When GM sold their Swedish carmaker Saab to Spyker Cars NV for $74 million in 2010, commentators thought it was a long shot that Spyker could make it work. Sure enough, within a year, they were bankrupt and had to discontinue Saab. Now the small Dutch Company is suing GM for $3 billion for unfairly blocking them from selling Saab to a Chinese manufacturer.
Spyker claims that the Chinese buyer would have paid enough to justify the $3 billion suit, and was only dissuaded when GM illegitimately used the right it had held over the chassis of the vehicles to prevent the sale.
“We owe it to our stakeholders and ourselves that justice is done” said Spyker CEO Victor Muller. “We tirelessly worked to save Saab Automobile until GM destroyed those efforts and deliberately drove Saab Automobile into bankruptcy.” Spyker is alleging that GM didn’t want competition in their China market.
Spyker claims that though GM did retain rights over the chassis technology created prior to its sale of Saab, they did not have a right to the chassis they developed afterwards.
GM, for its part, is calling the lawsuit “without merit.” Spokesman Dave Roman said that “We will vigorously defend the company against these baseless allegations.”
Muller told Reuters that GM “Never thought we would survive. Well, Spyker’s still here. They assumed Spyker would end up in the graveyard with Saab, and obviously that didn’t happen.”
Whether GM really thought ill of the company it sold, the suit against them nevertheless charges them with bringing it to ruin. “GM’s actions had the direct and intended objective of driving Saab Automobile into bankruptcy, a result of GM’s … interfering with a transaction between Saab Automobile, Spyker and Chinese investor Youngman that would have permitted Saab Automobile to restructure and remain a solvent, going concern.”
Youngman has declined comment on their involvement with the suit: “We are not aware of the situation. I have nothing to say about it,” said an executive.
Spyker, meanwhile, is being funded in its legal suit by an anonymous third party who in return will share in the settlement.