As Swade asked with this post, if the deal with Spyker was nearly done, what was the problem? What was so important that it killed the deal?
As many of you (and I) suspected, it was the potential drain of Saab (and GM) intellectual property to the Russian partners in the Spyker deal. This according to the fine people over at Expressen.se.
The English translation (via Google Translation):
December 19, 2009 Spykers Russian owner got GM to halt
According to the sources of reports were still a few minor issues would be sorted out before the contracts could be signed.
Yesterday, Spyker Cars CEO Victor Muller, Saab’s managing director Jan-Ake Jonsson and General Motors negotiators Scott Mackie in Stockholm, ready to complete the Saab deal over the weekend. But a quarter to seven on Friday morning called GM’s European Director Nick Reilly to Jan-Ake Jonsson with news that the deal be scrapped.
The reasons are two, according to report:
• GM discouraged by Spykers Russian partner. GM’s technology might go to Russia.
• GM’s new management wanted to show decisiveness.
I really cannot blame GM for not selling to Russian or Chinese owners for fear of loss of intellectual property. These two economies seem built upon copies of Western products. However, I can fault them for wasting time with Spyker knowing that was a huge issue.
On the other hand, Pontus Braunerhjelm opines in Dagens Nyheter that the future will be bright for Trollhattan and former Saab employees should Saab indeed close.
In the short term, of course, its closure will mean a difficult transition for Trollhattan. Looking further ahead, while creating opportunities for the emergence of an advanced and export-oriented service industry that builds on the solid technology expertise in Saab in which potential customers are located both in China and in developed countries. Similarly, should the considerable skills of the employees could come other manufacturing industries – which largely exists in western Sweden – a part, not least the Volvo. Saab’s closure may thus be the start of a process of “creative destruction” which both mean a new phase in the automotive industry’s organization, and may give rise to new activities.
I say wholeheartedly that is welcome news. Mr. Braunerhjelm calls for speedy investment and deft employment of the engineering expertise embodied in the Saab workforce.
It appears that Saab’s new partner in old Saabs, BAIC, is very excited about their prize. They are targeting 1.2 million vehicles in 2010, and they are already looking for help with “new energy” cars. Get ’em tiger! The old 9-5 will be a winner in China. Rock solid and smooth.