Does The Spyker Lawsuit Matter To Us?

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.

48 thoughts on “Does The Spyker Lawsuit Matter To Us?”

  1. Glad to see an post like this not “sugar coat” anything. At the time before the bankruptcy proceedings people were cautious and actually very quiet, about the real reasons of Saab’s demise. From the beginning it was an IP issue with GM. And I will flat out say it, it was all the fault of General Motors and their greed. As a taxpayer of the US, I honestly would not support another bailout of an institution like GM. I wish Muller the best, waiting to see that man put GM to shame!

    • GM certainly did not deserve the bailout, that’s for sure. Their reputation for building sub-par products (the absolute worst cars I’ve ever driven were made by GM — and no: I don’t consider *any* car built in Trollhättan as being “made by GM”, they don’t deserve that credit). Ford and Chrysler are a different story, as the former is starting to build some interesting cars, and Chrysler is making some cool offerings with Fiat.

  2. Thanks, great post. Big respect for VM,I think he knows what he’s doing, and how to play the lawgames. Still very sad that he had to shut the factory down. He had great ideas with Saab .

  3. Victor did have great ideas, problem was limited funding, if he had half as much funding as he did enthusiasm he would have had no problems. The more I read, the more it looks that GM never intended to sell Saab and were caught off guard when without Antanov he was able to still purchase the company. These road blocks that came up with Youngman do not seem to be anything new for GM and seem to be a regular business practice for them. Everything about the process stinks and I hope they have to pay and that this can help companies like Saab for the future. A small company should not have to be taken out because a giant decides to squash them especially when the giant has benefitted from their expertise for so many of their other brands.


      GM files for bankruptcy after financial the trouble,caused by the large sum it had to pay for damages to the Swedish car manufacturer Saab and its former owner Spyker. The company continues production under it’s new owners, [INSERT EASTERN FAVOURITE BRANDS HERE]. The GM brand will be phased out in favour to the name chosen by the new owners. Being owned partially by Japanese, Korean and Chinese owners, it only seemed natural to make up the new brand name GENERAL EASTERN MOTORS or GEM. 🙂

  4. Well, 20% ownership can be used as a threshold in measuring significant control over a company’s operations. Given that Spyker itself is/was essentially bankrupt, Youngmang providing the financing would make them the “de facto” owners of SAAB. I think that was GM’s reasoning and I can’t say it is completely wrong of them to have thought of the Youngman deal in that way.

    As for the lawsuit itself and while I don’t really care about the outcome, I have my popcorn ready just in case it gets interesting…

  5. “Why throw money into a black hole?” That is a unusual statement comming from Muller. Isn’t Spyker itself a black hole that absorbs money but never makes a profit or has something changed there?

    • Let’s see…has Spyker ever fleeced American taxpayers (or any taxpayers) out of tens of billions of dollars, like GM is doing? I think not. Funny how GM is “spreading the wealth around” by giving healthy bonus checks to their union workers—-and incredibly fat “performance incentive” checks to their management, while they still owe the Treasury those tens of billions. It’s sick.

  6. Well said! Can anyone shed some light on what GM’s intentions were when they acquired Saab other than “Let’s be like Ford and buy a Swedish Auto company.”? Strange as it seems it as if GM want to kill Saab after investing in it. GM is it’s own worst enemy. Sadly GM did not see the good things in Saab and therefore failed to see what they could have done with it and what it could have become when it divested itself of it. Good Luck and best wishes to Spyker!

    • That very issue was brought up in the following forum some years ago. Maybe it will shed some light on the issue. 🙂
      Replace “_dot_” with “.”

    • As I understand it, when GM bought into Saab, the intentions was to make what Ford had made; a group of premium brands including a swedish brand.
      Yes, they were imitating Ford. I do not think GM had the competence to figure that one out for themselves.
      Ford failed, and are now in the process of building “One Ford” for all markets. And since GM failed even more I think *that* is what GM is now planning to do with Chevrolet. Since they seem to be – again and again – doing what Ford did, just later and often worse.
      So Yes, GM is indeed it’s own worst enemy. And they are getting good at it.

  7. Does it matter to us? It depends what you’re looking to get out of it. Justice or revenge? If Spyker gets any money from this, it will directly benefit Spyker and Mr. Muller. It would be nice if the real Saab enthusiasts who bought a new Saab during Spyker’s ownership will be compensated for loss of resale value and warranty. What about the employees worldwide that lost their job? The dealers that had to close or went bankrupt? In that case, yes it would matter to me.

    • As I understand it, the law suit is being pursued by Spyker on its own account and on behalf of Saab. Since Saab has no money, Spyker is running it all. I don’t have all of the details, but any recompense would, I believe, benefit at least the direct creditors of Saab.

