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  • Spyker files a three billion dollar lawsuit against General Motors

    Zeewolde, the Netherlands, 6 August 2012 -- Spyker N.V. ("Spyker") announced that it has filed a complaint against General Motors Company ("GM") in the United States District Court of the Eastern District of Michigan today at 08.00 AM EST. Spyker filed the complaint in its own right and on behalf of its 100 percent subsidiary Saab Automobile A.B., which was declared bankrupt on December 19, 2011.

    This lawsuit seeks redress for the unlawful actions GM took to avoid competition with Saab Automobile in the Chinese market. GMís actions had the direct and intended objective of driving Saab Automobile into bankruptcy, a result of GM's tortiously interfering with a transaction between Saab Automobile, Spyker and Chinese investor Youngman that would have permitted Saab Automobile to restructure and remain a solvent, going concern. The monetary value of the claim amounts to US$ 3 billion (three billion US dollars).

    Since Saab Automobile is in receivership and hence incapable to contribute to the costs of litigation, Spyker and Saab Automobile have entered into an agreement pursuant to which Spyker will bear the costs of such litigation in exchange for a very substantial share of Saab Automobileís award when the proceedings are successful. Spyker has secured the financial backing required to see the lawsuit through to the end from a third party investor.

    Victor R. Muller, Spyker's Chief Executive Officer said: "Ever since we were forced to file for Saab Automobile's bankruptcy in December of last year, we have worked relentlessly on the preparation for this lawsuit which seeks to compensate Spyker and Saab for the massive damages we have incurred as a result of GM's unlawful actions. We owe it to our stakeholders and ourselves that justice is done and we will pursue this lawsuit with the same tenacity and perseverance that we had when we tirelessly worked to save Saab Automobile, until GM destroyed those efforts and deliberately drove Saab Automobile into bankruptcy."

    The Complaint, as filed this morning at 08.00 EST, can be found here: link

    Source: press release
    This article was originally published in forum thread: Spyker files a three billion dollar lawsuit against General Motors started by Frank Wulfers View original post
    Comments 18 Comments
    1. Hirsch's Avatar
      Hirsch -
      Talk about David taking on Goliath.

      I hope they win, they do seem to have a pretty good case. GM did everything they could to destroy Saab.

      GM recently said they were making money. What they didn't tell you is that the government still owns 1/3 of GM and that GM's high sales are because the Government is buying GM vehicles almost exclusively.
    1. nordwulf's Avatar
      nordwulf -
      Three billion dollars is probably enough to restart Saab. It'll be interesting to follow but probably will take a long time. I doubt they will get the full 3 billion if they win but any amount will be a victory. Go Victor, go!
    1. SaabWorld's Avatar
      SaabWorld -
      Filed under: Government/Legal, GM, Saab, Earnings/Financials, Spyker

      "Smack." That's the sound of Spyker's process server dropping a big ol' pile of legal documents on the doorstep of The Renaissance Center, home of General Motors - or wherever GM's attorneys live during business hours. Contained therein is a Complaint, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan and demanding a jury trial, that seeks $3 billion in damages due to "the unlawful actions GM took to avoid competition with Saab Automobile in the Chinese market." Spyker accuses GM of "tortiously interfering" with Saab's business relationship with Chinese automaker Zhejiang Youngman Lotus Automobile (Youngman), actions that Spyker CEO Victor Muller (above) said "deliberately drove Saab Automobile into bankruptcy."

      (From Wikipedia: "Tortious interference, also known as intentional interference with contractual relations, in the common law of torts, occurs when a person intentionally damages the plaintiff's contractual or other business relationships.")

      The interference in question specifically refers to the very last potential deal, called the Framework Agreement, that Spyker worked out with Youngman. With lots of GM engineering embedded into the 9-4X and 9-5, The General had the right to approve any Saab partnership that would involve the transfer of GM intellectual property. Spyker had been rebuffed over every previous deal with a Chinese firm, including two bids by Youngman, due to GM concerns over its IP getting into Chinese hands and having to face Chinese-market competitors using its technology. The Complaint alleges that the Framework Agreement would have put a firewall around all GM IP - Youngman would only work on Saab's Phoenix platform, said to be just about free of GM tech, and would have no access to 9-3, 9-4X or 9-5 technology until after Saab ceased all ties to GM.

      Thoretically, as stated in the Complant, this should have spared Saab the need to even ask GM for permission to make the deal outlined in the Framework Agreement since it didn't involve any transfer of GM technology. GM felt differently and repeatedly, publicly proclaimed that the Framework Agreement couldn't proceed without GM's say-so, which GM would not give, and that led Youngman to walk away. It is those public proclamations by GM that Spyker alleges as tortious interference. That's the basics, but there's a lot more to be discovered in the 27-page Complaint, which can be found here.

