• Dec 2, 2009
2010 Saab 9-5 – Click above for high-res image gallery

As General Motors suddenly finds itself in search for a new CEO to replace Fritz Henderson, it is also looking to secure a buyer for perennially troubled Saab. GM originally thought it had a new parent for the brand in Koenigsegg, but after that deal went sour, Detroit officials confirmed that it they would give themselves up until the end of the year to find a new buyer instead of simply shutting Saab down.

A number of parties have expressed interest in purchasing the brand since that time, and it has now been confirmed that the Swedish marque has another supercar-building pursuer: Spyker. The Netherlands-based exotic manufacturer has just issued a brief statement confirming that it – along with its shareholders at the Convers Group – has indeed "expressed an interest in Saab Automobile AB" (text available after the jump). Spyker has never been a brand short of ambition (remember its ill-fated Formula One effort?), but taking on Saab would be its most ambitious undertaking yet.

In related news, marque website Saab History is reporting that the US-based Merbanco group has not been chosen by GM as a possible purchaser. According to the SH, Merbanco CEO Christopher Johnston released a statement to the enthusiast group that says:

"As most of you know, we ride with the brand, the fit was good, and were up to the challenges ahead. It is now time for us to depart the field and support the company and its outstanding people.

We are grateful to all of you, fellow Saab enthusiasts and the Saab team for the support you have us. It will never be forgotten. Heartfelt thanks, Ryan and friends for your support."

(Saab History had previously conducted an interview with Johnston, the contents of which you can find here.)

Interestingly, UK buff book Autocar is reporting that yesterday's ousting of Fritz Henderson could stem from the exec's apparent desire to close Saab, a viewpoint that was evidently not shared by the rest of GM's board. We suspect there were a whole host of issues that led to Henderson's resignation, but it's likely that GM's trustees would prefer to offload the brand rather than incur substantial shutdown costs. Call it a "potential contributing factor," if you will.

Either way, do you think Saab will survive this tumult? Drop us a line in 'Comments.'



[Sources: Spyker; Saab History; Autocar; Automotive News]



PRESS RELEASE:

STATEMENT SPYKER CARS ON INTEREST IN SAAB

ZEEWOLDE, The Netherlands (December 2, 2009) – In response to market enquiries, Spyker Cars confirms that it, together with its shareholder Convers Group, has expressed an interest in Saab Automobile AB. If and when we are able to comment further, we will do so but we are unable to provide more information at this time.


I'm reporting this comment as:

Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.


    • 1 Second Ago
  • 34 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      Although I mightily wish that I were wrong, SAAB is likely dead. SAAB were struggling when GM bought them and they didn't recover under GM's care.

      In case anyone's forgotten, before GM came aboard, SAAB's most recent new platform was the 9000 and even that was a premature birth of a platform codeveloped with Fiat (and the basis for the Fiat Chroma, Lancia Thema and Alfa 164).

      Volvo's succeeded (after a fashion) by Ford figuring out what customer's expected of the brand and then delivering it. SAAB never had sufficient share of mind outside Scandinavia and the UK for GM to pander to a pre-existing consumer mindset and with its neglect, it failed to invest sufficiently or consistently enough to create a sustainable brand persona.

      Like its other brands, GM based SAAB products were based on a sour mix of focus groups, reactions to other brands' actions and pandering to the accountants in Detroit. Interestingly, I can't help but believe that, given sufficient long term support, SAAB could have become the European Subaru that it had, for a time at least, sort of been. Can you imagine a 9-3 World Rally Edition with a 300hp turbo four, all wheel drive and a full hoon soundtrack? Yeah...me too. :-(
        • 5 Years Ago
        Well You might be wrong and please tell me why a management bought a bad asset for GM? Because they are a bunch of morons leaving in 60s when what was good for GM was good for American people. Saab was a counterattack to Ford acquisition of Volvo and Jaguar .In 90s Saab was selling by itself people were waiting in line to buy them .Technological talking Saab design all small displacement engine used by GM,also design or development of new engine management electronic systems,passive and active systems.But Saab needs to dye for GM sake. Just look in automotive industry news in last 6 months and every single GM product( except the BSS -big strong and stupid products)they have a lot in common with Saab technology. Do you believe GM went bankrupt because Saab?What about AMC GEO,Saturn Hummer Pontiac Oldsmobile?If You have any idea about Saab tel me how do You accept a stupid GMC to re badged Saab9.7 X or a Subaru 9.2 X(they still had the Fuji Industry badge under hood).Bottom line GM saved with American money is doing great in China and India,closing American factory and outsourcing work force! Is not just about Saab is about how GM is thinking!
        • 5 Years Ago
        That is called Saab-aru 9^2x Aero with a WRX STI driveline and suspension swap.

