On Chinese Partnerships

Unless your F5 key isn’t permanently stuck to your keyboard, you might not have heard that Saab is in talks with three Chinese manufacturers with the aim of an immediate cash injection. What exactly is the Saab management team trying to negotiate? According to Bloomberg, there are at least three goals:

  1. Get quick cash to restart production
  2. Gain access to the Chinese market to sell and market their vehicles in a more direct way
  3. Joint-venture with a Chinese company to produce Saabs in China.

On the first point, Saab has come up with various plans, all of which have either dragged on due to complications with the EIB, GM, or any number of other factors. A joint-venture with a Chinese manufacturer can bring with it an immediate liquidity injection through a sale or licensing of technology. This mutually beneficial arrangement helps Saab survive and allows the Chinese company access to world class engineering, safety, and AWD technology that could catapult it ahead of its competition. If you’re not familiar with the new rules of the auto industry that Victor Muller likes to talk about whenever he gets a chance, they have changed. By leveraging their superior technology, Saab can be a power player in the segment which gives them clout.

While many of you might loathe the fact that Saab might be selling out to the Chinese, lets think longer about just how beneficial such an arrangement could be. On the second point of access to the Chinese market, Saab could immediately have access to a dealer network in China. Companies like BMW, Audi, and even Buick fare extremely well among Chinese consumers because they carry with them a certain mystique and reputation for being better than domestic brands. Saab could naturally stand apart and has a great chance of doing well in China, but without proper distribution channels, they don’t have a shot. By elevating a partner domestic brand in China, they can also help to kill off some of the competition on the lower end of the segment (think Chevrolet, VW), while leaving Saab to compete against premium brands. This lets each company chase their own niche.

On the third point of producing Saabs in China, my stance is that if Chinese production is good enough for Mercedes, BMW, and Audi, it should be fine with us. As much as I’d love my car to originate from Sweden, the truth is if you read a label on a new Saab you’ll see that parts are sourced from all over the world already. So long as Saab engineering and management stays in Sweden and the company keeps its headquarters and spiritual identity in Trollhättan, I could care less where my car is built so long as it trumps the competition in quality and style. If you’ve been keeping track of Swade’s adventures in Sweden over on Inside Saab, you’ll see that he recently attended a meeting with suppliers and engineers that helps cement these jobs in Scandinavia by investing in new innovation for weight reduction. That said, all indications are that any production in China would be intended for the domestic Chinese market, something that makes a lot of sense given that they’re now the largest auto market on earth.

With those main points addressed, let’s focus on just who the background of these automakers.

 

1. Great Wall Motor

I’m actually starting in order of who I’d rather see Saab partner with most. At the top of the list is Great Wall Motor Company Limited, more commonly called Great Wall Motor. Last year they produced almost 400,000 cars, 90% of those for the domestic Chinese market. In what is perhaps a nice nod to Saab’s rally history and future ambitions, they participated in the Dakar Rally in 2010. Interestingly enough, they’re also working on a factory in Bulgaria which can produce 50,000 cars a year through a joint venture with Litex Motors. Perhaps this shows just how ambitious they are to partner with European Automakers? If they’d sign a deal with a small player like Litex, imagine what cachet the Saab name carries in their minds.

While they have very little experience in building world class cars (and have actually been accused of copying Fiat and Toyota styles, ack), they have been working with Bosch GmbH and Delphi on new systems, and have confirmed they are in talks with Jaguar/Land Rover to possibly allow them to enter the Chinese market (which would allow production but supposedly only using parts sourced from official JLR partners at first, ensuring top quality- BMW works similarly with Brilliance Auto). They’re also heavily investing in their R&D department, and seem to be taking an active role in trying to transform themselves into a world class brand. Recently they were awarded the title “No. 1 of Top 10 Listed Chinese Automobile Companies” in China (they’re not state owned like BAIC who Saab has already dealt with). Some might say it’s reminiscent of the Korean Automakers 20 years ago, though the changes in the auto industry could mean a much more rapid ascent for the Chinese.

2. China Youngman Automobile Group

I was trying to remember where I had heard of them when I remembered they were involved in a joint-venture with a small start up electric car maker Zap! which once had ambitions to build a small Lotus designed crossover called the Zap-X. Wired has since done an expose on Zap! and discovered it’s a very odd company with questionable business practices, so that initially gave me doubts. China Youngman partnered with Zap! on a venture called Detroit Electric, which also worked with Malaysian maker Proton to create new electric vehicles, which they have some seriously ambitious sales targets (270K by next year?). If they can deliver on their promises, they stand to be an interesting player in the Chinese market.

Up until now they’ve made buses, which kind of reminds me of Saab’s old ties to Scania. I don’t see how Saab really gets a solid manufacturing partner with these guys or a great sales distribution network though.

3. Jiangsu Yueda Investment Co.

This one kind of scares me. According to Reuters:

Jiangsu Yueda Investment Co., Ltd. is principally engaged in manufacture, transportation, commodities distribution and coal mining businesses. The Company’s major products are automobiles, tractors, yarns and coal, among others. The Company also involves in investment, construction and operation of road projects. As of December 31, 2009, the Company had eight subsidiaries and three affiliates, which involved in toll collection and operation of roads, manufacture and distribution of textile products, tractors and coal, materials supply and warehousing services, as well as import and export trading.