      Muller said they've been working on preparing the lawsuit since bankruptcy was declared last year, and with a view to a lengthy and heinously expensive court battle, Muller's golden touch with securing money has come through yet again: a third party has furnished Spyker with the "backing required to see the lawsuit through to the end." There's a press release below announcing the move, otherwise known as "the first shot."Continue reading Spyker files $3 billion lawsuit against General Motors over Saab's demise
      Spyker files $3 billion lawsuit against General Motors over Saab's demise originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 06 Aug 2012 10:27:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
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    1. peter vanhulle's Avatar
      peter vanhulle -
      yes Victor, very good, way to go. And if you win, please put SAAB back on track !!
    1. Dave T's Avatar
      Dave T -
      The bulk of any settlement or judgment will go to Spyker, not Saab. This may help the production of Spykers but will not restart Saab. Unless this 3rd party investor has well funded the legal costs, I predict GM will settle and VM will not get too much.
    1. #1SAAB12-17-11's Avatar
      #1SAAB12-17-11 -
      Glad to see GM is getting hauled into court and I hope it costs them even more in bad publicity than whatever damages Spyker might collect. Frankly I doubt Spyker will win much of anything, but keeping a bright light shining on the incompetence of GM seems well in order... and as Hirsch pointed out earlier, they've degenerated into hardly more than the American politicians' house organ for Detroit and UAW interests... everyone else in America is getting screwed.

      Screw 'em right back. I'll never buy another GM vehicle again. No stupid "Americana" ad campaign for Chevy will change my mind either.
    1. rpiereck's Avatar
      rpiereck -
      Yeah, GM ain't getting my money either, especially since their most interesting cars aren't even sold in the US, like the new Chevy Cruze Wagon, or the Chevy Orlando. As much as I hate Chevys and GM the Cruze Wagon is very good looking and a car that makes sense. Oh well.
    1. T Henry's Avatar
      T Henry -
      GM forced Saab into Bankruptsy even as they were being bailed out. Shameful at the very least and soon to be criminal.
      If SAAB is re born, they will be minus their most innovative technology. Thanks to GM piracy, the new SAAB will need to reinvent the car born from jets. Not a problem. GM may have the innovations. SAAB will have the innovators.
    1. nordwulf's Avatar
      nordwulf -
      GM dismissed the claim. Well, that's a surprise.. It's not like anyone expected GM was going to say something like "Yes, we're sorry and we'll be happy to send you a check of 3 billion dollars.

      From Reuters:

      GM dismisses claims in Spyker's $3 bln lawsuit over Saab

      General Motors Co on Friday dismissed claims made in a $3 billion lawsuit filed by Saab's parent that the U.S. automaker deliberately bankrupted the Swedish company by blocking a deal with a Chinese investor.

      GM, in a response filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, said the automaker had the legal right to approve Saab's transaction with China's Zhejiang Youngman Lotus Automobile Co.

      "The nub of plaintiffs' complaint is that GM declined to approve the transaction plaintiffs proposed to enter into with Youngman," GM said in the filings. "But the relevant contracts did not permit Saab to consummate the proposed transaction without GM's approval."

      GM had previously said the lawsuit -- filed last month by Saab parent Spyker -- was without merit.

      Saab, one of Sweden's best-known brands, stopped production in May 2011 when it could no longer pay suppliers and employees. It went bust in December, less than two years after GM sold it to Dutch sportscar maker Spyker.

      GM's efforts to kill any sale were made to eliminate a potential rival in China, Spyker had said in the lawsuit.

      Spyker Chief Executive Victor Muller said at the time that GM "had it coming" with regard to the lawsuit. Spyker is seeking at least $3 billion in compensatory damages, as well as interest and punitive damages, and legal fees.

      For months, Muller tried to pull off a rescue deal with various Russian, Middle Eastern and Chinese investors, Youngman and Pang Da Automobile Trade Co Ltd.

      The lawsuit is being funded by an anonymous third party, who will share in any settlement, Muller has said.

      Youngman previously declined to comment about whether it was involved with the lawsuit, while Pang Da said it was not.

      GM, which operates in China in a partnership with state-run automaker SAIC Motor Corp Ltd, late last year effectively blocked deals with Pang Da and Youngman, Spyker said.

      GM said it would stop supplying vehicles and technology to Saab's new owners because it would run counter to the interests of its own shareholders.

      Spyker charged GM with interfering in a prospective deal with the Chinese companies by claiming it would no longer license its technology to or build cars for Saab even though the last agreement was structured to exclude the U.S. automaker's intellectual property, according to the lawsuit.

