AutoGuide News Blog
The AutoGuide News Blog is your source for breaking stories from the auto industry. Delivering news immediately, the AutoGuide Blog is constantly updated with the latest information, photos and video from manufacturers, auto shows, the aftermarket and professional racing.
Uncertainty overshadowed Dutch sports car maker Spyker over the last few years, and that’s something the brand is hoping to change.
Despite the tragic demise of the Saab brand, former Saab CEO Victor Muller isn’t going to quit just yet.
Victor Muller elaborated upon the proclamation and revealed details to keep Spyker Cars, the Dutch hand-made supercar marque that put him on the automotive map. “I’m excited to get back into this business,” said Muller, adding that he has already put most of the liabilities incurred during the Saab fiasco behind him. Cash and finances will now be dedicated to restoring Spyker.
What’s more, Russian business partner Vladimir Antonov invested a significant amount into Saab and Spyker during its most turbulent period. Now, Muller is happy to say that Antonov is “out of the picture” entirely, suggesting more freedom for Muller to run his business. He ambitiously suggests the expansion of the Spyker line-up as well, which had never produced more than 100 vehicles a year.
Letting out a sigh at the mention of Saab, Muller hinted that Saab isn’t through with all nine of its lives. Some reports have indicated the possibility of several potential investors that could revive the Swedish brand. Unfortunately, the speed bump is dealing with intellectual properties from GM that are found within the 9-5 and 9-4X models. In any case, Saab is no longer Muller’s problem.
[Source: The Detroit Bureau]
Bold and ambitious, Victor Muller founded Spyker Swedish exotic sports cars before purchasing Saab, believing in its return to past glory under his leadership. Confident in his abilities, Muller’s gamble on Saab put Spyker in danger as well.
Following Saab’s devastating bankruptcy, Swedish Automobile N.V. (Swan for short, formerly Spyker Cars N.V.) have announced that there are talks on the possible sale of Spyker as well. On the other hand, if Swan chooses to keep Spyker, then the company faces the difficult challenge of securing funds. However, if Swan is unable to raise capital or if a suitable buyer cannot be found, Spyker will likely suffer an unfortunate fate similar to Saab.
Plans to sell Spyker were hinted in the past as financial firms CPP Global Holdings and North Street Capital showed interest in the Swedish boutique automaker. But, inexplicably, both deals fell apart without any statements issued or information disclosed. Meanwhile, Spyker is also carrying debt held by Tenaci Capital BV, controlled by Victor Muller himself and wealthy Russian, Vladimir Antonov. Making matters even more serious, four of Swan’s supervisory and management board members, Hans Hugenholtz, Maurizia La Noce, Alex Roepers, and Rob Schuijt have resigned after disagreements with Victor Muller. Seeking nothing less than a Hail Mary pass, Swan issued 2.5 million shares to seek more investors. Despite the effort, existing shares of Swan have fallen to €0.22.
While the Spyker was never a popular marque, its sports cars are a celebration of spirited driving, luxury, and attention to the smallest detail. As time and money runs dry, we may soon witness the end to Spyker’s brilliant and short existence.
U.S. private equity firm North Street Capital will give Saab a $70 million investment, including an equity stake worth $10 million and a $60 million loan to the ailing car maker.
With Chinese-backed financing looking increasingly unlikely, the investment from North Street Capital, a firm run by auto enthusiast Alex Mascioli, will give Saab the resources it needs to (literally) keep the lights on at their facilities. The Chinese government has yet to approve the bridge loan being offered by both Zhejiang Youngman Lotus Automobile Co and Pang Da, and Saab’s owners fear that full payment will not be received on the October 22nd due date.
[Source: Automotive News]
U.S. private equity firm North Street Capital, has purchased Spyker, after a deal to sell the Dutch outfit to Russian investors fell through. The Financial Times reported the news after viewing a preliminary draft of the announcement.
It’s unclear how the Spyker sale will impact parent company Swedish Automobile, and its attempts to restructure Saab, the legendary Swedish car company once affiliated with Spyker. The Dutch sports car maker was due to be sold to CPP Global Holdings, owned by Russian investor Vladimir Antonov.
Swedish Automobile wanted to sell Spyker to focus on Saab, and a series of deals with Chinese auto makers were also announced, with little tangible results.
[Source: Financial Times]
Having just signed a deal with two Chinese partners, Saab chief Victor Muller has immediately shown he knows how to work the media. Rather than sit quietly, Muller has already announced plans to build three new models, while a new joint-venture arrangement secures medium-term funding for the production of Saabs current lineup.
