Ny Teknik on building Saabs without GM licenses

Ny Teknik have an interesting article on how Saab could produce cars without being bothered by GM:

GM can not stop Saab, or the person who buys the company from building a new generation cars. All the basic technology is controlled by Saab. Thus opens the way for Chinese Youngman and Pang Da.

The next generation of Saab cars are based on Phoenix, a kind of basic drawing and basic design that can be used for a number of new car models. It is controlled by Saab, unlike today’s cars, which GM owns a large part of the technology.


They talk about the new 9-3 that is under development:

The first car that Saab will build on the Phoenix architecture is the next generation 9-3, internally known as the 540th More than half the car comes from outside the Saab, including a number of components and systems that GM can now stop. But it’s not a disaster. At worst, forced Saab to find new suppliers to the corresponding components. These are about 500 part numbers, less than ten percent of the total number of components in the 540th

Nor is it certain that GM will ban the Saab to use these components. In its statement last week highlighted GM’s spokesman James Cain that is open to continue to supply engines, transmissions and other components to Saab on commercial terms.

Basically I see their point. Skip the GM models and continue with cars developed on the Saab-owned Phoenix platform. GM may even still supply some if not most parts for the next generaion 9-3. They could even keep supplying the 9-4x as it is built in Mexico in a GM plant. Should be not too dangerous regarding IP, maybe adapting the contracts a bit would be enough. The lack of a 9-5 – not sure if that would be a huge problem for now. The 9-3 has always been the bread and butter model.

All that sounds reasonable, but do Pang Da and Youngman have the funds to build up Saab from that point? To finance development of an entire range quickly without making money from producing the current models? Not that I’d completely doubt that but it would be a even bigger task than the original plan.

Yes it is possible, but it would most likely demand even more money than the Chinese had planned to invest. Most of all, though, it is a tempting thought.

What do you think? Have your say in comments!

Zizou
Member
4 years 10 months ago

Hmm so if I get you right: 9-3 Griffin dead, 9-5 NG dead, 9-4x dead…(no production any longer…)

There is only one reason when this would make sence to me: NG 9-3 ready for mass production within a year!!!

What about the production workers and remaining fixed costs? Can our friends from the east cover that?

Red J
Member
4 years 10 months ago
This plan has only a slightly glitch, customers and dealers have already been waiting for 7-8 months to see production start, and if things go without a problem, we won’t see production restart till February or March 2012. By trying to live without GM tech the waiting for production restart would take another 12-24 months longer, as I think that the 9-3 Griffin would also be dead. So how many dealerships will wait that long? And how many customers? Saab Automobile has to find a compromise that GM and YMPD can live with, this is the only solution to the… Read more »
UWb
Member
4 years 10 months ago
I do not see anything in this article that would prevent SAAB from continue producing the 9-3 and 9-5 in Trollhättan and buying the 9-4 from GM. This is as it is and as long as production of any of these platforms are moved to China, it should be acceptable for GM, even with the current contract of technical licenses. On the Phoenix platform, 10 % sounds like a small number, it could be even smaller, but it all depends on which parts are re-used from GM and the possibility to find an alternative supplier of these parts which, unlike… Read more »
900 classic cab
Guest
4 years 10 months ago

It sounds possible, but is it reasonable ? That would imply no new SAABs for a year and a half ? The 9-4x and 9-5 could easily increase its sales worldwide, specially now with the introduction of the combi. And I disagree with people saying the 9-3 griffin is dead. That car could still sell a lot ! It has enough value for that.

Mark
Member
4 years 10 months ago
I’m sure a compromise deal with GM could be made, where only new Saab models that don’t feature GM IP would be produced in China for the Chinese market. This would make Saabs costly imports to China (due to high tariffs) and would probably shorten the life of the 9-5 quite a bit. The 9-4x is probably irrelevant as GM is basically an OEM supplier and Saab just sells the car on, although I’m sure Saab’s new owners would prefer to start making their own replacement car as soon as possible. This would not cause any embarrassment with SAIC as… Read more »
skwdenyer
Member
4 years 10 months ago

GM have already said that they will NOT continue to supply 9-4x vehicles with new ownership.

Mark
Member
4 years 10 months ago

That is under the terms of the current deal.

Tripod
Member
4 years 10 months ago
As has been mentioned earlier, when discussing the Phoenix platform, it is thought that it can be used for different models over time, it’s the whole point with such platform, and then when discussing the replacement for the current 9-3, which will the first one on the new platform, it has been said that some parts may be GM tech, at least that’s the impression one might get. This has for some, as it seems, meant that the Phoenix platform itself must be full of GM tech, and thus that one would need something else, to be completely free. I’m… Read more »
Mark
Member
4 years 10 months ago

Phoenix is supposedly loosely based on the old Epsilon 1 platform that underpins the current 9-3. GM gave this platform to Saab as it considered it “old tech” when compared to Epsilon II. It probably didn’t expect Saab to create Phoenix, but unless GM is some kind of ‘Indian giver’, it can hardly complain about IP in some that it’s given away and abandoned.

