The lawsuit against GM by Spyker may seem to many to have nothing to do with Saab or the new owners of our iconic brand and I agree. That being said, I don’t fully support that way of thinking. Saab as we knew it was forced into bankruptcy and if Spyker comes out on top or even is awarded a settlement, it sends a message to the auto giants that you can’t just strong arm your way through and kill a company just because.
When a small company like Spyker takes on a “powerhouse” (and I use that term very loosely) like GM, people tend to think that the case will go nowhere and that GM will walk away a winner. Victor Muller in quotes from Just Auto today has stated where his confidence comes from and why he has taken this lawsuit on.
“You can rest assured me being a lawyer and my attorneys being the most serious you can get, we would not have started this if we thought we could not win,” Muller told just-auto.“Why throw money into a black hole?
I know that for me if I were in Victor’s shoes, I would be looking for some payback from GM. You don’t have to look very far to see how every time he had a solution, GM was there to say no I don’t think so. The lawsuit goes a little further to even point out how fear tactics were used to kill deals.
“What we have alleged is they deliberately interfered with the process of Youngman coming [into] Saab as a joint venture. Since GM was the number one supplier to Saab, they made it clear to Youngman if they did this deal, they would never get any parts.”
One of the things that burns me the most of the actions of GM is the following quote from Spyker’s statement:
” As to the substance of the argument, GM argues that, under the Vehicle Supply Agreement ( VSA ) and the Automotive Technology Licence Agreement ( ATLA ), GM had a contractual right to terminate the VSA and ATLA in case of a change of control in Saab. After its investment, Youngman would have controlled more than 20% of Saab, which would have caused a change of control.
Talk about looking for an escape clause. GM saw a 20% in ownership change as a reason to terminate all agreements. This to me just seems unbelievable that they would take this step to effectively kill the company. GM received a huge bailout to be saved from bankruptcy yet failed to even okay a small percentage in ownership change to allow Saab to move forward. As a tax payer, it also angers me that GM could have made money off of Saab and basically said we don’t need to make money that way. How is it okay for a company that was bailed out to say no to making more money and hopefully start paying back? I don’t get it.
When asked about looking back on his time with Saab, Victor’s response was great and I think underlines his determination.
“I don’t look back with regret – I look back in anger. That such a beautiful company was brought to its knees for no reason.”
So, does the Spyker lawsuit matter to us? Yes the Victor chapter of Saab is closed, but it is important to Saab and all of us to not close our eyes to what is happening with GM and Spyker and I sincerely hope we will see GM pay for some of their actions.