They partnered before on vehicle production with Dongfeng Motors on Kia production in the late 90s for Kia, so they’re not completely new to vehicle manufacturing. At the same time, they have a boatload of cash and perhaps it would be even better to join together with someone who serves more as an investment arm who specializes in industrial production (cars, tractors, coal…) than an automaker that wants to raid Saab’s patent pool?

 

All of these companies have interesting advantages and drawbacks, and hopefully Saab can draw out the best deal for itself from them which will lead to a quick resolution and lead to future prosperity in China. According to a source close to Reuters, “The negotiations are very far advanced and should produce results over the weekend,” so we should be hearing what the results of these talks are very soon.

Doctor Donk
Member
5 years 5 months ago

Saab should very caution with partnerships, it can kill rest premiality of brand.

carson
Member
5 years 5 months ago

Great Wall Motor sounds acceptable

GerritN
Member
5 years 5 months ago
“So long as Saab engineering and management stays in Sweden and the company keeps its headquarters and spiritual identity in Trollhättan, I could care less where my car is built so long as it trumps the competition in quality and style.” Sorry, but I disagree with this statement. There are many examples where companies moved their production to somewhere with cheap labor and less restrictive labor laws. The headquarters and engineering at first stayed at their original home base, only to be moved away after a couple of years anyway. Headquarters and engineering are not something that are as deep… Read more »
RS
Member
5 years 5 months ago

(there is a little plate on my Viggen giving its origin as Finland). But the core, the heart or soul if you want to call it that, is in Trollhattan.

Your Viggen is so well built because it’s coming from a true Saab factory started back in the late 60’s with over 700.000 Saabs under their belt. When the NG9-3 cab assembly was moved elsewhere it became a squeaky little bugger that the press was less than impressed with. Talking about watering down quality and image…

bpsorrel
Member
5 years 5 months ago

+1

No Chinese built Saab will end up on mine either. Sorry, but if a Chinese company part own and/or build Saabs, my current 9-3 convertible will be my last one.

Ben
Member
5 years 5 months ago

Yes I agree, production must stay in Sweden. If they want to make cars in China for the China that is fine but not anywhere else.

Carmania
Member
5 years 5 months ago

Production stays in Sweden, China production is for China for the forseeable future. Import taxes are huge and that’s why they must produce in China to be able to sell any volumes there.

BTG88
Member
5 years 5 months ago
+1 Many posters here are rightly interested in the thousands of jobs that are directly and indirectly tied to Saab in Sweden. Count me as one. I want production as well as the spirit of Saab to remain in Sweden. If Saabs are made in China, I won’t be buying them any more (I am on my sixth). I say this having worked in China for a number of years, I am not impressed either with the build quality of many products, nor the way employees are treated in the manufacturing sphere. Don’t even get me started on the political… Read more »
Khrisdk
Member
5 years 5 months ago
I don’t think that it will be a problem if there are Chinese build Saabs. The market in China is so huge that they will take all production. Just like they do with other cars build in China The build quality of other European brands build in China is on par with those built in Europe. There is nothing wrong with Chinese assembly lines if QC is sufficient. You just have to keep pushing to keep quality up. I agree that there is a bit Alfasud over building in China. For those who remember it was well designed and brilliant… Read more »
Niklas G
Member
5 years 5 months ago

I also remember from interviews with people working at Saab who pointed out that there were many advantages with having the R&D staff working nextdoors to the factory.

Khrisdk
Member
5 years 5 months ago

Very much agree on that
I think that there is much more integration at Saab than at other manufacturers

Niklas G
Member
5 years 5 months ago

I think that it is especially important that the R & D people can test new ideas or discuss them with production people with very short notice.

WM
Member
5 years 5 months ago

Great post. Awesome graphic!

Iggy
Member
5 years 5 months ago

DI this morning “SAAB close to Chinese affair”. They think that Great Wall Motors is the chosen one. SAAB is negotiating a “convertible loan” (whatever that is) which can be converted to shares later:

http://di.se/Artiklar/2011/4/30/234435/Saab-nara-kinesisk-affar/

TTELA’ s sources are saying that the negotiations are in the final phase. JAJ and VM were having long discussions last night Chinese time with Great Wall Motors:

http://ttela.se/ekonomi/saab/1.1198730-avgorande-forhandlingar-i-kina

Toby K
Member
5 years 5 months ago

if Saab production, enginnering or any other major part of its operation where to be moved to China I would not but another Saab. I am sorry but I just would not.

Cash injection, fine if they act as investors -fine but a move in operations..that leaves me cold. I love the Swedish kit there’s something about that which could be lost if Saab became Chinese.

I have deep concerns for the future of Volvo for precisely the same reasons.

74StingSaab
Member
5 years 5 months ago

I have to agree to this…. A few parts here and there are find, but when the majority of parts or the car as a whole becomes a Chinese product, I’ll have to pass. No disrespect to the Chinese people intended… more based on the government.

jim
Member
5 years 4 months ago
Beggars can’t be choosers. Saab’s present business model is defunct. I am not sure what you are advocating, if you don’t want a Chinese alliance with Saab. China is, and will be, the center of the auto industry. Sweden can either participate in that auto industry, or not… Lastly, if people do not respect firms that have business / JV in China, then don’t buy VW/Audi, GM, BMW, Mercedes, Toyota or Volvo, etc. Having a Chinese JV isn’t the “end of Saab,” it is the antithesis to the end of Saab. Without a China JV, how would Saab get access… Read more »
Bravada from GMI
Member
5 years 5 months ago

I am sorry but Great Wall Motors is known for hopelessly disrespecting IPO rights, as well as a no-holds-barred policy when it comes to accessing “developing” markets. I am very much disappointed that Saab failed to attract further interest and capital involvement from BAIC instead.