Quixcube
Member
4 years 10 months ago
Sh*t happens. It comes down to a moral question in many ways. Odds are that Saab would have moved production to China anyway after a few years. Every other industry has. Why should the automotive industry be different? If this is true then it is a only a minor point to worry about the future of the people in Sweden. Dealerships can be replaced with kiosks at company owned service centers and by good web stores. Apple showed that. Personally, the idea above pisses me off. I would like a local dealership with people I know and a car built… Read more »
Quixcube
Member
4 years 10 months ago

Not sure how this reply ended up here. Was meant to follow later comments about mothballing the factory.

katar1na
Member
4 years 10 months ago

Got to love this sentence:

“GM can not stop Saab, or the person who buys the company from building a new generation cars.”

The thought struck me long ago, it´s possible when it comes to technical skills etc. but the financial parts makes me troubled… Just hope the chinese are ready to take a leap into the right direction.

Zizou
Member
4 years 10 months ago

Hope you did not understand me wrong! Wrote Griffin dead I meant it would be dead without gm licence…!
And I agree the Griffin would be “the seller” until the NG 9-3.

Troels, Denmark
Member
4 years 10 months ago

As I have said before: IF GM do have just a little goodwill, a solution could be found: Current Saab-models only produced in Trill-hättan and new models using no tech (or only some specific components) from GM …

saabserb
Member
4 years 10 months ago
This is just a theory but definitely not possible to pull off. SAAB needs to start producing cars ASAP. Chinese will not be able to wait for that long. Alternative is horror: If Chinese by any means accept the situation and decide to wait for the new platform, then they will probably just keep the R&D in Sweden and move the whole factory to China, leaving thousands of SAAB workers jobless. One other thinking I have: It would be interesting to know why GM set the stop. Two options: 1. GM themselves decided that Chinese SAAB is risk for their… Read more »
wfg
Member
4 years 10 months ago
I have said that already earlier, SAAB might go ahead bulding current SAAB models on the GM platform (as GM makes good money out of it too) while they should seek another partner (e.g. Toyota or BMW) to work on new models for the world-wide market in the future. I don see that deal so complicated as GM would be also a winner to get money as long as SAAB builds the models while no technology transfer will take place in the future models (and to China)….ok, I assume that the next generation SAABs will have four wheels too but… Read more »
900 classic cab
Guest
4 years 10 months ago

The 9-5 outdated ? No way. Yes, it’s heavy…as in safe, Still it’s nimble and when driving doesn’t feel it’s 5 meter long. And if someone is looking for economy, they will buy a diesel one, which still surprises even the motor journalists with less fuel consumption in real world driving that published.

Coke is it
Member
4 years 10 months ago

+1

Red J
Member
4 years 10 months ago

wfg,
if the 9-5 is outdated, what do you say about the Cady XTS with an estimated start of production in spring 2012?

Yes the XTS is nothing but a 9-5 but in Cady shape.

wfg
Member
4 years 10 months ago
Sorry if my comment was disturbing. I did not mean that I do not like the new Saab 9-5 but at least in Europe you hardly will sell such a car. Even the competitors turn to smaller and lighter with far better fuel efficiency. For example, while Saab introduces a rather old V6, Volvo, Mercedes and BMW introduce strong R4 engines even to their luxury lines. In addition, the gasoline engines are subject of great changes (e.g. CGI of Mercedes) that are just slightly better than the old 9-5 Aero. Honestly, I think the new Saab 9-5 is nice but… Read more »
Mark
Member
4 years 10 months ago

I think in some ways you are being realistic. I will always contend that the NG9-5 is what GM envisaged for Saab, but very likely not what Saab would have truly envisaged. It was probably the best thing Saab was going to get out of GM, but as to being the best car for the times? Possibly not. For this reason I’m glad that Saab has been able to design the 9-3’s successor with little or no influence from GM. I just hope the project comes to fruition.

klypp
Member
4 years 10 months ago
As I understand this, No GM regulations are stopping SAAB from producing cars in Trollhättan and selling these to China. Right? GM don’t mind licensing their technology to China. They already do this through the joint venture with SAIC, 51% owned by SAIC. What’s left is the possibility that the agreements with SAIC prevents GM from licensing to other parties in China. If this is the problem, it should be negotiable and not that hard to solve. Unless there are other issues here… SAIC is 100% owned by the Chinese government. The major stakeholder in GM is the US government,… Read more »
Carmania
Member
4 years 10 months ago

No, GM have a clause in their contract saying it is no longer valid if the company change ownership/control. So if the Chinese control SAAB they will no longer allow SAAB to use their technology. Under what (if any) conditions GM would allow new ownership and still provide their technology and parts is not known. SAAB and YPD have to negotiate with GM. The big question is why they didn’t do that before the deal to sell to YPD?

klypp
Member
4 years 10 months ago

So far they’ve turned down a russian and some chinese.
Either they won’t allow an owner with money in his pockets, which makes no sense businesswise, or they don’t like the livinghood of these guys, which is politics.

