SWEDEN: Local media rejoice at Saab deal
Swedish media rejoiced on Wednesday over news that Spyker's purchase of loss-making Swedish brand Saab from owner General Motors had reached the 'binding' agreement stage, but, like just-auto, warned of the challenges ahead for the brand which has iconic status in its native land.
"If it was a challenge for Spyker to buy Saab, that was nothing compared the challenges the company will have to face down the road," daily Dagens Nyheter (DN) said in an analysis piece cited by news agency AFP.
"The company has considerably low levels of debt. New models are under way. That is good, but there are true difficulties awaiting," he wrote.
DN said Saab needed to restore confidence in the brand, raise volumes and develop green technologies.
Saab sold just 39,900 cars last year amid the global economic crisis and uncertainty surrounding the brand's fate. That can be compared to 93,295 cars sold in 2008 and 133,000 in 2006.
In a separate editorial, the newspaper said Saab's purchase by Spyker was "a chance and a risk," praising the fact the "classic, Swedish carmaker got a last chance and that the employees in Trollhaettan can hold onto their jobs, at least for a while."
But DN also warned "there is reason to have doubts about Saab's future," noting Saab's "longstanding and major problems," and underlining the "rock hard competition in the auto industry."
It said Saab's losses over the last decade totalled SKR27bn (EUR2.63bn; US$3.72m).
Daily Svenska Dagbladet said in an analysis piece that it was "completely unbelievable that Saab, the underdog, has finally made it out," warning that "if Saab is going to have a hint of a chance, many things have to fall in to place."
"Let us first be happy for the employees in Trollhaettan and all Saab enthusiasts," it said, next to pictures of smiling Saab employees in the carmaker's hometown.
"Now Saab has a chance. But the Saab-Spyker transaction has more to with emotions than with a business logic. It is by no means an obvious (business) decision," it said.
Swedish Radio meanwhile called the sale a "deal clinched against the odds."