Henric Tungström
Member
5 years 5 months ago

just like Geely is for Volvo then. Saab can´t be picky now, it´s about survival, a deal with Great Wall would be excellent if you ask me. Saab production in China would be for the chinese market only, all the others are doing it.

Saab will not stop producing cars in thn, it´s an important part of the identity, more so now than in the GM-era. Victor, rabbit, hat, great work, hope it works out.

jouni72
Member
5 years 5 months ago

I would not be worried about making Saabs in China in the short run. World is chanching and China becomes a bigger player anyway in many areas. And I think within a time it also must be changed too (sometimes hard to believe in this…). So, having a solid co-operate partner there, I think it is a very good thing. We must remember Saab is not sold to chinese like Volvo, it is more co-operation. So from my point of view this might be a very good thing.

gannet
Member
5 years 5 months ago
please stop this doomsaying 🙂 of course there will be eventually Saab made in Russia or Made in China – I hope so – only way to survive in the long run – it is not possible nor feasable to go through near dead situation every year – but those Saabs for Russian or Chinese markets (or around) If Chinese buy/invest/jointventure/whatever Saab they will know what are the values and why people here buy Saabs. they not gonna ruin that. they are not dumb. I think there will be Saabs made in Sweden for European market, maybe US market and… Read more »
Iggy
Member
5 years 5 months ago
Desperate times call for desperate measures! Cooperation with a Chinese manufacturer can be just positive for a small player on the automotive market like SAAB for a number of reasons: Firstly, SAAB is in desperate need for fresh cash. Money that VA is thinking to bring in is just peanuts. SAAB needs cash to start up the production. Also, which is more important long term, they have to get rid of GM and EIB, and if Great Wall Motors can help with that they are just welcome. Secondly, after the production stoppage SAAB look like a weak car company at… Read more »
gannet
Member
5 years 5 months ago

Well written! thank you. Exactly

Khrisdk
Member
5 years 5 months ago
Since Wulf has already mentioned the Assembly in Denmark over at SaabWorld, I know that it isn’t the first time Saab had cars produced outside Thn. For exactly the same reasons as the reasons for production in China: Lower taxation and lower work costs. We did actually in Denmark become the second largest market for Saab in 1962, overtaking US, simply because assembly in DK meant that taxation was 10% lower and labour costs were lower, resulting in a car that more people could buy. Which they did We actually exported 1100 cars back to Sweden 😉 They did the… Read more »
BTG88
Member
5 years 5 months ago

And recall the the Belgian-made 99s, which were sold world-wide, had a reputation for poorer quality build and materials. The less and less control one has over the product and its associated equity, the more opportunity to not only dilute the brand, but create negative equity.

Khrisdk
Member
5 years 5 months ago

Maybe. And the Danish assembled were of higher quality.
Or rather had a reputation for it. It was the importer who ran the operation in both places.
The Danish assembly was SKD, so it was basically just a car in parts to be assembled.
But control was strict, and the importer keept a keen eye on all problems.
Also the cars were only sold in DK and SE.
The Belgium assembly was CKD.
And the cars were exported.

I don’t think any of this matters today, as QC is the only thing that separates the building locations

RS
Member
5 years 5 months ago

I second that Iggy. There is nothing wrong with having plants and co-operation on different continents (for respective markets). That’s what made the Japanese so successful in NA.
As long as the mothership and R&D -again Scandinavian Saab Saabs- stays in Sweden its a win-win situation. There’s nothing wrong with building 9-4X on the other side of the pond either, if its profitable.
For Asia it definately has to be the right partner from the get go, but I’m sure VM and JÅJ knows this better than anyone.

jim
Member
5 years 4 months ago

Well said. +1

Bravada from GMI
Member
5 years 5 months ago
Guys, do remember we aren’t talking of building Saabs in China here. This would come in a longer run, and BAIC is the ideal partner here, since they already will build the old Saab Epsilon. SAIC could build the 9-5, as they already build the Buick LaCrosse, which is a technological twin. We are talking of selling the brand new, super-duper Phoenix platform (since the older gear was already offloaded to BAIC) to a manufacturer of low-rent copies of cheap European and Asian cars and SUVs. If Saab could boast that the Phoenix is shared with Jaguar, BMW or even… Read more »
Khrisdk
Member
5 years 5 months ago

Why?

At the moment GM is about the same status, so we are already suffering from bad press over that

Khrisdk
Member
5 years 5 months ago

Ups..In Europe that is

Bravada from GMI
Member
5 years 5 months ago

I am afraid I didn’t get your point… What is GM doing in Europe that is equivalent to selling their upcoming premium car platform to a low-rung Chinese manufacturer with awful reputation?

Khrisdk
Member
5 years 5 months ago

Opel 😉

Bravada from GMI
Member
5 years 5 months ago

huh???

Khrisdk
Member
5 years 5 months ago

Opel is a low status budget brand, known for cars that rust away.
May not be the truth at the moment, but the Brand is tainted by that.

Khrisdk
Member
5 years 5 months ago

No prizes for guessing who got to introduce the Epsilon Platform first in EU.

Bravada from GMI
Member
5 years 5 months ago

I think this is your personal impression, I believe they are a long way from Great Wall.

