January 6, 2011 / 10:47 AM / 8 years ago

UPDATE 1-Spyker upbeat as Saab sales meet lowered 2010 guidance

 * 2010 FY sales 31,696 vs forecast 30,000-35,000
 * Says Q4 sales jumped 129 pct year-on-year
 * Sales momentum ‘continues to grow’
 * Shares up 7.5 pct
   (Adds analyst comment, shares, details)
 By Aaron Gray-Block
 AMSTERDAM, Jan 6 (Reuters) - Loss-making Dutch car maker Spyker SPYKR.AS said it was confident sales at its Swedish unit Saab would accelerate this year after meeting its lowered 2010 guidance, boosting its shares on Thursday.
 Luxury carmaker Spyker defied sceptics last year when it rescued Saab from a looming closure and has remained bullish on its prospects in the face of massive challenges, forecasting sales to rise this year to 80,000 and 120,00 in 2012.
 The company said late on Wednesday, Saab sold 31,696 cars over 2010 after cutting its full-year target in October to 30,000 to 35,000 units, from 45,000 previously, because it had to rebuild its supplier base after Spyker bought Saab from General Motors (GM.N).
 But Saab sold 11,448 cars in the fourth quarter, up 129 percent compared with the same period in 2009 and up 31 percent quarter-on-quarter.
 “There’s still room for improvement. I think it took quite some time to get things up and running in a normal way and they still have a long way to go,” AEK analyst Martin Crum said.
 “2011 will be the first normal year in terms of production and that should show a strong improvement considering 2010, but by how much will it be? We will have to wait and see.”
 Shares in Spyker Cars were up 8.03 percent at 4.05 euros at 1034 GMT to outperform a 0.34 percent gain on the Amsterdam small-cap index .ASCX
 Spyker said after production was severely disrupted at the start of 2010, Saab continued to see sales momentum increase quarter by quarter in several key markets.
 “I am confident that we can keep up the current sales momentum as we continue to enhance our offering with the biggest ever product offensive in Saab Automobile’s history,” Saab Chief Executive Jan Ake Jonsson said in a statement.
 Saab’s factory was closed for eight weeks at the start of 2010 as GM had been preparing to wind the business down prior to the last-minute rescue offer from Spyker, and a lot of suppliers had also closed production.
 The company said it will continue to expand its distribution network in China and Russia and that it expects to see the full effects in 2011 of its entry last year into markets such as Japan, Canada, Portugal and Australia.  (Reporting by Aaron Gray-Block; Editing by Hans Peters)  

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