ALMOST ONE MONTH after GM and niche sportscar maker Spyker announced a binding agreement on the sale of Saab, the Swedish carmaker has restarted production at its Trollhattan plant. The plant had previously sat idle while the company's new owner finalised its deal with GM.
The first car off the line, a 2011 Saab 9-5 sedan marked "Saab Number 001 Of A New Era", will join a test fleet before the new 9-5 - developed under GM's ownership - launches later this year.
The occasion was marked by the presence of Saab CEO Jan Åke Jonsson and Spyker boss Victor Muller.
“Today’s resumption of production is a milestone in the history of our company” Mr Jonsson said.
“We are up and running as an independent manufacturer and I am delighted to share the experience on the line alongside our workforce. They have shown tremendous commitment to the company and we are all now focused on ramping up production to meet customer demand.”
Muller, the driving force behind Spyker's continued efforts to acquire the struggling brand after negotiations reportedly came close to collapse late last year added, "Everyone at Saab has worked extremely hard to reach this important point. Today production restarted with a new 9-5 first down the line – a fitting symbol that a new era has begun."
Saab is expected to build all of its models at the Trollhattan plant, including a brand new 9-3 in 2012 and the upcoming 9-5 SportCombi wagon and 9-4X crossover. A smaller model, dubbed the 9-1, is also under consideration, its future dependent on the success of Saab's line-up in the next couple of years.
With its goal of converting the brand to a niche player, Spyker says Saab will be repositioned against BMW and Audi as it seeks to grow sales to 125,000 units per year.