- Dec 2, 2009
Merbanco out, Spyker in as Saab bidding heats up. Was Fritz axed because he wanted Saab closed?
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]
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.