        It sounds like you are having some of the same thoughts that I am...
      • 5 Years Ago
      After Koenigsegg wussed-out of the deal to buy SAAB, I would be hard-pressed to take the Spyker bid seriously. Not that it would be a bad thing if legit, since Spyker sure as heck as the "quirky" thing going, which is one of the things that SAAB was known for (to a lesser degree of course).
        • 5 Years Ago
        Agreed, I don't have whole a lot faith in Spyker.

        I think Nokia should buy it, it jumped from wood mill to electronics once, it's about time to make another jump. Nokia, or Ikea, either one.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Anyone but Chinese, it seems.

      A smart move indeed.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Saab surviving? Sadly no. As was suggested above, could the brand be sold to the Chinese who resurrect it in the manner of MG? Possibly but that would no longer be Saab.

      Saab wasn't the reason Fritz got the ax. He's gone because he was using a scalpel to reshape GM and the board wanted an ax, preferably a dull one, used.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Spyker has some incredibly talented designers on staff with enough quirk in their pens to make a true-to-the-core Saab however their finances have never been what the financial industry would call "stable".

      Still, I like the idea more than BIAC and definitely more than killing the brand.
        • 5 Years Ago
        If Koenigsegg couldn't pull it off, Spyker has even less of a chance. Quirky and funky are great, but outside of pie-in-the-sky fantasies what SAAB needs is cold hard cash and a company with access to an actual supply chain and manufacturing capacity (outside of making like 20 supercars a year). And having dealerships in large and developed car markets (aka China) is the key to having SAAB survive. How would Spyker sell any SAABs without dealerships and a boatload of money to keep it running?!
      • 5 Years Ago
      The interview with Chris Johnston that you have attributed to Saab History in your text is linked to and was actually done by www.saabsunited.com
        • 5 Years Ago
        Swade,
        I caught the same thing, but you beat me to it.

        The CJ interview was carried by saabsunited.

        ~P
      • 5 Years Ago
      Saab was the better suited Lexus soft core fighter then Buick.....
      hoc
      • 5 Years Ago
      Sadly, the new 9-5 is not unique enough to save the brand. In fact, I don't think it is anything special.

      And its dashboard, around the Instruments, is something I would not want to look at for 10 years - let alone dust it off...
      • 5 Years Ago
      My family used to own exclusively Saabs (back when GM didn't have their grubby hands on them). We had an '89 900 that went to 185K before the transmission stopped going into 5th, and even then it still purred like a kitten. We've still got 3 GM-muddled saabs in the family, and they're all meeting their premature demise. It just pains me to see that GM has managed to lower the quality of the cars, devalue the brand name, and now organizationally run it into the ground. I realize that when GM picked them up, Saab was supposed to "benefit" from the "wealth of resources" available to GM. All it seems it's done is take a badge known for quality and craftsmanship and turn it into a very niche vehicle driven exclusively by us northeasterners. If this were the pre-GM Saab, I'd say they will survive. However, I don't think this bastardized version has a chance anymore, as much as it hurts to say it.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Please please please don't kill off SAAB, God. I promise if you don't I'll buy a 9-5 as soon as I have the money! And please, kill BAIC and all of their awful knockoffs and bastardized MGs. And please, let someone stable buy SAAB so we can enjoy it for a long long time!

      Naw, but seriously, Tata has done great things with Jaguar and Land Rover, giving them lots of autonomy and space to do what they're meant to do. Here's hoping Saab gets the same fate...
      • 5 Years Ago
      GM would be making a mistake shutting down SAAB for a number of reasons not the least of which is over time I doubt they have figured out how they will service the warranties and meet the requirements for parts and service over the long run as required by law. This will eventually lead to the kind of trouble that GM doesnt need. i.e. class action lawsuits. They may think that's an acceptable risk (incurring the legal costs of a settlement), but the negative press will continue to dog them. They would be much better off selling.
      • 5 Years Ago
      This is kind of sad.

      the more I look at the new 9^5, the more I like it, inside and out.

      I am hoping that some other company picks it up, and does good things with it, and removes the OwnStar and black box recorder crap, so that I can actually consider the car, but the Chi-coms are probably just a lateral move or worse, from that.

      I thought Spyker was broke... how are they bidding on anything?
    • Load More Comments