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Official: Spyker and Youngman sign deal, plan to build D8 SUV and Phoenix-based range

08/27/2012   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Coupes, Sports/GTs, SUVs, China, Euro, Saab, Spyker, Luxury, Off-Road

Spyker SSUV concept - studio view - front three-quarter view

It appears Spyker is strengthen its ties and carmaking ability with Chinese carmaker Youngman. This comes in the wake of the brand's latest dealings with a $3 billion lawsuit against General Motors regarding the demise of Saab.

Youngman is reportedly investing €10,000,000 ($12.5M USD) for a 29.9-percent stake in the company. The shares are being sold for €0.05 (6.3 cents) each, representing a fully diluted share. Youngman has said it will not take on more than the 29.9-percent stake.

Additionally, Youngman will invest €25,000,000 ($31M) for the development of an all-new Spyker vehicle, called the D8 P2P, named for the Peking-to-Paris rally. The vehicle had been shown as a concept by Spyker previously, but things had been quiet since then. It appears Spyker will now build the uniquely styled D8 Concept shown above. The vehicle is to launch at the end of 2014 and carry a price of $250,000 per vehicle.

It also appears a second car range will be built, based on the Phoenix platform. Though Saab may have, for all intents and purposes, gone under, Spyker has transferred the licensing rights of the Phoenix platform (the architecture that was to underpin the next 9-3) to... itself. According to Youngman's CEO Pang Qingnian, "We have felt all along that a cooperation with Spyker had to be pursued, even after we both unjustifiably lost the opportunity to restructure Saab," he continued, "with this agreement, many of our original intentions with the Saab brand will take shape."

So while we continue to see the developments of Spyker's relationship with the Chinese automaker, it will be interesting to see just what vehicles develop under this deal - both for the Spyker brand as well as for Youngman.

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Report: BMW suing Saab Automobile Parts for $3.2M

08/25/2012   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Euro, Government/Legal, Plants/Manufacturing, BMW, Saab

Saab 9-3 Convertible Independence Edition - front three-quarter view

Saab might be all but dead, but that's not stopping automakers that were once involved with the Swedish brand from attempting to reclaim losses. According to a Fox Business report, BMW has filed a 2.6 million Euro suit ($3.2 million USD) with a Swedish district court against Saab Automobile Parts for deliveries that went unpaid.

In 2012, Saab Automobile AB signed an agreement BMW that would see the German automaker deliver four-cylinder gas engines for its 9-3 range.

The suit also asserts that Saab ordered a large number of spare parts, and no payments were made to BMW. At the time, Saab was far from liquid, and filed for bankruptcy in December of last year.

Though Saab was left with assets that totaled $500 million, the Swedish automaker's debts amounted to $2 billion, a part of which include the unpaid BMW deliveries.

According to the report, Lennart Stahl, CEO of Saab Automobile Parts AB has said "Our lawyers will now go through the lawsuit carefully and see if anything new has been added before we decide hat to do." This only adds to the fallout from the Saab closure. Recently, Saab's owner, Spyker filed suit with General Motors for $3 billion, claiming that the U.S. automaker, through its leadership, played a large part in bankrupting the brand.

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GM recalling 250,000 SUVs over door electronics

08/20/2012   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: SUVs, Government/Legal, Recalls/TSBs, Safety, Buick, Chevrolet, GM, GMC, Saab

After a door-fire investigation that dates back to February, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has officially announced a recall today that affects around 250,000 General Motors SUVs for a faulty driver's door module. The recall applies to the Buick Rainier, Chevrolet Trailblazer, GMC Envoy, Isuzu Ascender and Saab 9-7X from the 2006 and 2007 model years, as well as the 2006 Chevrolet Trailblazer EXT and GMC Envoy XL for vehicles sold and/or registered in the Snow Belt.

Road salt use in these midwestern and northern states can lead to corrosion of the driver's door module on these GMT360 and GMT370 vehicles, which allows water to come in contact with the circuit board. If shorted out, the vehicle's power door locks and power windows will not work, and could possibly lead to overheating and, in some circumstances, a fire. No official word on how many total vehicles caught on fire, but back in June, 28 fires had been reported to the government agency. A fix for the problem is still being worked out, but all affected vehicle owners will be notified by GM.

Scroll down for the official NHTSA statement.

Continue reading GM recalling 250,000 SUVs over door electronics

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Breaking: Spyker files $3 billion lawsuit against General Motors over Saab's demise

08/06/2012   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Government/Legal, GM, Saab, Earnings/Financials, Spyker

Victor Muller of Spyker Cars in front of his building

"Smack." That's the sound of Spyker's process server dropping a big ol' pile of legal documents on the doorstep of The Renaissance Center, home of General Motors - or wherever GM's attorneys live during business hours. Contained therein is a Complaint, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan and demanding a jury trial, that seeks $3 billion in damages due to "the unlawful actions GM took to avoid competition with Saab Automobile in the Chinese market." Spyker accuses GM of "tortiously interfering" with Saab's business relationship with Chinese automaker Zhejiang Youngman Lotus Automobile (Youngman), actions that Spyker CEO Victor Muller (above) said "deliberately drove Saab Automobile into bankruptcy."

