commentdave wakefieldGeneral MotorsSAABScandinaviaSpyker

Sold (subject to contract)

Well, with a flourish akin to a stage magician pulling a rabbit from a top hat, Spyker have achieved a similar trick with SAAB – yanking them from the dark silkiness of oblivion and back into the harsh limelight of the automotive world’s attention.
To be honest, when we wrote yesterday of our hopes that the Swedish firm would be rescued at the last minute we weren’t overly optimistic to put it mildly; but the fact that the Dutch have pulled it off – for now at least – has left us feeling just a little bit happier that one of the world’s more interesting marques will continue to be around for a while longer.
It’s still early days and there are (900)i’s to be dotted and T’s crossed but barring any major mishap (he says, checking the calendar and making sure it’s not April 1st) Spyker have increased their payroll by quite a substantial order of magnitude.
It’s fair to say that there are many out there who are questioning the viability of this arrangement, asking quite rightly how teeny-tiny Spyker will be able to manage ownership of a comparatively vast operation such as SAAB, let alone turn around their ailing fortunes.
Others point to SAAB’s relatively paltry sales figures and limited model range (no lead-in model along the lines of the ubiquitous Golf being the main criticism) and state that the brand is irrevocably damaged by the recent uncertainty surrounding the company and its fortunes.
We do indeed share these concerns and will be watching developments with a keen eye; however, one should consider that logically-speaking, no-one in their right mind is going to commit the rather large sums of money such as have been invested by Spyker and the European Investment Bank (a loan, incidentally underwritten by the Swedish Government) without the belief – particularly at the moment as we scour the financial landscape for any signs of  the elusive Green Shoots Of Recovery – that they are going to make a return on their investment.
For the time being then, we wait with interest and hopeful anticipation to see what Victor Muller, Spyker’s Chief Executive and Jan-Åke Jonsson, his opposite number at SAAB (soon to be re-titled SAAB Spyker Automobiles) have up their sleeves.
Whatever they’re planning to do though, there’s little doubt that they are going to have to work fast if they are to rebuild SAAB’s image and establish themselves as a credible brand with a strong and successful future ahead of them.
If they hang about, they could well just be delaying the inevitable..

Dave Wakefield
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