Two of the three new models will be larger, perhaps designed specifically for the Chinese market where luxury automakers like BMW and Mercedes currently sell stretched versions of their 5 Series and E-Class platforms. Their names: the 9-6 and 9-7
The final car is the much talked-about 9-1, a smaller vehicle (rendered above). “We will now be able to develop a small entry-level Saab, a car that has long been on the top of our wish list,” said Muller in a statement.
Funding for the projects will come from both Zhejiang Youngman Lotus Automobile and distributor Pang Da Automobile which recently purchased a $356 million 51% stake in Saab.
Saab will finally gain some stability, as the company will resume production tomorrow at its Trollhattan, Sweden, assembly plant.
The facility has been idle for about six weeks. Saab’s owner, Dutch automaker Spyker, has been unable to secure the much-needed financing to pay off its suppliers, but the automaker says it has reached agreements that will allow it to begin building cars again.
“Based on the information we have, it looks like we will start up production tomorrow,” spokeswoman Gunilla Gustavs told Reuters.
Tomorrows production will produce 100 vehicles instead of the usual 230-240 cars per day.
Saab and Spyker have been waiting for the Chinese government to approve a $110 million Euro investment in Pang Da. The Chinese distributor has already paid Saab 30 million euros for the opportunity to sell cars in China.
[Source: Left Lane News]
As part of Spyker’s capital-raising efforts for its ailing Saab brand, the Dutch automaker is entering into talks with Chinese automotive company Pang Da, and will have to rename itself as Swedish Automobile N.V. as part of the deal.
In return, Saab will get a $42 million cash payment, ostensibly to help pay Saab’s substantial debts. Saab CEO Victor Muller confirmed the payment, stating ”Pang Da’s advance payment and sales of imported Saab cars are not subject to approval from the NDRC. The first advance payment of EUR 30 million was received last Tuesday.”
Pang Da is expected to pay $91 million for a 23 percent stake in Saab. However, a Bloomberg report claims that China is hoping to slash the size of its auto industry, and government regulators may not give the go-ahead for the transaction, scuttling Saab’s salvation.
Since “All My Children” and “One Life To Live” have been canceled, soap opera fans can turn to Swedish car-firm Saab for their weekly dose of drama.
Saab has seen its fair share of ups and downs in the last year and a half. General Motors almost left it for dead when a take-over deal with Koenigsegg broke down, only to find a last minute savior in the Dutch car company Spyker.
Ever since Spyker took over, Saab has had escalating problems with paying bills and keeping the production line going, with the company on the brink of bankruptcy almost every month.
Now with a new Chinese investing partner (Pangda Automobile Trade Co.), Saab now seems set to begin production once again next week, after a seven-week delay.
While Saab waits for the Chinese authorities to fully approve the Pangda deal, Spyker’s CEO Victor Muller says he is confident Pangda will obtain the necessary approvals to get the deal done.
Saab currently owes $47.2-million to Swedish suppliers, and almost the same amount to foreign suppliers. To say Saab is in a big hole is an understatement.
We hope they can get back on their feet and start producing cars like the iconic Sonnet and the 900 Turbo once again.
[Source: Automotive News]
Saab appears to have yet again found a savior in China, announcing a joint venture with Pangda Automobile Trade Co., the largest distributor of vehicles in the world’s largest car market.
The deal will see Pangda purchase 30 million Euros ($42.5 million) in Saab vehicles, with a second purchase of 15 million Euros ($21 million) to follow. Later on, Pangda will provide 65 million Euros ($92 million) in funding, resulting in a 24 percent equity stake in the Swedish automaker. These investments solve Saab’s cash flow problems for the immediate future and will be enough to get production back on line.
Several other proposals with Chinese partners in the past few weeks have fallen through, reportedly due to a lack of approval by the Chinese government. According to Saab/Spyker CEO Victor Muller, the deal with Pangda should go much more smoothly as it is not a car manufacturer, but a distributor, and therefore the same strict rules do not apply. Last week a deal with China’s Hawtai fell through while rumored talks with another automaker, Great Wall, were later denied.
With the apparent collapse of the deal between Hawtai and Spyker, the Dutch parent company of Saab is now courting Chinese automaker Great Wall in an apparent bid to find a partner for the ailing Saab brand.
Hawtai was apparently unable to get the necessary approval to complete a transaction with Saab worth 150 million euros, in which Hawtai would get a stake in the Swedish luxury car maker. Saab would have used the cash to pay off suppliers and resume production at its Swedish plants.
