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, March 5, 2012

Youngman closing in on Saab?

Last week Chinese Zhejiang Youngman Lotus Automobile travelled from China to Sweden with one goal: To return back to China with an agreement to buy Saab Automobile from the bankruptcy administrators. Time will tell if they can succeed.

A large delegation arrived from China last week. Present were founder and Chairman of Youngman, Pang Qingnian, his daughter and CEO of Youngman Automobile Rachel Pang, and also a representative from their Chinese bank, allegedly the Bank of China.

"They do not wish to return home without the green light on the acquisition," a source told Swedish news agency TT.

To Swedish Radio P4 Väst Youngman's Chairman Pang Qingnian said:

"In any case we will do our best. If Sweden gives us the opportunity to buy Saab, we will do our very best to revive Saab."

After meeting the bankruptcy administrators in Gothenburg on Friday, the Chinese delegation travelled on to Stockholm on Saturday to continue the negotiations.

Youngman would not make any comments on Saturday, but their Swedish spokesman and lawyer, Johan Nylén, said that the talks were at a very intensive stage had been "very positive".

But why is Youngman so keen on acquring Saab? Youngman's Chairman Pang Qingnian gave some insight to radio P4 Väst:

"First and foremost because Saab is a well known brand and because Saab has a good management. Saab has a team that can build cars of high quality and with a good reputation. Saab is a good brand and if it were to disappear, we would be very very sorry," Pang Qingnian said.

From an interview several years ago we know that Pang Qingnian's ambitions are to develop and build cars of high quality:

"I want to produce automobiles with high quality, low energy consumption, low costs and low prices. From the aspect of strategy, we will win the market through high quality and low pricing. This is the direction of my future strategy. Let more consumers, spend relatively little money to buy good vehicles," Pang Qingnian said.

And Youngman has certainly shown the interest to acquire high quality manufacturer Saab the past year. For us looking from the outside at Saab's struggle to survive, Youngman has maybe not always looked credible and trustworthy when promised money to save Saab from bankruptcy was not paid. But this is business, and in business there is seldom room for charity and compassion. Only fools would time and time again make payments without any guarantee of something in return. In addition, it has been said that Youngman had trouble getting the needed money out of China. But now that has changed:

"What we can say right now is that they are still working intensely with the acquisition. Youngman has the necessary funding in place," lawyer Johan Nylén told TTELA.

And if Youngman succeed in buying Saab, Chairman Pang Qingnian belives in a bright future for Saab and its emplyees:

"We have high confidence in the management [of Saab] and we believe that Saab with all the employees have a great future and if we get the opportunity to buy it, we welcome every employee back."

And to achieve this, Pang Qingnian is prepared to invest SEK 12 billions to develop new Saab models. Models which will first and foremost be based in Saab's Phoenix platform which is under development. But until then, the Chinese would like to produce Lotus cars in Trollhättan:

"Since GM has stopped the production of the 9-5, we would like to start producing Lotus [based?] cars while we invest to develop the Phoenix platform," said Pang Qingnian to TTELA.

Pang Qingnian could however not say when an acquisition could be finalized.

"We do not know when in time a transaction can be done. But the bankruptcy administrators are working quickly and are very positive."

According to lawyer Johan Nylén, General Motors is no longer a decisive factor for the Chinese to buy Saab.