Russia's Antonov sees Saab missing sales target

STOCKHOLM, March 10 Thu Mar 10, 2011 4:42am EST

STOCKHOLM, March 10 (Reuters) - Spyker Cars' SPYKR.AS Saab unit will miss its sales target this year, the Russian businessman set to buy Spyker's sportscar operations said in a newspaper interview on Thursday.

Vladimir Antonov, who helped fund Spyker's acquisition of Saab from GM (GM.N) last February and who previously had a stake in Spyker, told Swedish daily Dagens Industri he saw Saab selling 60,000-65,000 cars this year, short of its target. Eric Geers, head of communication for Saab, said he could not comment specifically on Antonov's remarks. But he said Saab's business plan was on track and that its 80,000 sales target was not its main goal.

"I know that at Saab we are moving ahead, we are following the business plan," Geers said. "The sales target is not our prime target. Our prime target is to follow our business plan and deliver, within the financial parameters."

Spyker Chief Executive Victor Muller was not available for comment.

Spyker faced wide scepticism when it rescued Saab from imminent closure but has remained bullish, forecasting sales to rise this year to 80,000 vehicles and 120,000 in 2012.

Saab sold 31,696 cars in 2010 after cutting its full-year target in October to 30,000-35,000 vehicles from 45,000.

The Russian businessman was also quoted as saying he could finance 500 million Swedish crowns ($79 million) of Saab's capital needs this year and that it would be no easy task to bring on board other investors. Last month, loss-making Spyker said it was selling its niche luxury car business to a Antonov's British holding company, CPP Global Holdings, for an initial 15 million euros ($21 million) and would focus on the Saab operation. ($1=6.343 Swedish crowns =0.7208 euro) (Editing by Erica Billingham)