Saab and Spyker, the Dutch company that owned the Swedish car maker, have filed a $3bn (£1.9bn) action against General Motors. The figure is based on the projected 2016 value of Saab, three years after the planned launch of the all-new 9-3 models.
Filed at the United States District Court for Eastern Michigan, it states: "This lawsuit seeks redress for the unlawful actions of General Motors Company (GM) to avoid competition with Saab in the Chinese market. GM’s actions had the direct and intended result of driving Saab Automobile AB (Saab) into bankruptcy by tortuously interfering with a transaction with Chinese investors that would have permitted Saab to restructure and remain a solvent, going concern."
The Saab-Spyker complaint reveals that an agreement to enter into a partnership with Chinese car maker Youngman was completed on 16 December last year, just three days before Saab was due to be declared bankrupt. The agreement would have seen a ‘framework agreement’ with Youngman loaning Saab £160m, preventing Saab from being wound up.
The loan would have been converted into equity in Saab once the 2013 9-3 (based on the new Phoenix platform) was launched and Saab discontinued the GM-based 9-3 and 9-5.
However, Saab and Spyker’s submission to the court asserts: "Youngman was prepared to execute, and would have executed, the Framework Agreement but for GM’s false statements that its consent was somehow required under the ATLA and that, therefore, it would oppose any agreement with Youngman. On December 19, 2011, having been wrongfully deprived by GM of a means to secure further funding, Saab was forced to file for bankruptcy liquidation."
The submission adds: "GM’s intent was to kill any deal to save Saab from liquidation because GM did not want Saab to remain a going concern and enter the Chinese market as a potential competitor to its automotive products."