NETHERLANDS: Spyker plans independent, niche Saab
Spyker said on Tuesday its purchase of Saab would give it a rare opportunity to acquire and rebuild a global car brand which will be “repositioned towards an independent performance-oriented niche car company with an industry-leading environmental strategy”. There are no surprises in the initial product line which will be built in Sweden and Mexico.
“Saab's brand DNA is unique and rooted in its aeronautical heritage, innovative and independent thinking and its Swedish origins,” Spyker said, adding it fully supports the business plan to be implemented by Saab management that was drawn up over the past 10 months and subsequently analysed by Spyker advisors, several advisors to the Swedish government and the EIB.
The new owner will be renamed Saab Spyker Automobiles NV (Saab Spyker) and will operate Spyker and Saab as two separate operating companies, each focused on its distinct target markets with their respective vehicle lines.
Saab, as a stand-alone niche manufacturer will offer three or four model lines: 9-3 (sedan, hatchback, sports estate, X and convertible) and 9-5 (sedan, sports estate and X) and the planned 9-4X crossover for both the US and European markets. Saab will consider adding a fourth smaller car line (9-1) “provided that the positive development of the smaller car segment continues”.
But this model is not in the business plan so additional financing to develop this model could be required if it get a green light later.
Saab's product line will be renewed completely, beginning with the launch of the new 9-5 early this summer, the 9-4X in early 2011 and a redesigned 9-3 in 2012.
Saab model will continue to compete against those from other 'premium' brands such as Audi and BMW.
Its technical development centre in Trollhättan has full capability to developing complete vehicles and will continue to do so.
Based around Trollhättan, which Spyker regards as one of the most efficient mid-size car plants in Europe, production and sales volumes will be restored to recent pre-crisis levels of about 100,000 to 125,000 vehicles including the 9-4X built in Mexico.
The current dealer network will be “re-energised with a new sales and distribution approach in some markets, which will be implemented during 2010.
The economies of scale of the on-going collaboration with GM after closing the acquisition (February 2010) will continue to be leveraged in sourcing via ancillary agreements, with independent sourcing gradually increasing to reduce GM dependency and obtain improved access to other suppliers and the co-development of unique innovations.
Saab Spyker said its two brands would benefit from sharing some assets and technology services such as the global network of 1,100 dealers, the extensive engineering know how and innovative technologies at Saab and the sharing of sales and marketing activities such as merchandising, promotion and sponsorship.
“In the future, the two brands will be able to share certain parts and components and expect to obtain access to supplier and partner resources not available to Spyker or Saab individually today,” Spyker said.
The automaker said the business plan requires about US$1bn in peak funding for Saab in advance of the return to profitability, forecast to occur by 2012 and this funding is being provided, in part, by GM, through $326m redeemable preference shares (RPSs) and in part through other contributions, which concern various substantial contributions to the funding of the business plan on favourable terms for supplies by GM to Saab and deferred payments from Saab to GM.
The remaining amount, apart from cash at bank, is to be provided by a EUR400m loan from the European Investment Bank for some R&D projects at Saab.
Securing this EIB loan is a condition of the Saab acquisition closing.
“With this financing in place, the business plan does not envisage any future funding being required, neither from Spyker or elsewhere, for Saab to return to profitability,” Spyker said.
“The business plan targets car production and sales at or below historical levels of 100,000 to 125,000.”