The 59-year old executive, who has worked for Saab for close to 40 years, took over the helm of the company in 2005 when it was still under the ownership of General Motors. He was instrumental in saving the company when the Detroit automaker wanted to close down the brand. “I have been with Saab Automobile for almost my entire career of 40 years, of which almost six years as the head of Saab Automobile,” said Jonsson in a statement. “The last three years have of course been very demanding and forced me to focus on one thing only – my work. Now it is time for me to also spend some time on other things that had to stand back for my duties to Saab Automobile.”
The longtime Saab executive leaves the Swedish brand at a time it is working on the development of a new range of models built on a common platform architecture called Phoenix, the first of which will be next year’s Saab 9-3. Victor Muller said that Jonsson was instrumental in Saab Automobile’s survival but also in the transition of Saab into an independent car company. “I am really sad to see him leave, but understand and respect his rationale. He has had one of the toughest jobs in Sweden in recent years and I am grateful that he has transferred his knowledge and experience to the Managements of Saab Automobile and Spyker Cars N.V.”
Jonsson’s resignation was announced on the same day that Spyker Cars NV reported a 2010 net loss of €218 million ($309 million). The Dutch company, which plans to sell its non-Saab sportscar business to Russian banker and businessman Vladimir Antonov, said that 2011 is expected to be loss making as well and may turn around in the following year. Thus, the pressure on the Saab brand is tremendous in making Spyker Cars NV a profitable organization.