Saab deal a relief for Wichita dealer

Ron Fortune can finally move forward with a little more certainty.

Dutch company Spyker Cars said this week that it completed its $74 million purchase of Swedish carmaker Saab from General Motors.

For Fortune, owner of Euro-Tech Saab, 1122 E. Central, the completed acquisition ends months of on-again, off-again efforts by GM to sell the niche car brand, which sold around 40,000 cars in 2009 compared with 94,000 the year before.

"I'm excited, of course," Fortune said Wednesday. "It's going to be a great deal."

Great, he said, because Spyker plans to reinstate Saab's leasing program, which Fortune said was suspended more than a year ago.

"A lot of Saab customers like to lease," he said. "I'll bet you half of my (Saab) business was leases."

Fortune said that's one of the details he learned in a conference call between U.S. dealers and Spyker officials Wednesday.

He said dealers also were told that Saab will be releasing the new Saab 9.5 this spring and introducing a new station wagon and crossover, both in 2011.

Fortune said he will learn more details about Spyker's plans for Saab at a national dealers meeting in March in Boston.

The only uncertainty remaining is Spyker itself. The company, which specializes in building luxury cars with a $200,000-plus price tag, posted a net loss of 8.7 million euros in its most recent reporting period.

Fortune said he does have concerns about Spyker's financial loss.

But "I would think anybody who has that type of money... knows what he's got to do" to make Saab successful and profitable.

"It will be interesting to see how that unfolds."