SPAIN: 'No regrets' says Victor Muller on Saab as NEVS takeover date still unknown
Former Saab CEO, Victor Muller, says he has no regrets taking on Saab, but did not shy away from launching further broadsides at unspecified parties, who he claimed, were not over-helpful in the situation.
Muller - who is now CEO of former Saab owner Spyker - made his comments to just-auto from Majorca in the same week he unveiled his mammoth US$3bn lawsuit against General Motors - who he maintained had tried deliberately to drive the Trollhattan automaker into bankruptcy.
"I don't regret taking on Saab," he said. "But I regret what has happened to Saab as a result of certain parties being a little less co-operative or proactively negative.
"It was completely unfortunate and as a result, we have now a large lawsuit against General Motors."
Muller also said he is not a potential bidder for the remnants of the bankrupt automaker despite no further news forthcoming as to when prospective buyer, National Electric Vehicle Sweden (NEVS), will complete its proposed purchase.
NEVS today (9 August) confined itself to noting to just-auto from Sweden it did "not have a completion date" for its takeover of Saab and repeated its insistence the deal would be closed "during the summer."
The lack of a firm date has prompted speculation there may be a delay in proceedings - a situation on which NEVS declines to comment - but nonetheless Muller appears to be concentrating more on his huge lawsuit launched against GM this week than any thought of revisiting Saab.
"I am not a bidder for the assets of Saab," said Muller, although he conceded NEVS had not yet secured full ownership of his former company.
"The use [of the] Saab brand has not even been granted to the purported buyer, NEVS," he said. "I am a true believer in brands - without the Saab brand the factory in Trollhattan is just a factory whether you produce X, Y or Z cars."
The brand issue is problematic in any takeover as defence and security company, Saab AB, manufacturer of the Gripen fighter aircraft, as well as as Scania, must first give their approval to any change in owners who want to keep the automaker's name.
"Saab AB had no interest in Saab Automobile continuing," said Muller. "The sheer thought of having an unstable Saab to them must be horrifying."
The defence company previously told just-auto it could "to some extent" block the sale of Saab as it can stop the name and logo type, but it is unclear at what stage negotiations are at between the three parties.
Saab AB noted any buyer would have to "respect the Swedish legacy, heritage and engineering" inherent in both Saab AB and Saab Automobile.
Muller added with the flight of white collar workers from bankrupt Saab, any restart would require "500 to 600 engineers," which could be problematic given the "tremendous demand" for such skilled workers.
GM responded to Spyker's lawsuit this week by noting: "We have reviewed the complaint and it is completely without merit. We will vigorously defend the company against these baseless allegations."
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