  8. As a taxpayer, I’m also upset by GM’s incompetence. It’s been stated before many times, by many of us—-GM acted hastily and probably unethically by how they handled the Saab situation. At the very least, there was a little money to be made by allowing Saab to survive—-and they cut off their nose to spite their face. They’re clowns and I hope they get rolled in this lawsuit.

  9. In all this GM hatred has anyone thought about the GM workers? Are they less important than the Saab ones?

    There are many thousands of GM workers worldwide – GM going down would have far wider consequences than Saab…

    For the record I don’t think for a moment Spyker will win, and even if they miraculously did, how would it benefit Saab owners?

    • Saab has designed and built amazing products, and I have respected the company highly because of it.

      GM, on the other hand, cuts corners in so much of what they do (seeing pieces come loose on a brand new rental Chevy SUV as one example), which I would argue is a big reason for their poor sales. Granted Saab made a number of miscalculations and financing mistakes but the fact is that their problems were exacerbated by the Swedish government’s refusal to help, as well as EIB and Lofalk creating unnecessary obstacles. GM’s behavior against Saab, after given a ridiculous sympathy payout on the US taxpayer’s dime, was completely unacceptable.

      Of course, I wish all the best for the GM workers that do good work for their employer, but a nearly bankrupt government throwing borrowed money into a broken machine is only staving off the inevitable.

    • There was never any reason to takeover Gm by the govt, destroy all the bondholders, give a large amount of the stock to the unions and stick us taxpayers with the balance. GM could nad should have declared bankruptcy reorganization. Many other companies, notably airlines have done this , restructured and became stronger and better companies. With a restructuring bloated union contracts would be torn up and made into more reasonable arrangements.

      As the parody commercial for the Chevy Volt says you can build absolutely anything with the money of Federal Gevernment backing you!

    • Yeah, I’ve thought about those workers. They’re members of a union that is largely responsible for GM being in the crapper—–certainly not soley responsible, because GM hasn’t had good management in over 40 years. Anyway, the union those workers belong to was gifted a big share of the company by the President presiding over the outlandish bailout. What about workers at thousands of small businesses who were forced out of jobs due to the poor world economy? Their jobs could have been saved by tens of billions of dollars in government help too—-are you playing a violin for those people, or just the greedy GM folks?

  10. Here’s the bit I keep having trouble with. Nobody forced VM to buy Saab. He went in with his eyes open, and had a business plan. That business plan failed, and had done so by march 2011, long before Saab finally went under.

    GM did not directly cause that business plan to fail. (Ie it did not withhold parts, due to unpaid invoices etc). Saab consuming too much cash, and spyker not having any, is what caused it to fail.

    VMs lawsuit contends that had GM let youngman in, everything would have been fine. Youngman had many opportunities in the summer and fall of 2011 to put their money in. If I recall, in the vast majority of cases, it either never arrived, or arrived in minuscule amounts. There was no guarantee that they would have, or could have consummated the deal, or if so, could have done it in time to save the company.

    • Well, if the contracts VM signed says GM could pull their licenses for no reason, then indeed this lawsuit has no merit.

      If OTOH the question solely revolves around the transfer of ownership-clause (which GM’s reply seems to agree with), then it is a completely different matter, since no ownership change would have taken place in the latest version of the deal.

  11. Go Victor, GO
    Do show that the way they killed Saab was not to be justified legally.
    Just go on if you have the good cards in your hand.
    Justice must be.

  12. Does it matter to us? Would Spyker use the GM money to develop a line of moderately (whatever that means) priced cars based on the Phoenix platform? Might NEVS build them under contract? That would make it matter…

  13. Anybody remembers the Koenigsegg deal/situation?? what happened with it? why Koenigsegg finally give up?? I think this could be a good example and possibly a good example of how GM, decided to force Saab to the bankruptcy

    • Looking back, GM put a lot of road blocks in the way for Koenigsegg and managed to stifle that deal. I think it would’ve done the same with Spyker too if a couple of things hadn’t happened. One of those things was the “Save Saab” campaign started by Saab History and also picked up by SaabsUnited. The other was the “I wont buy from GM” (if it doesn’t let Saab be sold) web campaign started by Swade. Both of those campaigns demonstrated the amount of ill feeling that would be directed against GM if it just closed Saab without seriously trying to sell it. At the time, GM was at one of it’s weakest points in history and probably decided it didn’t need any extra negative publicity. In 2011 GM was stronger and it really wouldn’t have cared about any negative publicity generated from making sure that Saab closed. Thus it finally managed to close Saab which was probably what it intended all along?

  14. I have to say that Chrystler offers some of the ugliest vehicles I have ever seen, like the P.T. Loser for one (Dodge neon with a halloween costume over it). And, they are not engineered as well as stated. But then, it’s all personal preference I suppose.

  15. Does anyone have a link to GM’s answer to the Spyker suit. I would be curious to read it. I recall I was not impressed with Spyker’s complaint when I read it.

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