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SAAB-Spyker deal: an update

On the author’s bookshelf is a heavy tome entitled “The Complete Encyclopaedia of Motor Cars - 1885 to the present”.  Every serious motor enthusiast should have this reference work but soon, the entry relating to SAAB will be out of date because SAAB Automobile A.B Trollhattan will be replaced by a new company called SAAB-Spyker Automobiles. 

Reference works will need revising when the new SAAB-Spyker automobile company is set up formally

Yesterday, it emerged that the SAAB takeover had cleared another hurdle with the announcement that the EU’s competition watchdog had rubber-stamped the Swedish government’s guarantee for a loan of $600m from the European Investment Bank.  Whereas the SAAB-Spyker deal substantially qualified for state assistance under temporary measures designed to assist companies during the recession, the EU needed satisfying that such assistance would not interfere unduly with competitors.  Now this funding has been secured, the sale is one crucial step closer to being completed.

Of course, funding from the European Investment Bank, underwritten by the Swedish government is subject to terms but one such condition that stipulates that the maker should look towards building vehicles that are more eco-friendly would almost certainly feature in the corporate plans of any of SAAB’s rivals.  This funding should be seen in the perspective of a larger scheme that will require substantial further investment in new models, in particular, a 9-3 replacement that will be a critical factor in the future prosperity or otherwise of the company.

Further funding has been secured by Spyker CEO Victor Muller in a $25m deal with Heerema Holding Co Inc but although this means Spyker has funds in position to close the deal with GM now, under the terms of the agreement, a  further final sum of $24m will be payable no later than July 2010.  The author understands that in Sweden, a consortium of dealers headed by Peter Hallberg have been so impressed with Spyker’s business plan that they have offered to raise this sum upon their own initiative.

Contact with established dealers has revealed a new, cautious optimism, with one or two commenting that input from Spyker could see some very exciting cars in showrooms.  In recent years, the design team at SAAB have seen concept cars receive favourable comment but lack of funding as ever has meant that the transition from concept car on the drawing board was never likely to be translated into carbon fibre and steel in the showroom.  This is speculation but where is the harm in hoping that a builder of supercars will see at least one new 2 door coupe in a SAAB showroom near you in the not too distant future.

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