Saab, the Swedish carmaker that used the tagline “Born From Jets” but whose recent performance had taken the company into a severe tailspin, has been purchased by Spyker, the small Dutch sportscar manufacturer.
Saab owner General Motors announced the deal without financial details. Several Internet reports, without quoting sources, said the purchase price for Spyker was $400 million, with $74 million in cash. The remainder of the purchase is reportedly in deferred stock shares.
Saab is seeking to borrow $564 million from the European Investment Bank, a loan that Sweden announced it will guarantee. Sweden said the EIB and European Commission were still reviewing the loan.
Despite a loyal following appreciative of its distinctive style reminiscent of the Jets the manufacturer original made more than 50 years ago, the Swedish carmaker has failed to make money for about two decades.
General Motors, which originally purchased half of Saab in 1989, was unable to improve Saab’s global appeal.
“General Motors, Spyker Cars, and the Swedish government worked very hard and creatively for a deal that would secure a sustainable future for this unique and iconic brand,” GM Vice President John Smith said in a statement.
Spyker, which only produces several dozen handmade sports cars a year, hopes to benefit from Saab’s technical resources and distribution network. Saab will get funds to survive and an injection of entrepreneurial spirit.
Spyker employs about 100 people, Saab has some 3,400. While Spyker made 43 luxury cars last year, Saab’s annual sales exceed 90,000.
According to a Reuters report, GM was on the verge of winding Saab down, a move that would not only have killed the brand but also would have devastated the southern Swedish town of Trollhattan, where Saab is based.