      Saab had created its own vehicle platform that did not use any GM technology, so GM's statements that it would not support a deal were "intentionally false" because such support was not needed, Spyker said in the lawsuit.

      In its response on Friday, GM dismissed the idea that its technology would not be shared with the other investors under the proposed Spyker deal.

      "Putting aside whether this argument is factually wrong, it misses the point," GM said, adding that it had the right to terminate its technology license and supply agreements with Saab if there was a change in control of Saab with GM's prior consent.

      "This right was clear and absolute, and did not depend on how GM's technology purportedly was being handled," GM said.

      GM bought half of Saab -- which had been making cars since 1947 and built a small, loyal following -- in 1990 and the rest 10 years later. It decided to sell the brand in 2009 after the financial crisis and came close to closing it before Swedish Automobile, then called Spyker Cars, bought Saab in January 2010.

      Despite its well-known name, Saab was a niche player whose future had been questioned by analysts. Saab was profitable in only one of the 19 years GM owned it, executives with the Detroit automaker have said.

      A consortium called National Electric Vehicle Sweden AB (NEVS) earlier this month closed a deal to buy most of Saab's assets for an undisclosed sum. NEVS plans to build electric cars for the Chinese market based on the Saab vehicle platforms, starting in about 18 months.
    1. nordwulf's Avatar
      nordwulf -
      And Spyker opposes GM's dismissal.. I imagine this lawsuit can drag on for a while.

      From Reuters:

      Saab owner Spyker to oppose GM's motion to dismiss lawsuit

      Dutch sportscar maker Spyker NV (SPYKR.AS), which is suing General Motors Co (GM.N) for more than $3 billion on behalf of its subsidiary Saab, said on Monday it will oppose the U.S. automaker's motion to dismiss the case.

      GM on Friday dismissed claims that it deliberately bankrupted the Swedish company by blocking a deal with a Chinese investor.

      "Spyker and Saab Automobile shall oppose the said Motion to Dismiss on November 9th, 2012, assuming the Court grants an extension to which GM has agreed," Spyker said in a statement.
    1. nordwulf's Avatar
      nordwulf -
      Official press release from Spyker today:


      Zeewolde, the Netherlands, 1 October 2012 -- Spyker N.V. ( Spyker ) announces General Motors Company ( GM ) filed a Motion to Dismiss on September 28th,last, in response to Spyker/Saab Automobile's Complaint dated August 6th, 2012. Spyker and Saab Automobile AB shall oppose the said Motion to Dismiss on November 9th, 2012, assuming the Court grants an extension to which GM has agreed.

      Spyker and Saab Automobile AB filed a complaint on August 6th, last with the U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Michigan (the¬ Complaint ), seeking redress for GM's tortuous interference with a transaction between Saab Automobile AB, Spyker and Chinese investor Youngman. GM's tortious interference drove Saab Automobile into bankruptcy in December 2011.

      On September 28, 2012, GM filed a Motion to Dismiss in response to the Complaint.

      GM argues ,among others, that under Swedish law, which according to GM should apply, there is no cause for action for a "purely financial loss due to tortious interference, absent an allegation of criminal conduct. However, GM argues, the Complaint should also fail in case New York law or Michigan law would apply. As to the substance of the argument, GM argues that, under the Vehicle Supply Agreement ( VSA ) and the Automotive Technology License Agreement ( ATLA ), GM had a contractual right to terminate the VSA and ATLA in case of a change of control in Saab. After its investment Youngman would have controlled more than 20% of Saab, which would have caused a¬ change of control.

      It goes without saying that Spyker and Saab Automobile will oppose the Motion to Dismiss, such opposition being due on November 9th, 2012, assuming the Court grants an extension to which GM has agreed.
    1. nordwulf's Avatar
      nordwulf -
      Press release from Spyker yesterday:


      Zeewolde, the Netherlands, 6 December 2012 -- Spyker N.V. ("Spyker") announces that the United States District Court Eastern District of Michigan (the "Court") has issued a Notice to General Motors Company ("GM"), Spyker and its subsidiary Saab Automobile AB to appear for oral argument on GM's Motion to Dismiss. The hearing is scheduled for February 19, 2013.

      On 6 August 2012 Spyker in its own right and on behalf of its 100% subsidiary Saab Automobile AB ("Saab Automobile") filed a 3 USD billion complaint against GM in the Court (the 'Complaint').

      In response GM filed a Motion to Dismiss on 28 September 2012, in which GM asserted that an agreement (the so-called "Framework Agreement"), which Spyker, Saab Automobile and Zhejiang Youngman Lotus Automobile Co., Ltd. ("Youngman") had drafted, would cause a change of control of Saab Automobile or would cause transfer of GM proprietary automotive
      technology to Youngman.