(From Wikipedia: "Tortious interference, also known as intentional interference with contractual relations, in the common law of torts, occurs when a person intentionally damages the plaintiff's contractual or other business relationships.")

The interference in question specifically refers to the very last potential deal, called the Framework Agreement, that Spyker worked out with Youngman. With lots of GM engineering embedded into the 9-4X and 9-5, The General had the right to approve any Saab partnership that would involve the transfer of GM intellectual property. Spyker had been rebuffed over every previous deal with a Chinese firm, including two bids by Youngman, due to GM concerns over its IP getting into Chinese hands and having to face Chinese-market competitors using its technology. The Complaint alleges that the Framework Agreement would have put a firewall around all GM IP - Youngman would only work on Saab's Phoenix platform, said to be just about free of GM tech, and would have no access to 9-3, 9-4X or 9-5 technology until after Saab ceased all ties to GM.

Thoretically, as stated in the Complant, this should have spared Saab the need to even ask GM for permission to make the deal outlined in the Framework Agreement since it didn't involve any transfer of GM technology. GM felt differently and repeatedly, publicly proclaimed that the Framework Agreement couldn't proceed without GM's say-so, which GM would not give, and that led to Youngman walking away. It is those public proclamations by GM that Spyker alleges as tortious interference. That's the basics, but there's a lot more to be discovered in the 27-page Complaint, which can be found here.

Muller said they've been working on preparing the lawsuit since bankruptcy was declared last year, and with a view to a lengthy and heinously expensive court battle, Muller's golden touch with securing money has come through yet again: a third party has furnished Spyker with the "backing required to see the lawsuit through to the end." There's a press release below announcing the move, otherwise known as "the first shot."

Continue reading Spyker files $3 billion lawsuit against General Motors over Saab's demise

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Report: NEV deal to buy Saab delayed

08/03/2012   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Euro, Government/Legal, Saab, Earnings/Financials

Saab griffin emblem

Remember a month and a half ago when we told you that Saab will "soldier on?" Well, we should have written "stand at attention."

According to SaabsUnited, the deal for National Electric Vehicle Sweden to buy the remaining Saab assets didn't close on schedule. In fact, it's been delayed by "a month, perhaps more." NEVS also seems to have indicated that it's not going to be answering any more questions about the deal until it's completed.

NEVS is supposedly planning on building electric cars based on the design that would have been the next-generation 9-3. The company itself is a partnership between a Chinese energy company and a Japanese investment group.

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Auctions: eBay Find of the Day: 1985 Saab Turbo Limo is the ultimate high school reunion ride

07/19/2012   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Time Warp, Auctions, Saab, Special/Limited Editions, Design/Style

1985 Saab 900 Turbo Limo

Yes, we've seen this 1985 Saab 900 Turbo limo for sale before. But somehow, this time is just seems more right. And we've got more pictures this go-around.

With the Saab brand now dormant and little hope for a true renaissance, save for one that comes in name only, Saab's future must lie in the celebration of great cars of its past. And what better way to celebrate the wonderful Saab 900 than to chop it in half and turn it into a freaking limousine?

Claimed to have been built by a Denver area Saab specialist, this five-speed manual 900 Turbo is listed with a Buy It Now of $8,500. It's actually surprisingly well turned-out, too, with a pretty decent interior that sticks to real Saab seats, avoiding the crushed-velvet or button-festooned lounge chair look. While this seems rather spendy for a well-used limousine, good luck finding another one like it. And besides, that's a lot less than the $12,500 asking price from back in 2010.

Just promise us one thing: If you do buy it and your drive home from Baltimore passes through the Midwest, drop us a line, because we'd love to go for a ride in the back.

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Report: New owners still struggling to secure rights to use Saab name

06/28/2012   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: China, Euro, Government/Legal, Japan, Plants/Manufacturing, Saab

Saab headquarters sign with flowering tree

Not to state the obvious, but if you're going to buy an automaker, it's probably advisable to secure rights to use the name.

That's what the new owners of Saab are trying to work out after buying the iconic Swedish automaker earlier this month, Automotive News reports.

National Electric Vehicle Sweden (NEVS), the Chinese-Japanese conglomerate, acquired the company's physical assets, including its factory in Trollhättan, but didn't get rights to use the Saab name and logo. Truckmaker Scania and defense company Saab AB maintain the name and logo rights, and will need to sign off on NEVS using it, according to the publication. The parties are in discussions.

Saab, which made its first cars in 1947, was acquired out of bankruptcy earlier this month. The new ownership group, led by ex-Volvo Trucks chief Karl-Erling Trogen, is planning on turning the company into an electric vehicle maker and will likely start with a battery-electric powered 9-3 in 2014.

