A lot of news services are now playing follow the leader and reporting Spyker as the leading bidder for the purchase of Saab.
I’m pleased they’re involved and I’m starting to get a much better appreciation for their work, their background and their capability. The man who is fast becoming the face of this group, Victor Muller, certainly has some serious experience in various disciplines and it not someone to be taken lightly.
There are the Spyker detractors, too, though. Many are using the same argument they used with Koenigsegg – they’re too small to run a full scale car factory.
It makes me wonder if they really are too small, or if these people just don’t understand that ‘Spyker’ is just an attractive name for a bigger entity, as was the Koenigsegg name for the Keonigsegg Group.
When the dust settles on a sale, Saab’s own management group will be running what is one of the leanest factories in Europe and an award winning lean factory in Sweden. The buyer can address the strategic stuff and the Saab people can actually run it.
See below for the full detractor article
There’s some other criticism, too, from a Dutch union, who aren’t happy about the prospective purchase of Saab.
Spyker are about to move their production from Holland to Coventry, in England. This is an economic move that’ll result in the loss of about 45 jobs. Apparently there was some trouble providing for the re-training of the sacked workers and the union isn’t happy that all of a sudden there’s money for Saab.
Get to know your Spykers – the 2009 C8 Aileron. Definitely distinctive!
Things I don’t like so much – the interior looks a bit fussy for my tastes, though I can definitely appreciate the level of detail and I love the shifter. I’m not a fan of the vents on the side of the car, either.
What I do like, however, is the incredible attention to detail, and the component makup of this car. Essentially, what Spyker do with this car is something that Saab have talked about all year. They will deal with separate companies for separate components, right? This Aileron has got an engine from Audi, suspension from Lotus, etc etc.
It’s a company working along similar lines as to what Saab have talked about, and that’s got to be a good fit.
Back to the detractors, including The Dude.
The following appears in today’s Dagens Industri. Needless to say, I don’t agree.
My thanks to Erik W for the translated text.
The Dutch company Spyker is an even less likely SAB buyer than Koenigsegg, the professor of industrial organisation Christian Berggren believes.
He is also concerned about the intentions that Spyker and its Russian majority owner have to this deal.
“Either the objectives are very vague, or else you might reflect on where the industrial skills are to be found,” says Christian Berggren, active at the Linköping University.
The prospect of a marriage between Spyker and Saab would being successful is, from Saab’s perspective, gloomy, Christian Berggren thinks.
“What Saab needs is a strong industrial owner, with economies of scale and resources to drive product innovation, reduce costs and so on. And that this company will not have. It’s even less credible than Koenigsegg,” he says.
“When GM chose Koenigsegg everyone who knows anything about the industry knew that it was an extremely weak bidder. But GM found no one better. They want at all costs to avoid bearing the costs of closure, as far as you can. And then you catch at a straw, “continues Christian Berggren.
Spykers purchase of Saab can nevertheless be completed, Christian Berggren thinks.
“That is to say, deals can have their own logic. You can make money also out of pure loss companies” he says and points to the consortium Phoenix Venture Holdings (PVH) and its scandalous purchase of loss-making MG Rover from BMW in 2000.
The businessmen behind PVH earned big money from Rover before it collapsed in 2005.
“There are always opportunities for those who have such interests. But they will never say that before, of course, that I’m buying this out because I see a private business opportunity here.”
But even if Spyker is a bad Saab buyer, GM’s scope for action is very limited, as the company is controlled by the U.S. government and ultimately the U.S. taxpayers, Christian Berggren points out.
“Their ability to act to save Saab is very small. They want to minimize their losses.”
To Professor Ferdinand Dudenhöffer, car analyst at the Duisburg-Essen university in Germany, it does not really matter who buys Saab from U.S. General Motors. He anyways sees no future for the brand.
GM on Thursday was reported to be very close to appoint a main bidder. According to TT, it is an operator who has experience in automobile manufacturing, but on a smaller scale. The data point to the Dutch Spyker Cars.
“It’s hard to sell Saab, since the value of Saab is negative rather than positive. For GM, it is obviously good if you have some competitors, when to sell. And then GM surely sees it as an advantage with someone who will not without great cost be able to use GM, Opel and Saab Technology in China for example. Hence a buyer like Spyker is certainly more harmless, ” Ferdinand Dudenhöffer said to TT.
But he does not give the small sports car manufacturer any chances to succeed with Saab.
“Saab sales have declined strongly and sales this year may be 60 000 vehicles with two or three models. And Saab’s competitors are such as Volvo, Audi, BMW and Mercedes. They are operating in a 500 000 – 1 million environment”, Ferdinand Dudenhöffer states.
He cannot see how Saab with the almost negligible volume will be able to cope with a worldwide marketing and development of new models.
“And Saab actually so far has only made losses in recent years.”