Spyker released a short statement today, claiming ”Spyker and Saab Automobile continue to work on securing short and medium term funding. To that end Spyker and Saab Automobile are negotiating equity and debt financing and/or technology licensing with various (strategic) Chinese partners.”
A source close to the deal told Retuers that Saab and Great Wall had been in communication throughout the Hawtai deal, stating “the two sides have never stopped talking…”
[Source: Automotive News]
Saab’s partnership with Chinese automaker Hawtai could see the ill-fated Swedish luxury brand use its dealer network to sell cheap Chinese cars in America, with some priced at the magic $10,000 mark.
“We laughed when the Japanese came,” Victor Muller, Saab’s chairman, told Automotive News. “We laughed when the Koreans came. But we will not be laughing when the Chinese come. The Chinese are like a steamroller.”
Saab recently signed a joint venture deal with Hawtai Motor Group that covers distribution, manufacturing and technology sharing. Muller was reluctant to confirm that Hawtai would use Saab’s distribution network, but did say that it’s a tempting prospect for the automaker. Muller also said that Saab could sell a cheap, well-equipped Chinese car, with the caveat that it would not meet 5-star crash protection requirements.
[Source: Automotive News]
Saab has been rescued from near-collapse yet again after an agreement was signed with China’s Hawtai Motor Group. The agreement will form a joint venture for manufacturing, distribution and technology between Saab owner Spyker and Hawtai. It will also provide $222 million in funding for Saab, ending the Swedish automaker’s halt in production caused by insufficient payment of supplier bills. The deal will see Hawtai take a maximum 29.9 percent take in Spyker.
This partnership will be beneficial to Saab which will enter the Chinese car market with a strong Chinese manufacturer. Victor Muller, Spyker CEO said, “We expect that Saab’s unique brand values based on its aviation heritage, Scandinavian origins and innovation-driven character will do very well in the Chinese market.” Muller also explained; “Saab is now well financed. It has secured its short and mid-term financing needs. That puts the credit crunch that the company went through in April to bed.”
Richard Zhang, vice president of Hawtai, said: “This is a great day for our relatively young company which was founded 10 years ago. The partnership with the iconic Saab brand will give us access to innovative technologies and an international network which would have taken us decades to build.”
On Monday, Spyker said it hopes to restart Saab production within a week after it secured almost $88.9 million in short-term funding. Spyker has also obtained a $44.4 million convertible loan from investment fund Gemini, one of Spyker’s shareholders. Furthermore, the owner of Gemini, a Lithuanian businessman will also make a draw down request to the European Investment Bank for $43.1 million.
Hawtai is looking to become a global leading automotive company by 2015 after raising capacity to 1 million vehicles, 1 million engines and 1 million automatic transmissions. Hawtai is the builder of private buses and SUVs. The Rongcheng based company was established in 2000 and since 2002, has built Santa Fe and Terracan SUVs under its own brand using technology licensed from Hyundai.
With Saab parent company Spyker Cars having secured a 30 million euro short-term loan, Saab vehicles will now resume production after a payment dispute with suppliers forced them to suspend their operations.
Saab CEO Victor Muller released a statement to the media, remarking ”I would like to apologize to our dedicated employees, suppliers, dealers and customers for the disruptions of the past weeks. We will do everything in our power to restore the confidence in our company as soon as practically possible.”
Saab is also exploring other avenues for funding, including partnerships with Chinese automakers and a land deal with controversial Russian businessman Vladimir Antonov, that would involve Antonov buying Saab’s Swedish production facility and then leasing it back to the automaker as a means of giving Saab some liquidity. European investment outlets previously expressed significant reservations regarding Antonov and his alleged connections to Russian criminal networks.
[Source: Automotive News]
Vladimir Antonov, Russian banker, investor, billionaire, and perennial runner-up for Most Interesting Man In The World Award, has been cleared by the Swedish National Debt Office to become a shareholder in Spyker, and ultimately Saab.
Despite possible connections with organized crime that any Russian billionaire is expected to hold in the first place, Antonov has “made so many valuable contributions to Spyker since 2007 as financier and shareholder,” said Victor Muller, CEO of Spyker in a statement.
Antonov, himself the chairman of management company Conversgroup, said, “the past months of speculations around me, as an individual investor and my businesses has been exhausting. Clearly this has been a disturbing factor for many of my businesses. Finally we have managed to obtain a clean bill of health and we need to move fast forward to secure the cash flow of Saab Automobile.”
Good news for Spyker, and good news for the long-term survival of our favorite Swedish rally-turbo builders—as long as Antonov stays away from those pesky money-laundering shenanigans with the backup cast of Eastern Promises.