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Last 900 Saabs heading to auction

06/23/2012   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Car Buying, Auctions, Government/Legal, Saab

Saab shipment

If you've been wanting to get your hands on one last new Saab but missed out on the great Saab sell-off when Saab Cars North America declared bankruptcy, well, your ship has now come in.

Actually, it came in last year - but hundreds of new Saabs got waylaid at ports in California and New Jersey because of the bankruptcy, according to SaabWorld.net. Those cars are now slated for auction, some 900 of them, which will be available for dealers, exporters and rental car companies to bid on beginning next week. Eventually, 300 of these cars should make their way to Saab dealers, where they're expected to be sold off at 30- to 50-percent discounts. The other 600 will either be exported or used as rentals, according to the report, so "the price of Saabs will not be severely depressed."

Besides the new cars, some 67 company cars, including some interesting stuff like a 1960 Saab Quantum IV and a 1970 Sonnett III, will also be auctioned off, according to the report. Of the new cars, just over half are 9-5 models, some 400 are 9-3 sedans, another 60 are 9-3 wagons, and about a dozen are convertibles. According to the report, 28 are actually 9-4X crossovers, which is more than 10 percent of Saab's total 2011 sales for that model.

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Report: Saab to hire 200 engineers, might build gas cars with Mahindra

06/15/2012   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: China, Euro, Hatchbacks, Saab, India, MISC

The brand formerly known as Saab is still intent on teaching The Little Engine That Could a few ticks about persistence. We say "formerly known" because it turns out that National Electric Vehicle Swedent (NEVS), the Sino-Japanese investment consortium that just bought the majority of Saab's assets, minus Saab Automobile Parts AB, may not actually own the rights to the Saab brand name. According to a report in Di.se via Saabs United, NEVS will need to negotiate with Scania and the Swedish aerospace and defense group, Saab AB, for the right to name its forthcoming electric car the Saab 9-3.

NEVS is hiring 200 engineers now to work on its electric car program, and reports are that it will hire more as it gets closer to the 2014 launch. It will be based on the current (read: ancient) 9-3, and we hope NEVS is succeeds in getting the naming rights, because the NEVS 9-3 just doesn't have the same ring. NEVS will likely target China as the model's main market.

However, it's rumors of their second negotiating ploy that we're really rooting for: to work with Mahinda & Mahindra, the Indian company once in the running for Saab's assets, develop a petrol-powered 9-3 on the next-generation Phoenix platform, based on Jason Castriota's design.

NEVS is also said to be planning new models "based on Japanese technology," yet with just under $1 billion U.S. committed to the electric program, the Di.se report says NEVS wants to have other products to generate revenue. A conventionally powered gasoline-engined car could be the answer. There only connection between Saab AB and Mahindra appears to be that India is one of Saab's largest markets and Mahindra is Indian. Separately, Mahindra could develop the car and provide small, "low carbon output" engines. It's tenuous, which characterizes just about everything that happens with Saab these days, but perhaps NEVS sees it as enough of a lure for everyone involved to make it worth the attempt.

The amount of speculation here makes the chances of a Phoenix-based 9-3 too thin to even call slim, but we won't bet against it, if only because one was quite far along in development under the company's previous owners. And besides, we'd really like to see it happen.

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Report: Saab Lives! Sold to Chinese-Japanese consortium NEVS

06/13/2012   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Euro, Plants/Manufacturing, Saab, Earnings/Financials, Electric, Luxury

Saab sign at Swedish headquarters

Despite all odds, Saab will soldier on. The Detroit News reports National Electric Vehicle Sweden AB has agreed to purchase a majority of the bankrupt automaker. The consortium is owned by Hong Kong-based National Modern Energy Holdings Ltd. and the Japanese investment group Sun Investment LLC, and that the two created NEVS just to purchase Saab. The group is currently led by a former Volvo Trucks executive. The purchase takes over the $1.9 billion in Saab debt. Both the bankruptcy administrators and NEVS agreed not to disclose the sale price for the company.

Interestingly enough, the sale does not include Saab Automobile Parts AB. Instead, the Swedish National Debt office has announced it intends to take over the parts business.

Meanwhile, Automotive News Europe reports the first vehicle from the newly-rescued Swedish automaker will be an electric car. Based on the next 9-3, the EV will bow in 2014, though there are few details available beyond the projected launch date. According to SaabsUnited, NEVS only purchased the rights to the next-gen 9-3, not the rest of the (now ostensibly completely dead) Saab lineup that included the 9-5 sedan and 9-4X crossover.

Saab hasn't built a single car since 2011. The automaker filed for bankruptcy in December after all production stopped in March of the same year. According to Automotive News, Saab hasn't been profitable in nearly 20 years, though that figure has been the subject of dispute by its previous owners, who held that former parent General Motors used the brand as a channel to offload debts and development costs.

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