American car giant General Motors has signed a memorandum of understanding for the purchase of Saab by an investment group led by Swedish supercar manufacturer Koenigsegg.
Really? A tiny Swedish supercar company wants to buy beleaguered Saab?
That's the deal. Supercar maker Koenigsegg Automotive, together with a consortium of private investors, has formed Koenigsegg Group, which has reached a ‘tentative agreement’ to buy Saab from GM. In a press release, GM claims the memorandum of understanding 'secures Saab's future' - the Swedish car maker filed for reorganization under Swedish law on February 20 2009.
What are the details of the deal?
GM is hoping the sale will be completed this autumn, after the deal has been rubber-stamped by the courts. Many of the details are still under wraps, but the sale will include a $600m (£365m) funding commitment from the European Investment Bank, which the Swedish government will guarantee, while GM and Koenigsegg Group are also expected to provide additional funding. However, it’s expected that General Motors won’t actually receive any money from Koenigsegg Group in exchange for Saab.
So we'll see a Saab supercar next?
Not quite. A 9-4X SUV, based on the Cadillac SRX, is due in 2010, but first on Saab's schedule is the new 9-5, which is in the final stages of development and is expected to be shown at the Frankfurt motor show in September. The car will be built in Saab's Swedish Trollhättan factory, and GM will also continue to provide the company with its platforms and engines in the near future.
Speaking about the agreement, managing director of Saab Jan Åke Jonsson said: 'The proposed agreement will enable us to maximize the brand’s potential through an exciting new product line-up with a distinctly Swedish character. Today’s announcement is great news for Saab’s current and future customers, dealers, suppliers and employees around the globe.'
It's also good news for GM, as the American company attempts to reorganise. 'This is yet another significant step in the reinvention of GM and its European operations,' said GM Europe president Carl-Peter Forster. 'Saab is a highly respected automotive brand with great potential. Closing this deal represents the best chance for Saab to emerge a stronger company. Koenigsegg Group's unique combination of innovation, entrepreneurial spirit and financial strength, combined with Koenigsegg's proven ability to create world-class Swedish performance cars in a highly efficient manner, made it the right choice for Saab as well as for General Motors.'
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