Spyker announced on August 6th that they were suing General Motors for $3 billion, insisting that the American auto giant made corporate moves to force the Saab brand into bankruptcy. Mind you, when GM sold Saab to Spyker, the brand was all but dead but Spyker believes that if GM had kept to themselves over the past two years, Spyker would have been able to accept investments from any of various Chinese firms that would have kept the Saab brand up and running. Needless to say, GM is quick to laugh off the accusations by Spyker but with $3 billion dollars at stake – GM is taking the time to secure their position before entering into what could be a long, drawn out court battle over the death of Saab.
Spyker has stated that GM specifically interfered with the transaction between Spyker (formerly known as Swan while trying to save Saab) and Chinese firm Youngman Lotus. According to Spyker, had that deal with Youngman gone through, the Saab brand would have been saved and the brand would have eventually been worth $3 billion US dollars. Mind you, when GM essentially gave away the Saab brand to Spyker, Saab was sold off for just $74 million plus $320 million in now-worthless Spyker stock. So after buying the company for less than $400 million and literally running the Saab brand into the ground – Spyker believes that a simple investment deal with Youngman Lotus would have magically made Saab worth $3 billion dollars. We should also keep in mind that Spyker/Saab had hundreds of millions of dollars in debt owed to firms around the world including BMW, a long list of suppliers and even their labor union. It was speculated more than once that, even if the Youngman deal had gone through, Saab would not have had enough cash on hand to pay their way out of debt.
It should be pointed out that while GM made it very, very clear that they wanted no part in having a Chinese firm take partial (or total) control of the Saab brand – the Chinese government also had a hand in preventing Chinese firms from making massive investments in the Saab brand. If GM is at fault for the death of Saab then Spyker should go ahead and file a $3 billion dollar lawsuit against the Chinese government for their part in preventing any of the Chinese firms from helping to keep Saab alive. Maybe Spyker should also sue the European Union for not allowing Russian investor Vladimir Antonov to buy into the company…as that is just as valid of a case as the one against GM.
Spyker’s lawsuit against General Motors is perhaps one of the most ridiculous aspects of the Saab saga since GM sold the dying brand to Spyker in 2010. While the $3 billion dollar lawsuit is more of a publicity stunt than anything else, it is clear that Spyker is grasping desperately at whatever they can as their company continues the downward spiral that began when they chose to take on the near-dead Saab brand. Unfortunately for Spyker, they made it very apparent during their brief ownership of Saab that the corporate heads don’t have any real idea as to how
Considering the fact that Saab brand was only worth $400 million when GM sold the luxury automaker to Spyker, you really have to question their line of thinking in suggesting that the Youngman deal would have rocketed the value to a whopping $3 billion US dollars. The Youngman deal would have only (maybe) allowed Saab to pay off the hundreds of millions of dollars in unpaid debts with the hopes of restarting production so even if Youngman had injected a healthy dose of new cash – Saab still may not have had the financial capacity to continue doing business for very long. Because of that, Spyker is seemingly going to have a hard time convincing the courts that GM owes them $3 billion but what Spyker is more likely hoping for is that GM will take pity upon them and look to settle out of court. General Motors has better things to do than send employees to sit through pointless court cases but with Spyker on its very last legs – this appears to be a last ditch effort to keep what is left of the company afloat.
GM now has until September 28th to offer a formal response to the massive lawsuit.
In the meantime, the Saab brand hangs in limbo after the deal with National Electric Vehicle Sweden (NEVS) has been stalled. NEVS purchased the Saab brand in June but there have been more snags along the way – including the problem that the new owners did not have the rights to use the Saab name or logo. You can read more about that issue by clicking here.