      In its opposition filed Friday 9 November, 2012 Spyker substantiates its argument that the carefully crafted Framework Agreement would -contrary to GM's knowingly false media statements at the time- neither have triggered a change of control of Saab Automobile (therefore not requiring GM's consent) nor would have caused a transfer of GM proprietary automotive technology (the 'Opposition'). On the contrary, the Framework Agreement would have provided Saab Automobile with a necessary, immediate infusion of cash, which would have permitted it to successfully reorganize WITHOUT Youngman taking any stakein Saab Automobile. Moreover GM's technology was completely firewalled and Youngman would have had NO access thereto in any way. In the Opposition Spyker further substantiates that a long course of dealings made clear that GM under no circumstances would accept a competitor in the Chinese market.

      GM's assertion that Spyker and Saab Automobile have failed to state a cause of action is predicated upon GM's misapplication of relevant law, misinterpretation of certain contracts and disregard of key factual allegations in the Complaint. Accordingly, Spyker and Saab Automobile are of the opinion that the Court should deny GM's Motion to Dismiss.

      As a consequence of GM's tortious interference, Saab Automobile was forced to enter into liquidation on December 19th, 2011.
    1. Shazam's Avatar
      Shazam -
      I believe things are only starting to get interesting.
    1. #1SAAB12-17-11's Avatar
      #1SAAB12-17-11 -
      So they're meeting in February to make their respective arguments to the court whether Spyker's lawsuit against GM has enough legal merit for the court to deny GM's move to dismiss the lawsuit? Any victory Spyker might hope to win over GM is going to take a long, long time. GM can't build a quality car but they've got plenty of lawyers.
    1. nordwulf's Avatar
      nordwulf -
      So.... 2 years later and the court rules in favor of GM. Well, that comes as a surprise...! Spyker could have used the money because the comapny is near its end as well.

      From Reuters:

      General Motors Co (GM.N) persuaded a federal appeals court to uphold the dismissal of a $3 billion lawsuit in which Spyker NV (SPYKF.PK) accused it of derailing a plan to sell the Swedish automaker Saab to a Chinese company.

      The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati on Friday said Spyker failed to show GM intentionally interfered with the Dutch company's effort to sell Saab to Zhejiang Youngman Lotus Automobile Co, leading to Saab's bankruptcy.

      Read more: U.S. appeals court rules for GM over Spyker's Saab sale | Reuters
    1. tunnanxwd's Avatar
      tunnanxwd -
      Let's keep in mind that Victor himself, had issues and turned himself in instead of being arrested like Kristina Geers and Ake as well as his questionable acceptance of the cash to buy Saab from the fellow who is currently seeking refuge in London for the theft of millions, part of the complaint indicated that the money to buy Saab was part of the scheme. It will be a long, long time before (if ever), any light is ever shed on the demise of Saab under Muller. Even the UK Top Gear show blamed part of Saab's troubles on Saab itself. It sure hurts and I've had a Saab since 1984 but, look at the massive changes in the industry ownership and demise of once stalwart companies; who would have guessed that Rover and Jaguar would be owned by Indian corporations or Saab by China. Saab on the other hand didn't seem to put up much of a fight to beat out Opel did they?
    1. nordwulf's Avatar
      nordwulf -
      It doesn't look too good for Spyker. The latest from Zeewolde is they haven't paid the rent on the building for several months now and the building owner is taking them to court. A subsiduary Spyker Events and Branding, which was used for their Formula 1 team, requested protection from creditors which also means there is no money left and they can't pay the bills.

      Visitors to the Spyker factory report it is remarkably empty and quiet and some parts and cars have been moved to other locations just in case.. Earlier this year, they prevented parts and other stuff being auctioned at the last minute because they were behind with tax bills.

      Perhaps some day Mr. Muller will write his autobiography which should ve quite interesting.
    1. tunnanxwd's Avatar
      tunnanxwd -
      Moving materials to avoid creditors or the tax man, no matter how much we dislike "him" is pretty shaky. I don't look at things of this nature as "victimless crimes" but as a few dollars added to my tax burden. I live in a very corrupt state and the taxes on my home with little services are the price of a .. well, $15,000 and much of it is the result of corruption it's at the point where in retirement another straw on this camels back ... Leona Helmsley, the NY real estate mogul openly quoted said "taxes? I don't pay taxes, taxes are for little people".

      One comment about GM during those times of saber rattling and threats, they sure did maintain a stoic silence despite the accusations being hurled.

      Darn, every time I see Wulf's new "avatar" I get that "Happy Wanderer" tune whistling through my head ...
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