Khrisdk
Member
5 years 5 months ago

Ever heard of Ignazio Lopez?
He singlehandedly destroyed Opels reputation by pressuring Suppliers, resutling in Rust, Broken engines, and general lousy quality.

Bravada from GMI
Member
5 years 5 months ago

It was ages ago. Insignia was the best-selling car in the intermediate class in Europe when launched. It sure owed a lot to customers buying it to watch it rust away.

At any rate, don’t compare Opel to Great Wall please. Over and out.

Jos
Member
5 years 5 months ago

selling the brand new, super-duper Phoenix platform

Bravada, where and when was it ever said that they will do any such thing? I think you’re jumping to conclusions here, as nothing of the content of the agreement to be struck with a Chinese partner has been revealed here. Please let’s all just keep cool untill an agreement is anounced, and react to the content of that, instead of our own possibly misled assumprions…

Bravada from GMI
Member
5 years 5 months ago

Bravada, where and when was it ever said that they will do any such thing?

I believe it was mentioned explicitly that they are exploring opportunities to license out the upcoming Phoenix platform. There is little else to license anyway, BAIC already holds the rights to all the older gear (which nixed Antonov’s erstwhile pie-in-the-sky plans of building Ford-Focus-priced old Saabs in Kaliningrad), and the 9-5 and 9-4X have too much GM’s IP for Saab to be able to license them out. They also don’t own any powerplants’ right anymore.

gannet
Member
5 years 5 months ago
I think selling Phoenix is the only way to survive. Not producing carcompany is dead. Simple as that. With production running, with chinese partners, with saab produced and sold in China, there is no obstacle to develop next platform/powerplant and whatever saab will need or be good to sell. Being technology producer, R+D high tech center working for other is the only way to survive as car manufacturer as well. I wrote it before – Lotus does the same. Developing high tech for others (not licensing old stuff, but licensing very new stuff) and making their own cars too. Small… Read more »
Bravada from GMI
Member
5 years 5 months ago
Lotus is a different kind of company when it comes to product, and when it comes to outright product licensing, they also have much different customers than Great Wall… They also have the security of Proton (a state-owned company that’s “too big to fail” even if they are doing everything to actually do so) supporting them financially and giving a steady stream of engineering work. All in all, I would love Saab to become something like Lotus, the industry’s secret skunkworks doing the intricate jobs for the bigwigs, while building some great cars at attainable prices for the ones in… Read more »
Iggy
Member
5 years 5 months ago

Couldn’t agree more! Sorry for saying this, SAAB is in coma right now. Not a single car has been produced for three weeks. SAAB needs a miracle! Great Wall Motors might make that miracle true!
Comparison with Lotus is 100% correct! SAAB can become a R&D company, making cars for a people with delicate taste. Of course, I hope that the will be selling cheaper cars in bigger numbers then Lotus.

JasonPowell
Member
5 years 4 months ago

Bravada,
Do you think BAIC is the ideal partner just because of the relationship they have already? Wouldn’t it make more sense though to deal with whoever is going to give you the most to be a partner? If you protect yourself legally, not much could really happen without Saabs consent, no?

JH
Member
5 years 5 months ago
Very well written Jeff, as usual. A Chinese partner would be very good for Saab, and perhaps even crucial. Saab production in China is necessary to reach high volumes there (due to high import taxes) and I don’t see it as a problem as long as those cars are made only for the Chinese market. If Saab’s headquarter, engineering department and main production stays in Trollhättan, Sweden with extra production in China only for the Chinese market, I think it is a good deal. Perhaps it is even likely with initial production in Sweden (including car body welding and paint… Read more »
Peter, Sweden
Member
5 years 5 months ago

If Saabs will be built in China, they will be built for the Chinese market. Why is everyone being so negative here nowadays? This is great news!

74StingSaab
Member
5 years 5 months ago

So long as it stays that way, it is indeed “great wall” news 😉

Ben
Member
5 years 5 months ago
“So long as Saab engineering and management stays in Sweden and the company keeps its headquarters and spiritual identity in Trollhättan, I could care less where my car is built so long as it trumps the competition in quality and style.” I think most people agree it would be great news but most of the disscusion is relating to this quote as many of us wouldn’t be happy if only engineering and management stays in Sweden (not that this would happen) I might be missreading the quote but it seems as if global Saab production is what the auther was… Read more »
Eagle63
Member
5 years 5 months ago
saaburban
Member
5 years 5 months ago

Saab 9-4x is right now being made in Mexico.
Saab 900 was once made in Finland.
Saab 9-2x was made in Japan.
Saab 9-7x was made in the US.

If saabs were made in China, it wouldnt be such a big deal.
Saab will always have production at home if it wants to be
a premium brand.

MarkoA
Member
5 years 5 months ago

And more on that list: 96, 99, 9000 and 9-3 were also made in Finland. Every Viggen -> from Finland, Convertibles ->2003, from Finland. At the same factory where they´ll build Fisker Karma etc.

It´s not so crucial where it´s been built, but where it´s designed and originated, that´s what count for me.

BTG88
Member
5 years 5 months ago

The Finnish plant also made the Porsche Boxster. I don’t foresee Porsche making cars in China as it would definitely damage the brand. Many here are concerned that :

‘So long as Saab engineering and management stays in Sweden and the company keeps its headquarters and spiritual identity in Trollhättan, I could care less where my car is built so long as it trumps the competition in quality and style.’

– Means Chinese SAABs for the world. Many of the current owners would not agree with this statement.

