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.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

GM still skeptical, Chinese Pang Da open to reconsider stake in Saab

The last couple of days we have read reports saying that the potential new Chinese owners of Saab are looking into alternative ownership structures to please both General Motors (GM), which Saab still needs to buy technology from, and Chinese authorities. Now Dow Jones Newswires reports that Chinese vehicle distributor Pang Da is open to discuss its planned stake in Saab.

"From Pang Da's perspective, what we're trying to accomplish is to come up with a plan that can save Saab," secretary of Pang Da's board of directors, Wang Yin, told Dow Jones Newswires.

One possible ownership structure which has been mentioned is Pang Da and Chinese vehicle manufacturer Youngman taking a 20 percent stake each, and leaving the rest for one or more Chinese investment funds.

"What kind of stake Pang Da can eventually take in Saab is of secondary concern," Wang Yin said.

Wang Yin also said that the news report that Pang Da would take a 20 percent stake was "inaccurate."

But from General Motors point of view nothing seems to have changed.

"GM has not changed its position," spokesman James Cain told Dow Jones Newswires.

And Saab's CEO and Chairman Victor Muller can't be surprised by GM's attitude. To Teknikens Värld Muller said "I understand GM fully, it is obvious that they do not want to risk their market in China".

Muller said that he does not believe that GM will approve the potential Chinese owners. And Muller can not understand why the Chinese keep pumping money into Saab.

"It's like putting money into a black hole", Muller told Teknikens Värld.

So GM still skeptical, and the Chinese willing to discuss the ownership structure, that's where we're at. The question is if we can get to a point where everybody is happy before it is too late.