IMPORTANT NEWS: National Electric Vehicle Sweden has agreed to buy the assets of Saab Automobile and the sale is expected to be finalized during the summer.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Saab's flirts in China

Earlier today China Car Times (CCT) published a comprehensive and very interesting article on Saab's flirts in China. There is also some information in the article that can be seen as frightening for the Saab fan. The CCT article is to a large degree based on an article in the Chinese magazine Automotive Observer which got its information from a Youngman insider. In other words, this is by no means confirmed information, and should thus be taken with a large grain of salt.

It is revealed by Automotive Observer that Youngman was after Saab already back in 2009 when GM put Saab up for sale. But as we all know, Spyker Cars (now called Swedish Automobile) ended up with Saab. Later when Saab started searching for a partner in China, Youngman entered the field once more. But according to the Automotive Observer article, Youngman was only interested in the Saab brand: "We just want the brand, if we’re talking about the future then self developed vehicles are our future, there’s no meaning in joint ventures."

When Saab in the beginning of May announced that Saab and Hawtai had signed a MoU, Youngman was very surprised. The Hawtai offer was much bigger than Youngman was willing to pay. According to the insider, Youngman’s negotiating policy seems to revolve around the "waiting for them to be half dead, half alive". A waiting game Saab did not have time to play. But the Hawtai deal fell through and Saab announced a MoU with Pang Da. Saab and Pang Da needed a manufacturing partner and suddenly Youngman got a third chance.

It is speculated that Youngman might once more be stalling and gambling that they can move in and pick up the Saab brand and technology cheaper the longer they wait. But on the other hand, Youngman cannot design cars, their cars are "a crappier Proton, if such a thing could exist". Saab has both the models and the design capability, and Pang Da has the sales ability to take cars from the factory to the consumers. So maybe this is a match made in heaven?

It’s a very good article, so head over to
China Car Times and read the whole piece for yourself. It is much more comprehensive than this short summary and also covers BAIC and their interest in Saab.