Saab finds a buyer

January 27, 2010 | By | In News

Supercar maker Spyker clinches deal with General Motors to buy loss-making Swedish auto brandSaab has a future for now.

Dutch supercar maker Spyker has agreed to take control of the ailing Swedish company from present owners General Motors. Autocar reports that Spyker must pay GM $47m now, a further $50m when the deal is completed and another $24m in June. The new company will be called Saab Spyker Automobiles.

The deal is also subject to the European Investment Bank agreeing a 400-million euro loan (£349m), which the Swedish government has agreed to underwrite. GM will keep Saab shares worth $326m, which means it will share in any future profits although it will have minimal influence in future company activity.

GM put Saab up for sale a year ago as it reorganised in the face of plunging sales across all brands. It had held full control of the make for close on a decade but had not seen a profit since 2002. Spyker, which builds low-volume, high-cost performance cars, was among several bidders, which at one time included fellow supercar maker Knigsegg and a consortium run by F1 racing boss, Bernie Ecclestone. But time wore on without a deal concluded. Knigsegg pulled out and GM warned that it would close Saab if sale plans fell through. The company began formally winding down the make.

Before the sale, GM re-structured Saab’s Trollhatten base to make it possible for the business to see profit even if it built fewer than 100,000 cars a year. The ageing model line-up – the 9-5 has sold in the UK since 1998, while the current 9-3 dates back seven years – has dampened sales. But the new 9-5 (pictured) is ready to begin production within months, while another new model, the 9-4, should start rolling out of a factory in Mexico soon.

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