General Motors today completed the sale of its Swedish Saab brand to Dutch luxury sports car maker Spyker Cars NV, marking the first successful sale of one of its four unwanted U.S. brands.
The transaction combines Saab Automobile and its 3,400 employees with Spyker Cars and its 110-plus workers under parent company Spyker Cars NV.
“The focus as of today will be on getting back to business,” Jan Ake Jonsson, CEO of Saab Automobile, told reporters today. Executives want to refocus the identity of the Saab brand “to create an innovative, free-thinking company based on our Swedishness,” he said.
The sale saves Saab from what appeared to be doom after Swedish supercar maker Koenigsegg Group AB backed out of a planned
purchase in November. But Spyker, whose logo bears a Latin phrase that translates, “For the tenacious, no road is impossible” – made an offer during Saab’s wind down.
“Saab’s future is now secure,” Spyker CEO Victor Muller said in a statement. “We will be concentrating all of our efforts into reviving Saab and transforming it into a sustainable and profitable company with the confidence to be bold.”
Finally after some negotiations with GM CEO Ed Whitacre, Spyker agreed to buy Saab. Completion of the Saab deal leaves GM facing a Feb. 28 deadline to complete a planned sale of Hummer to China ‘s Sichuan Tengzhong Heavy Industrial Machinery Co. Saturn and Pontiac are being shut down.
Spyker CEO Victor Muller had already secured the $50 million needed to close the deal with GM, with the remaining $24 million due in July. Spyker is paying GM $74 million in cash and $326 million in redeemable preference shares.
Saab’s revival centers on a new 9-5 that launches this year, the arrival of the 9-4X crossover in 2011 and the debut of a new 9-3 in 2012. Saab’s production- and intelligence-sharing agreement with GM lasts through the introduction of the new 9-3, Jonsson said.