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More news from the car wars front as Saab sales double while Renault suspects industrial espionage

Nobody really seemed to want Saab when then owner General Motors dumped the brand two years ago. To be honest its prospects didn’t look any rosier when it was eventually bought by Dutch speciality cars maker Spyker.

After all, if GM, for all its problems, thought the brand was too small to be worth investing in, what chance had the virtually unknown Spyker?

But the Spikes have managed to sell twice as many cars between October and December last year (11,448) as Saab sold in the same period of 2009 and say they could have sold a lot more but for supply chain problems inherited from the GM days. In all it sold 31,696 cars in 2010.

Meanwhile back at Renault (which also owns 44 per cent of Nissan) three executives, including one on the management board, have been suspended for ‘industrial espionage‘ believed to be related to the company’s development of electric cars.

The French government takes its big companies seriously and industry minister Eric Besson has waded into the fray, saying the country (country, note) faces “economic war.”

Electric cars are supposed to be all the rage this year and Renault and Nissan have a number of models in development. Our old friends at GM recently launched the electric Chevvy Volt (pictured) in the US and it appears to have got off to a promising start, doing rather better than Nissan’s Leaf.

So which tea leaf has been trying to suborn Renault executives. Is it a company or even a country?

If this ever comes out (and ‘informed’ opinions are bound to) there’ll be the mere et pere of a row.

China, India, Russia? Russia’s Vladimir Putin is reported to keen to build up his country’s car industry although the suggestion that he would be involved in anything like this is clearly ridiculous.

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About Stephen Foster

Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.
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