What's Next for the Swedes

#Saab, #S60

Wagoner and friends find themselves hat-in-hand begging for cash in Washington. When the feds demand GM show them a viability plan, the "strategic review" (read: sale) of Saab is part of it.

Saab goes through the Swedish equivalent of a Chapter 11 reorganization-and it turns out that General Motors is the largest creditor. The launches of the new 9-5 and the 9-4X are pushed back indefinitely. Work on the 9-3 replacement and the 9-1 small car are suspended.

MAY 2009
As General Motors skids toward bankruptcy, it continues to seek a buyer for Saab (and Hummer and Saturn), but with all the major carmakers hunkered down in survival mode, there are few interested parties.

JUNE 2009
General Motors enters bankruptcy. Koenigsegg, Swedish maker of ultraexclusive sports cars, emerges as a potential buyer for Saab.

On November 24, the Koenigsegg deal collapses, and Spyker's Victor Muller begins to assemble a team to work on a possible Saab acquisition.

At the same December 1 board meeting where GM fires eight-month CEO Fritz Henderson, it agrees to go forward in negotiations with Spyker. But talks end in an impasse less than three weeks later.

GM begins the liquidation of Saab, and Saab's board is disbanded. New GM CEO Ed Whitacre is quoted as saying: "It's real easy. Just show up with the money and you can have it, and nobody's showing up with the money. I think we've done everything humanly possible." Spyker prepares a new offer, and Bernie Ecclestone is also said to be an interested buyer.

Spyker's offer for Saab is accepted, and Spyker Cars NV officially becomes the new owner on February 23. The deal includes a €400 million loan from the European Investment Bank, guaranteed by the Swedish government.

MARCH 2010
After a seven-week hiatus, Saab production resumes on March 22.

MAY 2010
Spyker CEO and Saab chairman Victor Muller and Jan Åke Jonsson, Saab president and CEO, celebrate Saab's resurrection by driving the Mille Miglia in Saab 93s.

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