Spyker, Youngman announce plans to produce Saab-based cars, luxury SUV
Chinese company to take 29.9% stake in Spyker
Dutch supercar maker Spyker says it will form two joint ventures with China's Zhejiang Youngman to produce Saab-based vehicles and a luxury SUV under the terms of a framework agreement that will give Youngman a 29.9 percent share in Spyker.
Youngman was one of the Chinese companies Spyker turned to for investment when it was trying to revive the Saab brand under its ownership. After failing to get approval for the sale from U.S. carmaker General Motors, a former Saab owner, the deal with Youngman collapsed and Saab was declared bankrupt in December 2011.
Under the terms of the agreement announced today, the two companies will develop a range of upscale cars based on the Saab Phoenix platform, which is licensed to Youngman. The Chinese company will hold 80 percent of the shares in the brand, which has been dubbed Spyker Phoenix, while Spyker will hold 20 percent of the stock.
In a conference call with reporters, Victor Muller, CEO of Spyker, said a Spyker Phoenix model would go into production in China and Europe, but not for another two or more years.
Despite its reliance on Saab technology, the CEO said it would have more in common with the Spyker brand.
"It will be much more of a Spyker, with some Saab traits. This will extend the Spyker brand downwards towards a very high premium model," Muller said, adding "Saab suffered from being halfway between a Ford and a BMW, and that made it difficult to sell. We had the aspiration to be BMW. This is a car for affluent people."
Both carmakers will also invest in a joint venture to develop a luxury Spyker SUV, based on the D8 Peking-to-Paris concept model, first shown at the Geneva auto show in 2006.
In a statement on Monday, Spyker said Youngman would invest 25 million euros in the project, granting it 75 percent of the shares, while Spyker would contribute the technology and retain 25 percent of the shares.
"With this framework agreement, Youngman and Spyker lay the foundation for an intense cooperation whereby we will pursue the objectives we each had in mind when we were forging our cooperation as partners in Saab Automobile AB. We clearly share the vision on how to shape Spyker's future as partners going forward," Victor Muller said in the statement.
In addition to the two joint ventures, Youngman will pay 6.7 million euros for a 29.9 percent equity stake in Spyker and make a shareholder loan of 3.3 million to the Dutch carmaker.
Under the terms of the deal, Youngman agrees not to exceed the shareholding, Spyker said.
In the statement, Pang Qingnian, Youngman's CEO said: "With this agreement, many of our original intentions with the "Saab" brand will still take shape and we are excited to help Spyker further develop its vehicle model range with the SSUV and vehicles based on Saab Automobile's Phoenix platform technology both in China as well as in the rest of the world."
Youngman purchased Saab's Phoenix architecture for 80 million euros (654 million yuan) in 2011. The technology was designed by Saab to underpin the next-generation 9-3 model, which was never built. It was also used in the PhoeniX concept car, first unveiled at the 2011 Geneva auto show.
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