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General Motors’ on-again, off-again sale of Swedish brand Saab was concluded today, with Dutch sports-car builder Spyker taking over the former GM entity.

The completion marks the first successful sale of a cast-off GM brand, after the failed Saturn deal with Penske Automotive and the long-pending sale of Hummer to a Chinese heavy-machinery company.

Saab, a comparative giant with 3,400 employees compared with niche automaker Spyker, will operate under the corporate umbrella of Spyker Cars NV, the Dutch company said.

“We are delighted - Saab’s future is now secure,” said Victor Muller, CEO of Spyker Cars. “From today, we will be concentrating all of our efforts into reviving Saab and transforming it into a sustainable and profitable company with the confidence to be bold.”

The multi-national sale of Saab comes after an agonizing year for the innovative automaker, which has not made a profit in a decade. After GM emerged from bankruptcy in the summer, Saab became one of the doomed brands as the Detroit automaker retracted, along with Saturn, Hummer and Pontiac.

9-3X Crossover

Months of negotiations with Swedish supercar builder Koenigsegg fell apart in September, after which Spyker stepped forward with its offer. But that bid also failed a month later, and GM began winding down Saab in preparation for closure.

But a persistent Spyker continued to press GM with a new offer, and in January, signed a deal with GM to buy Saab. The price tag came
down to $74 million in cash and $326 million in shares.

“I’m very pleased that we could come to a positive conclusion, one that presents a viable future for Saab and preserves jobs in Sweden and elsewhere,” said Nick Reilly, president, GM Europe.

Saab CEO Jan Åke Jonsson said he is heartened by the efforts to save Saab from shuttering its factories and worldwide dealerships.

“Today’s announcement is great for Saab’s customers, dealers, suppliers and employees around the globe,” Jonsson said. “The level of passion and support shown to Saab over recent months has been remarkable, and this does bode well for the future.”

Saab launches an all-new midsize 9-5 model this year, and a 9-4X SUV in 2011. A new 9-3X will debut at the upcoming Geneva auto show.

Muller vowed that Saab will remain independent in the design and execution of its cars and SUVs.

“We will reinforce the emotional experience between Saab drivers and their cars and we will focus on Saab's historical strengths in the fields of independent thinking, aircraft heritage, ecological performance and motorsport,” the CEO said.

source: speedtv

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