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Spyker purchase gives Saab dealers new hope

Saab dealers were selling new cars soon after the announcement that Spyker Group is to buy the manufacturer from General Motors.

Dick Cedric, chairman of the Saab dealer council, said: “The whole network is euphoric and we’re now waiting for the formal contract to be signed in mid-February. Saab dealers were starting to feel a bit punch drunk because sales were down and the future was so uncertain.”

Cedric, who owns Turner Hill Garage at Crawley, West Sussex, said he sold two new Saabs within 24 hours of the Spyker announcement.

“Other dealers tell me they were soon selling Saabs again. Saab is a strong brand and we have some third-generation customers – we just want to know what Spyker’s plans for Saab are and then get on with selling its cars,” he said.

Cedric said he was confident the deal would be confirmed. Once it is, Saab would invite its dealers to a meeting to discuss the revival of the brand. Cedric had planned a crisis meeting with dealers for early this month but this was cancelled.

Saab Spyker Automobiles wants to acquire Saab Great Britain from GM.

Cedric said he hoped Jonathan Nash, GM’s Saab GB managing director, would stay on.

“He has done a great job keeping us informed as best he could, and providing encouragement and support,” said Cedric.

Spyker is paying $74 million (£46 million) in cash for Saab and GM will also get $326 million (£202 million) worth of preferred shares in the manufacturer.

GM has been trying to sell Saab since January 2009, and last month appointed a company to wind it down.

Spyker, a Dutch company making expensive luxury cars, was founded six years ago and has never made a profit. In 2008 it sold 43 units and lost $35 million (£21 million).

Saab’s last profitable year was 2001. In 2008 the manufacturer lost £255 million.

It will borrow up to £93 million over three years from GEM Global Yield Fund, a British-based private equity group. Spyker is also seeking a E400 million (£350 million) loan from the European Investment Bank.

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