Khrisdk
Member
5 years 5 months ago

Then everyone is reacting to the words of Jeff, which is just a statement of his opinion

BTG88
Member
5 years 4 months ago

Correct – the comments posted here relate to the story that Jeff wrote above. Which is why people are expressing their opinion of his opinion.

psmisc
Member
5 years 4 months ago

“I don’t foresee Porsche making cars in China as it would definitely damage the brand.”

http://www.pistonheads.com/Porsche/default.asp?storyId=23033

thor
Member
5 years 5 months ago
Lets hope that VM and JAJ came home with an big deal….. that would be great news for Saab to have a strong partnership with a chinese carmaker with enough money… and strong dealership in China……… in my opinion thats the only way to survive ……….. the combiniation with money from China and Money from Russia… is the right way for Saab. Volvo gets Money from Geely……… Landrover was bought by Indiancarmaker called Tata…why shouldnt Saab make a deal in China… I think Saab will also produce cars here in europe to hold up the premiumimage for the europeanmarket………
Chicago Swede
Member
5 years 5 months ago

I am totally on board with thinking outside of the box to raise capital. No problem. But be careful who fills your wallet. I fear that if SAAB has one more hiccup and the Chinese are involved, well let’s just say there cannot be another hiccup.

Bravada from GMI
Member
5 years 4 months ago

Going to China to sell out technology is what every other guy on the corner would tell you. This surely doesn’t count as “outside of the box”. It is more like “panic mode”. Either way, I would like to see the assembly line going again, JAJ coming back from retirement and some ACTUAL outside-of-the-box thinking in practice (such as the central location of the ignition key).

lundin
Member
5 years 4 months ago
Sometimes i wonder if it wouldn’t have been better to break up Saab into smaller units (still doing operation for Saab) but becoming more or less a self-operated unit.Much like Porche have done with its engineering,design companies etc. Take for instance the after-sales operations. Break it down even furher,training or warranty.These units could have attracted more customer than Saab by selling its expertise and know-how.Run other customers in the same systems etc. This is a fully viable solution.Why do Saab needs to go bankruptcy so other companies can get hold of the persons behind it? Same goes for Geometrical analysis… Read more »
whoozy2002
Guest
5 years 5 months ago

how Holden gets help from the taxpayer

http://smh.drive.com.au/motor-news/holden-profit-made-on-the-back-of-taxpayers-20110428-1dxfy.html

great wall motors has sold 10000 units in Australia in 18 months [figures saab would die for]

Niklas G
Member
5 years 5 months ago

As long as Saab stays independent and in business, it cannot possibly be worse than being owned by GM, right? =)

mike saunders
Member
5 years 5 months ago

How “independent” would Saab actually be if it was heavily subsidized by a Chinese company, which in turn is heavily subsidized by the Chinese government? Any new plants would be financed by low or no-interest government loans and built on land acquired via government influence.

Any IP, whether in product of manufacturing, would be instantly lost.

BTG88
Member
5 years 5 months ago

Be careful. What happens if SAAB does not reach goals that will be established as part of an agreement for funding? Don’t think for a minute that any Chinese company would not come to THN with the tractor trailers, pack everything up that is not nailed down and ship back home. There will be no long, drawn-out discussions of winding down or seeking another buyer, but just some empty buildings left that once produced the cars we all love.

Khrisdk
Member
5 years 5 months ago

That still depends on what the contracts say.
If we are talking about cooperation on future technologies, then Saab is still left on it’s own to survive, but with a little more money.

BTG88
Member
5 years 4 months ago
If VM is looking for a long-term financial solution – which is what he has indicated (VA’s stated contribution of 30MM euros (29.9% ownership) is peanuts for a car company), then you can imagine that significantly more investment with result in a larger or even majority share being held by any Chinese entity (they could even conceivably buy out GM’s share) . The result would be that the new Chinese owner would have the power and right to make decisions regarding the companies future. I don’t think the funds generated via licensing of future technology will be sufficient to give… Read more »
Khrisdk
Member
5 years 5 months ago

As independant as the contracts are written up.

Why should the IP be lost?

BTG88
Member
5 years 4 months ago

If you have ever lived and worked in China, as I have, you would understand that even the best written contracts are worth virtually nothing if a Chinese company, operating in China, wants to do something their way. Especially the ones who have paid the right bribes to the right government officials. The Chinese legal system, such as it is, will chew up and spit out anything it does not like.

Khrisdk
Member
5 years 4 months ago

I have not livid in china.
I have people for that 🙂
I am also pretty sure that IP protection legally in China is not very good
Nonetheless I have worked with chinese partners and suppliers on development and manufacturing of new technology since 2001
We have been able to keep our IP prortected, mainly due to the fact the it was in common interest.
I think the same thing would apply to Car manufacture.

And for those worried about quality: If you keep QC up to specs, the products are great

mike saunders
Member
5 years 4 months ago

BTG88 nailed it: IP protection in China is laughable.

goofy
Member
5 years 5 months ago
Chinese-built Saabs for the Chinese market would be fine if it means Saab’s survival, but knowing that the Saabs available to me in the USA continue to be built in Trollhättan means everything. A Saab needs more than a link to a vaguely-Scandinavian heritage or spiritual identity (even the 9-7x and the 9-2x had that) – it needs to be be designed and built by Swedes for Swedes in Sweden. Of course, as GerritN and others pointed out, there were established Saab models built in established Saab (or Saab partner) facilities in Finland, Belgium, and Austria in the past, but… Read more »
hughw
Member
5 years 5 months ago
This is a difficult question. I really want my Saab to be made in Sweden, or maybe Finland, or maybe even Austria if its a convert, but I’m even wondering about a Saab from Mexico, let alone China. Maybe there’s a middle way: 9-3s and 9-5s in Sweden, 9-4s in Mexico, and 9-2s in China? Then you think about Apple, undoubtably an American company. Where are their MacBooks made? Who knows, probably Thailand, or Korea, or CHina, or Maylasia, or a combination of all of them. But what do you first see when you open the box? A tab saying… Read more »
Khrisdk
Member
5 years 5 months ago

Apple is always labeled ” Designed by Apple in California”
Their products are always Made in China, actually at one of the worst manufacturers, with regular suisides, environmental problems and different sorts of chemical poisoning of workers.

