The Auto Chanel brings you this Interview with Spykers CEO about their bid to buy Saab.
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Victor Muller CEO of Spyker Automobiles
Henny Hemmes: Hello, I'm Henny Hemmes, I'm working with the autochannel.com and I'm talking now to Victor Muller owner and CEO of Spyker cars.
Victor Muller: Hi, Henny good to see. Thank you very much.
Henny Hemmes: Victor, can we talk about new projects beyond your Spyker brands and to this Saab. This is big news today and yesterday. You have placed a bet on Saab and General Motors is going to talk to you.
Victor Muller: Yes, it seems like that. We have indeed confirmed that we have expressed interest in Saab and well there's a very short timeline. The deadline has been set at 31st of December this year, so we have to work very hard.
Henny Hemmes: Sure, do you see many possibilities for Saab. You have seen the new 95. Do you like that?
Victor Muller: I love the new 95. I think it is a fantastic design. It’s really got all the Saab DNA all over it and I think it shows the way for the new Saabs that are coming. It’s beautiful.
Henny Hemmes: Did you see any other new Saab models there they are in the pipeline or where in the pipeline?
Victor Muller: Well, I have not seen anything but that has been end up with domain now.
Henny Hemmes: So everything that we know, you know is nothing else like background information. Do you have other ideas or do you have your own ideas about model line extension for Saab?
Victor Muller: I think that would be way too early to even consider that at this time. We have one priority and that is making sure that we need to deadline. Beyond that we’ll see but at this time, I think I have other fish to fry.
Henny Hemmes: Yes. I can imagine. This is really a financial deal you have to close through and then see what happens. You have moved your production facilities more or less from the Netherlands to England. What is the reason of that?
Victor Muller: We moved our production from Holland to Coventry in England because the efficiencies were such that were just basically couldn’t ignore them anymore. We’ve been in Holland since we started but basically, it was very ineffective to produce the bodies in whites in one location, paint them, wrap them up, put them in a track, bring them to Holland, total dismantle them, build them up again, wrap them up again and then transport them. This is so inefficient and into the current market circumstances, you have to do anything and everything, so is to avoid that you are more into more constant strictly necessary. So in terms of cost cutting exercises was the way to go forward.
Henny Hemmes: Is there any incentives of the English UK government involved in bringing this business to England and workplaces?
Victor Muller: Well, in general the midlands counsel is very eager to have labor either kept or increase the number. So, currently I couldn’t tell you what were actually going to be eligible for the top of incentives but hopefully we would be and it’s only going to add to the let say support of the decision that we’re moving.
Henny Hemmes: You're not counting on it and not needing it but it will be welcome of course.
Victor Muller: It will be bonus.
Henny Hemmes: Yes, bonus. Are you also going to talk now, we’re talking finances. I get back to Saab and are you going to talk to the Swedish government?
Victor Muller: I think it’s evitable to talk to Swedish government because they will play a very important role in the tag of the process.
Henny Hemmes: Do you think because at one stage they cut off their talks. We’ll they said they were going to support any further than what they announced. Do you think that they’ll pick it up again?
Victor Muller: Well, it s very hard to predict at this time but the prime minister of Sweden has been extremely explicit about the fact that they are not going to use their spare money to bail out Saab and I don’t think that decision has changed and will change. But it doesn’t need to change because the current basis of the transaction is based on no support from the Swedish government in terms of a bail out.
Henny Hemmes: Are you still into this deal with your Russian partner?
Victor Muller: Yes, clearly this expression of interest has been made or Spyker Cars and the conference group.
Henny Hemmes: Is there other thing you want to say about to this deal? You told me earlier that somebody asked you would you be interested in this deal with a company like Saab if it would have been from another part of the world, say southern Europe, France or Italy. Is it about the feeling and being Dutch too that we have both have dealing these people at Saab you know, we all love them. Is that true?
Victor Muller: I think it was an interesting question that was posed whether there's some sort of northern European brotherhood feeling about the Dutch trying to come in and help Saab out. I think that is a very fair statement. I think Dutch and the Swedes and the Norwegians and the Danes were all very small people living in a very confined area. And you know, I think we should stand by each other. So yes, I think there is certainly something going on here that this DNA that we all share is very helpful to trying to make this thing happen.
Henny Hemmes: Okay, I hope this will happen and we all love Saab to go on and Victor to make a success of both his companies, future companies now, despite the company and Saab in the future. Thank you!