Spyker To Sue GM Over Saab
(Monday 6 August 2012)
The sad story of the decline of Saab has taken a new twist today, as its final owner Spyker has filed a $3 billion lawsuit against General Motors, which it claims was responsible for the collapse of the Swedish brand late last year.
Spyker's final attempt to save Saab was to create a deal in which desperately needed financial help would be supplied by another manufacturer, Youngman. If you don't know who Youngman is, don't worry. There's no reason why any UK motorist should. The point is that Youngman is Chinese, and is a rival to the SAIC Motor Corporation (also Chinese).
SAIC has a partnership with General Motors, which previously owned Saab and was, at the time of the final collapse, still a stakeholder. GM technology was still being used in Saab models right up to the end, and it's easy to see how GM would not be keen for its intellectual property to come into the hands of one of its competitors on the Chinese market. The Youngman deal didn't happen, and Spyker - or Swedish Automobile NV, the company it created to control Saab - "decided that the company without further funding will be insolvent and that filing bankruptcy is in the best interests of its creditors".
Today, the language is much more robust. Spyker - which, thanks to investment from an unnamed third party, is bearing the costs of the lawsuit on behalf of Saab (in return for a "very substantial" share of the award "when the proceedings are successful") since Saab itself is in receivership and can't contribute - speaks of GM's "unlawful actions" and "tortious" interference.
"We owe it to our stakeholders and ourselves that justice is done," says Spyker CEO Victor Muller in equally feisty tones, "and we will pursue this lawsuit with the same tenacity and perseverance that we had when we tirelessly worked to save Saab Automobile, until GM destroyed those efforts and deliberately drove Saab Automobile into bankruptcy."
GM's view on all this may be expected to differ.