That is widely accepted or ignored by all the people who regards Apple as the biggest thing in design and usability, and is never questioned

Probably a lot of these people are the same that are worried at the outlook of a Chinese investor in Saab

rcase13
Member
5 years 5 months ago

The only way I will continue to buy a Saab is if they remain independent and are not made in China.

Flame me all you want. I won’t buy a Chinese Saab. This is coming from a very long term Saab customer. All my Saab’s were bought new.

Khrisdk
Member
5 years 5 months ago

I never think you will have to.
The Chinese market is big enough to swallow up all cars made there.
The most probable solution is production in China for the Chinese market, because of al the import taxes on foreign cars there.
Russian production for the russian market.
Mexico production for the SA and NA markets
Swedish production for the EU markets, and some production in Sweden for the NA market.

whoozy2002
Guest
5 years 5 months ago

Bottom line Saab need investment and fast if it wants to survive…the current line up looks good [the 9-3 interior is a let down, the 9-4x looks a winner as does the 9-5 sport combi], time for nit picking and choosing is over, saab needs car buyers more than anything else…

spacy
Guest
5 years 5 months ago

When GM was closing Saab down, they sold all the tech stuff for the old 9.5 to china.

What’s happened to that & did a chinese built 9.5 ever happen?>

Khrisdk
Member
5 years 5 months ago

Yes and no

There is a BAIC car on the basis of the old 9-5 and the 9-3 up til 2006 + one coming on the basis of the OG9-3.
None of these are branded Saab

Bravada from GMI
Member
5 years 4 months ago

In a way – the Buick Regal (Opel Insignia) and Buick LaCrosse, which are being built in China, have been developed out of the Saab 9-5 project, which was originally to go into production around 2005 and was the original of the Epsilon II platform. This is why it was so easy to ponder moving the entire tooling to China and just start production there, most of the supply chain was already in place.

Börjesson
Member
5 years 5 months ago

Partnership with a Chinese company : Not a problem.

Selling Phoenix technology to the Chinese: Unfortunate, but probably unavoidable in the circumstances. As long as the knowhow and future development stays in Trollhättan, then OK.

Manufacturing Saabs in China for anything other than the domestic Chinese market: Completely unacceptable.

Niklas G
Member
5 years 5 months ago

+1
…except that I do not personally mind if Chinese built Saabs were sold, say, in Korea, but I really really want Trollhättan to build the Saabs for thisend of the world. Not all Swedes thinks like that, rather buying some cheaper car built in some low-wage country, but for me, the factory, R & D in Trollhättan is one of several important reasons for buying a Saab.

thor
Member
5 years 5 months ago

i cant belive that in China built Saabs were sold here in Europe. if this will be part of a cooperationdeal between Saab and Chinesecarmaker..
……………………………. in my opinion the journey from VM and JAJ is only for collecting money for a longtime financing SAAB here in Europe…. there some medias posted that they will sell Phoenixplattform technologies to a Chinesepartner … but no one said or have written that saab woud transfer the production from there Products from Europe to China , please keep calm

whoozy2002
Guest
5 years 5 months ago

if you are unhappy with Chinese money then the game is up… the majority of the worlds car manufacturers are enjoying record sales and profits post GFC, Saab has used up all its goodwill and management need to move on or declare insolvency… the new post GM efficient Saab needs to start breathing…

Curvin ORielly
Member
5 years 5 months ago
Too much speculative thinking, Jeff. Too much worry, too. If a Chinese or Russian car company invests money in Saab, it’s unlikely that the company will cease building Saabs in Trollhatten, either immediately or possibly even ever. Immediately would mean a loss of short-term production (income) for the investor. Closing Trollhatten down the road doesn’t make sense either. The Saab factory in Sweden, thanks to the huge investments made by GM over the past umpty-ump years, is a state-of-the-art facility staffed by able car designers, technicians and assembly line workers. In addition, many of Saab’s component parts come from nearby… Read more »
Khrisdk
Member
5 years 4 months ago

+1

spacy
Guest
5 years 4 months ago

IF Saab survive, then there has to be a BIG market in assisting other manufacturers develope their ranges.
LOTUS was quite successfull at this, although GM swolled them too, at one point.

As usual in this corporate domenated world the Banks screwed it up & we (and the likes of Saab) have to pay the price (although GN’s handling of Saab’s ownership was less than satisfactory).

