Surprise, Spyker Cars Bids on Saab - EXCLUSIVE VIDEO
By Henny Hemmes
Senior European Editor
LOS ANGELES - December 9, 2009: Just before General Motors shocked the media by its surprise "divorce" of CEO Fritz Henderson on Tuesday afternoon, there was another remarkable event that could be mighty important for the survival of the Saab brand.
Last week, the Koenigsegg Group AG quit its negotiations with GM to take over the Swedish brand, resulting in a very gloomy future for Saab. But on December 1, Joran Hagglund, state secretary of the Swedish Industry Ministry, went to Detroit with four other bids, to talk about the future of the company and its 3,400 employees. In his brief case were four bids, one of them - according to sources within GM - for the Chinese state owned BAIC.
Later that day, Victor Muller, owner and CEO of Spyker Cars, got a phone call from GM, telling him the General wanted to proceed with the bid submitted by his Dutch based exotic car company (Spyker is a joint venture with the Russian Convers Group, which owns nearly 30 percent and is led by Vladimir Antonov).
At the LA Auto Show, I spoke with Victor Muller about his ideas and feelings about the possible upcoming deal.
Click PLAY to watch Henny's interview with Victor Muller
Muller said that he was pleasantly surprised to get the GM call and honored that GM choose Spyker to try and make a deal to save Saab. "But the time span is very short," says Muller, "We will have to come to terms, before the end of this month."
Muller is an admirer of the Swedish brand and personally would be really sad, if it would not survice. "It is a good company, with good and honest people, and most important the new 9-5 is a gorgeous car."
He says he has no information on any new model, except for what was published in the media. Upon an earlier question of a TV-host, if he would have been interested if the car manufacturer was an Italian or French company, his answer was a quick: "Most probably not. We are northern Europeans and we have the same characters, life styles and feelings. There definitely is a match between the Dutch and Scandinavian people."
Upon my question if he is talking to the Swedish government, he said that would be eminent. But the Swedes have already announced that they will not bail out Saab with tax payer money. "That is something we do not need," Muller says, "But of course there are issues that we will have to address together."
Let's wait see if a Flying Dutchman will be given a chance by the General to succeed in saving a Viking
CLICK HERE to watch the complete Spyker Press Conference at the 2009 LA Auto Show.