved fruitless.

Saab’s main operations are based in Trollhattan, Sweden, but the firm employs 3,400 people worldwide.