I can remember an article in one of the UK motor mags,some years ago. that was sarcasticily headed towards GM….it headed “GM should remember they own a company in Europe called Saab”.

saabowner
Member
5 years 4 months ago
If Saab becomes owned by the Chinese, my current Saab is my last Saab. I just will not buy a car owned by or made by the Chinese. The country is Communist, extremely repressive. I assume the other companies you mentioned are producing cars for the Chinese market. That is fine. The Chinese put antifreeze in toothpaste because it was cheaper. They poisened dog food because it was apparently cheaper to make that way. I spend time in Florida, where they are dealing with Chinese made dry wall that is wrecking their houses. It is virtually impossible not to buy… Read more »
SAAB_Andee
Member
5 years 4 months ago

There is no sign that SAAB will become chinese . They only will sell technology,or other investments. It was only mentioned that in future you need a joint venture in china to produce cars for the chinese market because of the high import taxes. So chinese SAABs in Europe were pure speculation.

Pedro
Member
5 years 4 months ago

I agree with Bravada; BAIC or SAIC would be interesting partners. Perhaps BAIC is just waiting for the ship to sink in order to pick up SAAB for a handful of SEK?

Nissi
Member
5 years 4 months ago
I´ve seen Chineese factories and the ambitions of China and Chineese engineers on spot.I would never underestimate the ambitions of the Chinese. Another important fact: A Chinese company will hardly get necessary government permits for an investment in Swedish SAAB, unless this company also is allowed to export the products produced in China to markets of the Chinese SAAB-producing companies own choice. Chinese companies today makes the rules in China, not foreigners. This means that if SAAB can not make a deal with a Chinese company, unless SAAB admits the cars produced in China to be sold all over the… Read more »
Niklas G
Member
5 years 4 months ago

Perhaps one reason for parallell negotions with three different chinese companies is to play them out against each others, thus gettting better conditions in whatever contracts that finally are signed?

derek
Member
5 years 4 months ago
1 and 2 are ok. Production of Saabs in China are ok as long as they are for their domestic market. BMW makes cars in many countries, including for the domestic markets of Egypt, China, and India. However, if Saabs are built in China for export, I will not buy one. This is not a racist opinion because I will buy a Saab if made in Taiwan (officially called the Republic of China) or if made in Singapore (which has a 75% ethnic Chinese population). Thailand makes a lot of cars. Thais are not Chinese but I will buy a… Read more »
SaabR
Member
5 years 4 months ago
I think along the same lines as many here, that Chinese production would likely be limited to cars for their market. Having said that, there are many examples of award-winning production facilities outside of their home countries. Toyota for example has a couple of factories in the Toronto area. The Corolla/Matrix plant in Cambridge has won many awards for high quality assembly and production efficiency. This is mainly because the procedures are duplicated from the Japanese factories and run in exactly the same way. With this same kind of oversight from Saab, perhaps it is possible to have a Chinese… Read more »
paddan
Member
5 years 4 months ago

No worries here for me. Bring it on. Let’s start the line rolling again ASAP and stop speculation. I heard that one day the sun will burn out, but I will worry about that later.

JasonPowell
Member
5 years 4 months ago

Paddan,
I hear lots of crazy things everyday. There is a group in the US that is trying to tell people that based on a math formula, that judgement day is coming on the 21st of next month, don’t think I’m going to sell my house and buy a bunker just yet though.

paddan
Member
5 years 4 months ago

LOL!

JasonPowell
Member
5 years 4 months ago

Sad thing is I’m not even joking, I’ve seen billboards. They call themselves Family Radio, the “leader” from what I understand predicted this before too and was wrong. You can almost look at anything and see similarities, people seem to think they know everything about everything and are far too often ready and willing to push their idea’s on everyone.

Pedro
Member
5 years 4 months ago

Well… I’m thinking of going to the US this year, and I’d be very frustrated if that May 21st 2011 Judgment Day creates any impediments, like me being sentenced to Eternal Damnation or something like that 😛

JasonPowell
Member
5 years 4 months ago

Pedro,
Can’t make any promises, but I’m pretty sure you’ll be alright…lol

Curvin ORielly
Member
5 years 4 months ago

For you, Pedro, I’m sure the Apocalypse can be delayed a day or two.

thor
Member
5 years 4 months ago

the only thing i dont understand , why is Saab not speaking with Companys or FONDS(Merbanco, Genij,Bernie Ecclestone , which in times of the Shutdownporocess by General Motors were….. interessted to buy SAAB…. now as an new Solution to invest in the Future of SAAB……

SAAB_Andee
Member
5 years 4 months ago

Don´t forget that in the moment every new owner has to be approved. SAABs only chance to have more flexibility in funding is to get rid of the EIB loan.

And to your other questions. Bernie Ecclestone was Showpony of the Genii group. And don´t forget that there is a connex betw. Antonov and the Genii group. Vladimir was always in the back of the Spyker bid.

And Merbanco ?? GM had a reason why they stopped talking with Merbanco. If Spyker needs more money now – why should merbanco do it better.

SAAB_Andee
Member
5 years 4 months ago
Please all be calm and stop speculations. Victor and Jan Ake are not in china to sell SAAB. They make a deal for techsharing or investment in SAAB in R&D projects in future. A joint venture building Saabs for the chinese market is not the short term goal SAAB needs now. But “assembling” SAABs in China for the home market is the only way to get really profit. As you know import cars were high taxed. If you have a chinese partner assembling your car you don´t have to pay those taxes. So it´s the only way to sell there… Read more »
zippy
Member
5 years 4 months ago

I have been very busy recently to follow much of what is going on. I am sure something will happen soon but what I dont understand is why people say that they wont buy a Saab if it were a Chinese owned company. Quite possibly the silliest thing I have ever heard. We buy oil from Saudi Arabia and they are one of the most repressive regimes on earth and treat women like dirt. This is Saab’s last kick at the can and if the current situation isnt solved soon its over folks.

saabowner
Member
5 years 4 months ago

I find it amusing that of all the crazy things going on in the world, the silliest thing that you have ever heard is refusing to buy and car owned or made by the Chinese. As I said in my original comment. There are a lot of things that I don’t have a choice in. One of the things I do is what type of car I buy. I would choose not to buy Chinese. If I could choose where my gas comes from I would.

