Teetering on the brink of oblivion, Saab has been granted one final delay on its execution. Spyker Cars has submitted a final bid for the struggling Swedish brand in an attempt to resurrect a deal with GM before the Dec. 31 closure deadline.
"We're very confident we have put forward a proposal that can convince GM in time," Spyker CEO Victor Muller told Reuters. "The jury's still out. We will see what happens next."
GM previously announced Friday that a last-minute deal with the Netherland's Spyker had fallen through as the parties had reached an impasse and said that an orderly wind-down of Saab would begin early next year. Spyker, however, fielded a last-ditch, 11-point proposal on Sunday that Muller says addresses all of issues that had previously sunk the deal. Spyker said that its offer is good only until 5:00 PM EST today. GM, for its part, said only that it had received several expressions of interest over the weekend and that it would evaluate all of them.
"Following Friday's announcement that GM will begin the orderly wind down of Saab, GM has received inquiries from several parties. We will evaluate each inquiry. We will not comment further until these evaluations have been completed," the company said in a statement.
One of the key sticking points in the proposed Spyker deal was rumored to be the Dutch company's Russian backers, which some believe are hoping to pilfer Saab's technology in an effort to jumpstart the flagging Russian auto industry. Muller would only say that new financing was in place and that his company's deal no longer depends on a last-second loan from the European Investment Bank before the Thursday deadline.
"Our efforts are based on our passion for saving an iconic brand that we would be honored to shepherd, and the jobs and livelihoods of thousands of loyal Saab employees, suppliers and dealers around the world," Muller said.
At stake are 3400 jobs at Saab's Trollhattan, Sweden, headquarters, as well as those employed at the 1100 Saab dealers worldwide, including 218 in the U.S. News of the new proposal shot Spyker's shares up 23.5% to 2.12 euros on hopes that it could close the deal and, assuming it could turn Saab around, become profitable for the first time in its 10-year history. Spyker sold just 43 of its $250,000-plus luxury supercars in 2008 to Saab's 93,000-plus for the same year.
Spyker is hoping the deal will give it a worldwide dealer network as well as access to greater engineering and development expertise. Saab, meanwhile, would get the financial aid necessary to keep the company afloat and hopefully begin turning a profit again. The Swedish automaker has been losing money for most of the past two decades under GM's stewardship.
UPDATE: Spyker has extended the deadline for its new proposal indefinitely.
Source: GM, Reuters, Automotive News (Subscription required)