Carmania
Member
4 years 10 months ago

I mean it’s a strange way of doing the negotiations. They have had years to discuss and negotiate with GM what their conditions are for a change in ownership. It’s more or less pointless to negotiate deals if they don’t know what the response from GM will be. The development during the last year is exactly what I feared when they allowed both GM and EIB to put a rope around the neck of SAAB with the option to pull it whenever they like.

Grumpy
Member
4 years 10 months ago

Till, I am not quite following the logical leap in your argument when you say Saab would not be able to sell the current models. Perhaps I have missed a key element. in GM’s ‘no!’

Great Otto
Member
4 years 10 months ago

I just wonder why nobody is asking the other way ´round: Saab influenced the whole technic of GM models, especially while the development center was based in Rüsselsheim. Look at the actual Insignia and you see more Saab-influence than what Opel could brought in. Turbo, driver-orientation, safety etc. GM should have a look how far they where before GM-Saab and now – but maybe that´s what they did and what they are afraid of…

saabista63
Member
4 years 10 months ago

I do not see the slightest of chances for SAAB to survive without GM IP.
This would mean SAAB can virtually not sell ANY CARS (except the available stock, if GM agrees) for at least 10 – 18 months.

I don’t see anyone around who could provide the funding for the development of three or four different types of cars (9-3, 9-5, 9-2, 9-6 or whatever) virtually WITHOUT incoming money.
As I see it, without the production of the current model line-up, SAAB will have to be closed down.

Peter Gilbert
Member
4 years 10 months ago

I like the idea of GM being the ultimate looser. They cut off their SAAB to spite their tailpipe! Because of their greed which I wrote about last week they would loose money on components that they could have sold and made a profit on why dealing with SAAB.
A pox on both their Volts!

zippy
Member
4 years 10 months ago

Wont work. Consumers and dealers would run a mile. And I doubt YPD has enough cash.

Iiari
Member
4 years 10 months ago
This is what I was saying weeks ago! I love this paragraph: > All that sounds reasonable, but do Pang Da and Youngman have the funds to build up > Saab from that point? To finance development of an entire range quickly without > making money from producing the current models? Not that I’d completely doubt that > but it would be a even bigger task than the original plan. This SHOULD HAVE BEEN the original plan in my mind. The idea that Saab was going to break even from the start was pure fantasy in my mind. I said… Read more »
Saabheart
Member
4 years 10 months ago
Too bad Saab didn’t focus their efforts on preparing the NG9-3 for production when everything hit the brakes earlier this year. With 10 months of focused efforts you could get that car ready to go. I understand all the logistics involved would mean it would be very difficult to pull off, but the logically, it makes sense to just start over at this point. The 9-3 is the biggest seller for Saab by far, and they haven’t made any cars in months as it is. They may as well cut bait, get out of the old models and start over.… Read more »
maanders
Member
4 years 10 months ago

Work on the new 9-3 has not stopped. At least that is what Swade has said over at InsideSaab.

GerritN
Member
4 years 10 months ago

The Phoenix is just a concept platform at the moment, i.e. all the ideas and designs are there but NOT the tooling for mass production. That tooling (and the change in infrastructure) is going to cost a huge amount of money (hundreds of M$). Without the ‘old’ models acting as a financial buffer, this plan comes down to building a new production line (and supply chain) from scratch. Somehow I don’t have the feeling that Pang-Da/Youngman or the the Chinese government will agree to such a deal, except when this production line is set up in China.

hogge
Member
4 years 10 months ago

If I’m not mistaken, Saab can sell the current 9-3 and last gen 9-5 even if GM say no. I mean, BAW are making them in China, Saab could potentially import them and call them 9-5 (or perhaps 9-4 is more suitable) and 9-3.
Am I right or wrong?

Snowshoe
Member
4 years 10 months ago
Money talks! And letting Saab continue to produce cars with the GM platforms should be real money even for GM. Let’s make up an example. The license for each car is at no cost for GM so that goes straight into their pockets. GM will also continue to sell components to Saab at a profit. So how much money can GM get for this? Just for the sake of the example. Say that the license is 1500 euro and the component profit is another 500 euro. In total 2000 euro per Saab. If Saab produces 50 000 cars one year… Read more »
davidgmills
Member
4 years 10 months ago
I have my doubts about this. GM seller financed the sale to Spyker. If GM has to repossess Saab in bankruptcy, normally a repossession by a selling company of a purchasing company allows the selling company to acquire all of the purchasing company’s assets, including the rights to repossess new products, as well as repossess the products that were originally sold. The right to repossess normally attaches to both new and old products, both new and old inventory, and both new and old equipment. So I think GM may well have the rights to the new Phoenix platform. Think of… Read more »
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