Saab has so far used up USD165m of its USD550m loan from the European Investment Bank (EIB) as it continues to restructure under new Dutch owners Spyker.

Addressing the Automotive News Europe Congress in Bilbao, Spain, Spyker CEO Victor Muller outlined some of the loan details.

The EIB approved a EUR400m loan to the sportscar maker as it sought to purchase Saab earlier this year, with the Swedish government agreeing to underwrite the deal which saved more than 3,000 jobs at the Trollhattan plant. 

“We have drawn down some USD165m out of the USD550m and by 2011 we will have drawn the EUR400m,” he said.

“By the end of 2011 we think we will be cash positive – if nothing strange happens to the world and to our business.”

Muller also emphasised that ties with former parent General Motors were gradually becoming “looser and looser,” although it still has 25 transition service agreements with the US company as well as technical licensing deals.

“We have a very long umbilical cord to GM if we decide to use it,” he said. 

However, the new chief stressed Saab was now completely independent as he outlined some of the management strategy behind Spyker's takeover of the brand. 

“We bought Saab because there was a unique opportunity in a market in complete turmoil,” he said. “It was a very narrow escape [but] we got the money.

“What I do is bring a lot of know-how from Spyker to Saab. What Saab needs more than anything else is entrepreneurship – there is no cavalry coming from Detroit if we mess up.”

Muller also emphasised the importance of creating strategic alliances for future model development adding the global recession had driven manufacturers to look for increasing ways of collaboration.

“There is one thing this perfect storm has caused and that is every board of every car manufacturer [said] how can we bring our break even point down? The best way is to share our technology.”

“It [technology] is already paid for. Saab is already on the receiving end of a lot of potential contracts for shared technology. That is what this crisis has caused and it is here to stay.”

Muller has made  bold estimates of what production levels Saab could achieve by 2012, even predicting the automaker could roll out up to 125,000 units.

“Is it presumptuous?” he said. “The jury is out, but I convinced we will pull it off.”

 

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