The newly formed Saab Spyker Automobiles faces a huge struggle to survive, according to Fiat boss Sergio Marchionne.

“I like the Saab brand,” Marchionne said a few hours before Spyker's deal to buy Saab was confirmed. “I think it’s very difficult to be a niche player and profitable. Marginal players will continue to be marginalized. We cannot build on hopes and dreams."

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Asked about Marchionne's comments, Spyker boss Victor Muller (pictured) said: ""We have a lot of work to do. Mr Marchionne is entitled to his opinion, and it is up to prove him wrong."

John Smith, GM vice president for corporate planning and alliances, added that GM will continue to be heavily involved in the new Saab, including building the new 9-4X crossover in Mexico and providing powertrains and engineering expertise.

"We want to see a strong Saab," Smith said.

Last year, Marchionne included an offer for Saab as part of Fiat's bid for Opel, claiming that he could see potential synergies between Lancia and Saab. Fiat also bid for Saab in 1989 but was beaten by GM.

Since Spyker was revived in 2000 it has not made a profit. Saab, meanwhile, has lost money for GM over the past decade.

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