How is Victor Muller?

It's summer and it's hot. Actually too hot for writing. As usual, there is a threat of a medial summer hole in this season. And suddenly you remember things that you wanted to talk about for some time. The worried look sweeps into the Netherlands today. He is Victor Muller. Because it has become very quiet around the former CEO of Saab Automobile AB. Things sounded so promising two years ago.

Long ago. Spyker 2010 at the Saab Museum Trollhättan
Long ago. Spyker 2010 at the Saab Museum Trollhättan

An automotive dream could have developed in Swedish-Dutch cooperation. Koenigsegg, manufacturer of supercars from Ängelholm, delivers its exclusive V8 engines to Spyker, a fine Dutch luxury sports car manufacturer. Announced before 2 years ago by Christian von Koenigsegg and Victor Muller at the Geneva Motor Show. The former wanted to buy Saab from GM, but withdrew his offer at the last moment. Second then grabbed what obviously did not bring him much luck. Because since the end of Saab and his business with Spyker no longer run around.

Plans to build a vehicle on the still unfinished Saab-Phoenix platform with Chinese investors failed. Also the Spyker B6 Venator, surprisingly conjured out of the hat based on the Artega GT, never went into production. The C8 Preliator, with Koenigsegg V8 should be the last 2017. Actually a fantastic combination, but even these plans did not work. Because not a single V8 was built in Ängelholm for Spyker and in the summer 2018 Koenigsegg announced the end of the relationship. The car world, and that's clear, has missed so two absolute dream cars. Which, however, would have been affordable for only a few.

C8 Aileron LM85 and then finish

Since then there has hardly been any news, and the search for clues is difficult. Of the brand's last model for the time being, the C2010 Aileron with Audi V8 presented in 8, 2017 units were realized in 3. They have a Le Mans look and are collector's items from the start. One can safely speculate about their price, as well as whether they were actually completed and sold. The Aileron, with its jet-like air inlets, is unmistakably a final homage to the Spyker brand's aviation past, which really goes back a long way.

The last update of the Spyker homepage is from November 2017, since then no more cars have been made. The company still exists, however, and machines, parts and semi-finished vehicles are stored in a warehouse near Zeewolde. Unfortunately, rent arrears ran up, so that the precarious situation became public months ago. But before the worst could come, Muller could Settle arrears, Spyker now has a deadline to clear his hall by the end of October.

How it goes on whether Muller can bring Spyker Cars back to life is uncertain. The environment for the luxury sports car of the Dutch manufacturer would actually be ideal. Demand in the high-price segment is developing faster than the market environment. In China, the number of millionaires grows by 10% per year, and with it the target group for brands like Spyker.

Anyone who likes small, exclusive manufacturers or is connected to Saab will wish Muller the best of luck. Because it is clear that without his commitment, neither the last Saab 9-5 generation nor the 9-4x would have existed. And both were and are great vehicles. And no matter how things develop in Zeewolde, Victor Muller has an eventful life and certainly always something to tell.

11 thoughts on "How is Victor Muller?"

  • I am grateful to the VM, as the only one has Saab something Saab saved. Wish him success with Spyker.

  • That's exactly how it is, or was it ...

    GM had taken precautions. If I'm right in mind, GM could almost refuse investors or refuse to buy licenses if an investor (such as Antonov) came in who they reject. Which amounts to the same thing.

    What SAAB would have needed at the time of VM's entry would have been contracts with GM, which ensured the most recent models and those in the pipeline (9-4X and 9-5 SC) for several years on commercially reasonable terms and gave VM-SAAB more freedom in terms of funding.

    Unfortunately, there were no such contracts and we know the rest ...

    If I have that in mind, VM is a lawyer himself. But a lone fighter doesn't make an armada. But it would have needed it from the beginning. A potential donor in the hindquarters (Antonov), which GM had contractually provided, is unfortunately worthless in view of the given background ...

    All of this sounds like VM criticism, but I don't want it to be understood that way. The man not only tried a lot, but also achieved a lot. Also for SAAB. He has my respect ...

  • ... and yet it almost and maybe still could have worked - VM was not a pure lone fighter but still had the dazzling Mr. Antonov in the top hat with the best connections and apparently unlimited possibilities to offer funding. But GM had probably taken precautions against all eventualities and at least for me it was a real shock when it came out that the CEO Jan-Åke Jonsson had influenced the fortunes of Saab-Spyker in the interests of GM.

  • I'm still grateful to VM that he had the courage to free Saab from General Motors. That he has designed and built the 9-5 NG I will not forget my whole life. What a dream car !! I hope he's fine.

  • Well said. GM-SAAB was grabbed by GM's throat and starved on the outstretched arm.

    And that was planned and wanted by GM, because who laughs last laughs best. No one should be able to laugh at GM managers later on and say, well, it works.

    A small lone fighter like VM was there for this round in the ring probably as close to the GM-Wunschkandidaten, as it goes. With the Opel GM has tried so synonymous, but as known not to be able to pull through. Since I wonder if SAAB would not have had a chance against GM, if SAAB would have been taken over by another group and whose armada of lawyers the conditions (including million-heavy contractual penalties) meticulously and in detail negotiated and their compliance would have reclaimed if necessary.

    Would, would have, the old trollhatten bike chain ...

  • No matter who took over Saab then, no one could have succeeded. The stranglehold of GM was too big and without patents and rights, it can be difficult to run a successful business. The greater my respect that VM has tried, surely with the best intentions and a bunch of Saabspirit!

  • Above all, one should be grateful to Christian von Koenigsegg. If I remember correctly, VM basically took over the business plan from CvK at the time. The really likeable Swede had done a lot of preparatory work back then. VM got involved at a fairly short notice back then. I would correct the sentence “since the end of Saab, his business with Spyker is no longer smooth” to the effect that business has never really been good. That was exactly the reason for the takeover of Saab. Is there an interesting book in Dutch about Spyker with lots of details about the Saab deal ... 😉

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  • Hello in the round.
    First of all, thanks to Tom for calling Victor Muller back to our memory and for giving him a small (retrospective) tribute.
    At the time, I was also euphoric and in a great happy ending hope that a man with this courage, vision and an obvious will to win had put himself at the head of “our” car manufacturer.
    Unfortunately, it quickly became clear that insufficient funding was available. Of course, it is also difficult when a “small” wants to agree a “big”. History shows, for example, in the takeover of Schaeffler / Continental that one (s), or in this case - woman - can also choke on oneself.
    I think Victor Muller had great intentions about our planes. Too bad that it did not work out.
    All the best for the former CEO of Saab AG!

  • I really did not like the VM anyway.
    (So ​​what I got from the press / internet / vita / etc. at that time) ...

    ... but you really have to be almost grateful to him, because he has at least slightly extended Saab's life
    ... and I especially, because I am allowed to drive one of “his” late works every day ... 😉 🙂

  • Great class,

    that Tom keeps looking for such questions. Dull copy & paste is as alien to this blog as it would be a Caribbean beach bar on the moon. No wonder that this is my favorite reading online - especially since I had already asked myself this question. And where can I get an answer? Of course here ...

    I wish VM a positive turn and good luck.
    And I say thanks for a Spyker, 9-4X and 9-5 NG SC I've met so far.
    And also for beautiful 9-3 convertibles and SC or the 9-5 NG sedan, which would have been no more without VM.

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  • A spirited life stops, it goes up and down. You have to be grateful to Muller because he had the courage and at least tried it. Without his commitment the lights would have gone out much earlier.

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