Spyker will oppose GM's motion to dismiss Saab lawsuit
AMSTERDAM (Reuters) -- Dutch sports car maker Spyker NV, which is suing General Motors for more than $3 billion on behalf of 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. In response to a suit filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, GM said it had the legal right to approve Saab's transaction with China's Zhejiang Youngman Lotus Automobile Co.
GM had previously said the lawsuit -- filed last month by Spyker -- was without merit.
In a statement on Monday, Spyker said it would oppose the motion to dismiss on Nov. 9, ''assuming the court grants an extension to which GM has agreed."
Saab, one of Sweden's best-known brands, stopped production in May 2011 when it could no longer pay suppliers and employees.
It went into bankruptcy in December, less than two years after GM sold it to Spyker. For months, Spyker and former Saab CEO Victor Muller had tried to pull off a rescue deal with various Russian, Middle Eastern and Chinese investors, including Youngman and Pang Da Automobile Trade Co Ltd.
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's efforts to kill any sale were made to eliminate a potential rival in China, Spyker said in the lawsuit.
GM had 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.
Spyker is seeking at least $3 billion in compensatory damages, as well as interest and punitive damages, and legal fees.
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.
A consortium called National Electric Vehicle Sweden AB 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.
Automotive News Europe contributed to this reportContact Automotive News