Spyker’s newly-acquired Saab division is to set up its own Chinese operation “within months” as it looks to establish a foothold in the fast-growing market.

Spyker CEO Victor Muller said it was critical that Saab set up its own business model in China now it was operating independently of former parent General Motors.

“Can a fish swim? Of course you need to be in China or you are doomed,” he said. “The distribution [used to be] done by Shanghai GM but there was no future.

“In the next few months we will set up our own Chinese distribution [and] we hope to do 10,000 cars in China in the next few years. We have been talking to a number of potential partners.”

Muller also outlined plans to integrate some Spyker operations with its Saab dealership worldwide but only with those “who are qualified,” to take on the niche brand.

And the new Saab boss also hit out at those who had criticised GM during the lengthy sale process.

“There has been a lot of GM bashing but I have to disagree with most of that,” he said. “GM did not put a lot of priority on Saab but it kept the brand alive.”