JasonPowell
Member
5 years 4 months ago

saabowner,
What brand would you buy then that is not represented in China? Most car companies are now there in some way, shape or form.

saabowner
Member
5 years 4 months ago

i said that I would not buy a car that is owned or built by the Chinese. I have no problem with Saab building cars in China and selling them there. I would not buy one if it was built there and sold in the U.S.

zippy
Member
5 years 4 months ago

You contradicted yourself there, saabowner.

saabowner
Member
5 years 4 months ago
This wouldn’t let me reply to your comment. But i disagree that I contradicted myself. I said that I would not buy a car that was built or owned by the Chinese. If in order to build cars in China, the Chinese have to partially own the factory. As long as that car or cars are not imported to the US, I don’t care. However, if they buy the company, like they did with Volvo. Or they build cars in China and bring them to the US, I will not buy it. If the parts content information on the sticker… Read more »
Iggy
Member
5 years 4 months ago

True! VM would not like to lose control over the company he has been fighting for. But on the other side, you think the Chinese would just buy a promise of a future platform, which doesn’t exist today, except in the PhoeniX prototype? They need a better assurance, and a piece of the company is such.
So, Great Wall Motors, or whoever bites, will most probably be a part-owner of SAAB. Everything else would be strange.

SAAB_Andee
Member
5 years 4 months ago

They can´t be part owner now. Every change in ownership has to be approved due to the EIB loan. It takes one year to get VA in – so bringing chinese in ….
be realistic and summarize the facts.

Iggy
Member
5 years 4 months ago
That is true, They can not be a part-owner now.But the rumors are saying that the Chinese company will give SAAB a so-called “convertible loan”, which is a loan that will be converted to shares later. That loan must not be approved by anyone and is a way to go around the EIB-GM hinder. Also GM has already tipped that hey want to get rid of the SAAB shares (for the good price) since they have no interest in SAAB at all. The ultimate goal is, I suppose, to get rid of both GM and EIB, which is probably not… Read more »
SAAB_Andee
Member
5 years 4 months ago

Conclusion is for me , i am open for a chinese part owner. But more than 50% have to be in european hands.

Tone
Member
5 years 4 months ago
I’d buy a Chinese made Saab, but only under the following conditions: – engineered in THN – strict QC in place, with THN bods on the ground overseeing production – priced significantly lower that the equivalent THN produced vehicle: I’m thinking around 20%-30%. A 9-3 Linear BioPower sedan in Australia is around AUD$50k. I wouldn’t spend $50k on a Chinese made vehicle, even if is a Saab. However, I would spend AUD$30-$35k if the quality was right. That said, I don’t believe Saab would dilute their brand by allowing Chinese made Saabs to be sold outside China. And, as many… Read more »
sonett71
Member
5 years 4 months ago
please stop this doomsaying of course there will be eventually Saab made in Russia or Made in China – I hope so – only way to survive in the long run – it is not possible nor feasable to go through near dead situation every year – but those Saabs for Russian or Chinese markets (or around) If Chinese buy/invest/jointventure/whatever Saab they will know what are the values and why people here buy Saabs. they not gonna ruin that. they are not dumb. I think there will be Saabs made in Sweden for European market, maybe US market and other… Read more »
Katsura
Member
5 years 4 months ago
What makes you guys even think Chinese company won;t wait unti it’s all over, then pick upo the pieces like they did Rover? While you guys are still arguing wether you would buy a Chinese made Saab, (no doubt, some of you posted from your CHINESE MADE iPhones), the Chinese are no doubt working out the best way to seal THEIR side of the deal. If it’d mean waiting for Saab to go bankrupt then they would. So yeah, arguing Chinese made Saab is a moot point when you don’t even get past this short term hurdle. On point of… Read more »
Bravada from GMI
Member
5 years 4 months ago
Why would BAIC be even regarded “shanzai”? I am quite puzzled. At any rate, BAIC is a financially well-supported company with little engineering and design resources and solid management. GW is on a roll, muscling their way with a no-hold-barred policy and having become a rather mature operation. BAIC seems to need a thriving, independent Saab to outsource the capabilities they lack to. GW only needs somebody to take some more advanced tech from whenever it’s cheaper than develop it in-house (and they know how to do it without even paying for it), and would perhaps like to purchase the… Read more »
Andy Rupert
Member
5 years 4 months ago
Bravada from GMI
Member
5 years 4 months ago

Douze points! :ROTFL:

Toby K
Member
5 years 4 months ago

You should be banned for that!!
😉

KaiC
Member
5 years 4 months ago
Gentleman! It`s time to stop talking about where the next production would be born . We must know that the key word for SAAB now is ” survival “.First SAAB must be alive.So get loan or get money is the first step.Then SAAB will get stronger by selling a large amount of cars.There is not much doubt about chinese market is the bigger one for SAAB .I trust VM and VA all knowing this .As where would SAAB`s next car be producted is perfect i agree with the point “sonett71″said.Everybody can see what BMW or Benz even AUDI did in… Read more »
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