Vladimir Antonov talks about Saab

The Moscow Times, an online English language news service, had a very short article today, quoting Vladimir Antonov talking about Saab building cars in Russia.

The whole thing:

Saab is looking to build an assembly plant in Russia, said Vladimir Antonov, a former stakeholder in Spyker who left the company so it could buy Saab from General Motors.

“I think we will sign a memorandum of understanding regarding production in Russia … within a month,” Antonov, who said he was a financial adviser to Spyker CEO Viktor Muller, told Slon.ru web site Friday.

Most likely, the assembly facility will be in Kaliningrad and produce 10,000 cars per year, he said. Neither Saab nor Muller had any immediate response to the interview.

I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to find the interview this snippet piece was based on, but I finally managed to do so and it’s a pretty comprehensive interview with Antonov. It covers various subjects, but really revolves around the Saab deal and his ongoing role in the background.

Admittedly, Saab would possibly prefer that the focus remains on the New York Auto Show and the Saab 9-5 right now. But as long as Vladimir Antonov is out there giving interviews, this story isn’t going to go away. There’s a definite disconnect between the public and private faces of Saab right now, which I don’t necessarily think does the company much good.

A Googletrans of the full interview follows these summary points:

  • Antonov states he’s acting as a personal consultant to Victor Muller
  • Says deal was ready to be signed with GM by December 24th before GM cancelled deal on the 18th December last year.
  • Dismisses claims GM had him linked to organised crime, says only Dagens Industri made that link.
  • Antonov wants to manufacture Saab vehicles based on older technology, in Russia for the Russian market. These would be based on outgoing Saab 9-3 and 9-5 technology that wasn’t sold to BAIC

It’s a long interview and remember, it’s just a Googletrans, but I think you’ll get the picture.

Thanks also to Justyn for the tip on the Moscow Times article.


“Comrade Antonov quite compos mentis”

From the decision of Vladimir Antonov’s fate Saab. American auto giant General Motors has agreed to sell the company to the Dutch Spyker only after the Antonov, at that time the owner of 29,9% stake in Spyker, has sold its portfolio of management of this manufacturer of supercars. If he did not, the Americans were ready to close Saab. So Antonov, thrown out of the deal, was nevertheless an indirect savior of the legendary Swedish brand.

Although Antonov complied with the American side, he has remained involved in the automotive industry, becoming a personal consultant Victor Muller – the new owner of Saab.

We Antonov serious plans for the Swedish brand. He plans to run in Kaliningrad assembly Saab specially for Russia. For the price this car will compete with the Ford Focus, and the size – with the Mondeo. Saab will have Russian, Chinese and Russian units. In addition, the businessman thinks that the issue for Europe, the Chinese model.

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