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Spyker Cars, a Dutch sports car company no one would know of were it not for its purchase of Saab from GM, has just announced its own sale. Sort of.
The current company known as Saab Spyker Automobiles will retain Saab, but sell off the niche-market Spyker brand for $44 million to CPP Global Holdings Ltd, a coachbuilder based in Coventry, England.
Here’s where it gets interesting.
CPP is backed by Russian billionaire Vladimir Antonov. Sound familiar? It might if you’ve been paying close attention to the Saab-Spyker story. Back in 2009, it was Antanonv’s involvement in Spyker that initially prevented the sale of Saab from GM. As it turns out, Antanov was allegedly tied to the Russian mafia – and with General Motors being majority owned at this time by none other than the U.S. government, well, let’s just say it wouldn’t have been a good PR move for the Obama administration to sell off millions of dollars of taxpayer assets to the Russian mafia.
No connection between Antanov and the Russian mafia was ever confirmed and Spyker Cars CEO Victor Muller has publicly stated that he does not believe there is a connection.
At the time Antanov pulled out of Spyker allowing the sale to go through, which was surprising as Spyker seemed to easily come up with the necessary funds to seal the deal – hinting that Antanov was secretly still involved. Now it appears Antanov is getting his exotic Dutch sports car company back.
While concentrating on its newly acquired Saab brand, Dutch sports car maker Spyker is still in the business of building its own unique machines. Debuting over a year ago, the Aileron Spyder follows after the coupe model, but its about to get one major change.
Powering the hard-top is a version of Audi’s 4.2-liter V8, a capable engine, but not exactly worthy of the true exotic-ness of the Spyker, or it’s price tag. That, however, will be solved with the Spyder model, with company CEO Victor Muller recently commenting that his company is planning to use the Corvette ZR1 engine – which makes 638-hp.
In addition, Spyker will look to keep the Aileron Spyder exclusive, building just 99 versions of the car.
Dutch sports car maker Spyker Cars expects to become a more significant player in the exotic automobile market in the near future, with claims that sales will increase seven-fold over the next two years. In an interview with Business Week, Spyker sales manager Peter van Rooy commented that in 2012 the Dutch automaker expects to sell 250 C8 Ailerons. (The C8 is the newest model in the Spyker lineup, and essentially replaces the C8 Spyder and C8 Lavallette, which are being phased out.) While not a large number on its own, it’s up drastically from the 36 cars delivered lat year. In fact, since the brand was established in 2002, it has sold just 214 vehicles in total. The new C8 Aileron costs roughly $240,000.
There are three main reasons for the drastic increase in projected sales, the first being the car. Unlike the last model, Spyker sees the new model as more refined and modern. “It won’t be bought as an owner’s sixth or seventh collector’s item. People will probably be putting more miles on this one.” Secondly, Spyker intends to sell its vehicles through Saab dealerships after taking control of the Swedish luxury automaker earlier this year. Finally, Saab intends to offer its first-even automatic transmission, which it believes will help sell vehicles in the U.S.
If Spyker’s targets are correct, the automaker expects to see a profit in 2012.
Saab/Spyker CEO Victor Muller has confirmed that select Saab dealerships will sell exotic models from the Dutch sports car maker. In an interview with Bloomberg, Muller commented that Spyker will look to expand its dealership network (made mostly of exotic car dealerships like Bentley) from 35 to 60 this year. The plan is to then increase that number to 90 Spyker dealerships worldwide by the end of 2011.
Spyker’s latest model is the C8 Aileron, which makes 400-hp and can hit 62-mph in just 4.5 seconds.
In addition Muller commented that future Spyker models, known for their bespoke nature (and Audi-sourced engines), will begin using Saab parts and Saab engineering.
Earlier this year, Spyker purchased the Saab brand from General Motors, saving the Swedish automaker from liquidation.
GALLERY: Spyker C8 Aileron