Why are Youngman so keen on Saab?

Last week autonewschina.com featured an interesting piece written by their managing editor, Yang Jian. It gives a few insights how Saab is seen from a Chinese view. It also indicates that Youngman’s interest in Saab in not that fresh, they already looked at the brand for quite a while.

Why are the Chinese so keen to acquire Saab?
Yang Jian | 2011/12/16

SHANGHAI — Once again, liquidation looms for Saab Automobile AB as a Swedish court decides whether to end the company’s credit protection.

And once again a Chinese suitor — this time Zhejiang Youngman Lotus Automobile Co. — is trying to save the brand.

This week, Youngman wired $5 million (32 million yuan) to pay Saab’s immediate tax expenses. Earlier this year, Pang Da Automobile Trade Co. paid 401 million yuan to buy a fleet of Saab vehicles.

But why are these companies so keen to acquire the deeply troubled Swedish brand? The answer is that Pang Da and Youngman understand the value of a global brand.

Supported by cheap labor, Chinese companies can make products at very low cost, but they are still weak at brand-building.

Weak brands are especially problematic for domestic Chinese automakers because nearly all the global automakers have entered China.

As president of China’s largest auto dealer group, Pang Da President Pang Qinghua knows the importance of a strong brand.

Pang Da sells imported Subarus in China. Pang Qinghua knows that even a second-tier global brand such as Subaru commands more respect among Chinese consumers than a domestic brand.

That’s why Saab attracts him, and that’s why he wants to buy it. “As a brand that has been around from 1947, Saab has a rich cultural heritage and many unique attributes,” he told reporters during an industry forum in October.

Youngman — originally a bus manufacturer — likewise is dying to acquire a strong brand.

In 2006, the same year that Youngman began producing cars — company President Pang Qingnian cast his eye on Saab. In 2009, he contacted Saab to express his wish to invest, only to be turned down.

“Saab is a global brand and China is a large market,” Pang Qingnian told journalists after signing the acquisition deal with Saab last month. “It is pretty sure that we’ll use it to explore the Chinese market.”

China’s government also has learned to appreciate a strong brand.

In 2010, Beijing overruled Sichuan Tengzhong Heavy Industrial Machinery’s bid for General Motors’ Hummer brand. But a year later, the government happily blessed the Saab deal.

Behind its attitude change is the government’s recognition that the Chinese automakers must build their brands.

Because of their poor images, domestic brands are losing market share in China to global rivals such as Volkswagen and GM. Moreover, they are years away from competing successfully in Europe and the United States.

Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Co.’s acquisition of Volvo has shown that a Chinese automaker can manage a foreign brand. Now the government believes that other domestic automakers might profit from Geely’s example.

But Chinese automakers must move quickly. As global automakers recover from the recession, they have become increasingly protective of their technology.

Opportunities to scoop up a distressed global brand are quickly vanishing. This explains why Pang Da and Youngman are making a last-ditch effort to rescue Saab.

Yang Jian is managing editor of Automotive News China.

42 thoughts on “Why are Youngman so keen on Saab?

  1. I may catch flack for this, but…

    I don’t actually agree with the primary argument the author is trying to convince us of– that the main reason Youngman wants Saab is for the brand. Yes, I absolutely agree, the image is strong and Pang Quingnian is on record saying how much he admires the company. However, it’s more a bonus than the primary motivation that they want the company. Youngman’s senior executives have been quoted as far back as June explaining that they’re in this deal for the technology, and what that entails. I’ll have a much, much longer article about this in the next couple days, but here’s what it comes down to:

    1. The Chinese government is making moves consolidating the auto industry, and all the local players are beginning to scramble for pole position so that they are one of the chosen automakers who the government greenlights.
    2. Youngman is currently not a top contender, and other state owned companies are crowding out the lower and mid tier players with new daughter brands (like GM/SAIC’s Baojun or BMW/Brilliance’s new EV only brand). In order to make it to the next round, they need a solid business plan, sales, and technology to compete with the rapidly advancing domestic players who already have JVs.
    3. The only way to get there is to partner with an established player who has the technological development capabilities to rapidly accelerate their line. Youngman needs Saab to get ahead just as bad as Saab needs their cash.

    Also, the author got a bunch of stuff carelessly wrong in the article- while the Hummer sale was indeed shot down in ’09, Saab wasn’t blessed a year later, I believe the company he was looking for was Volvo. Furthermore, the reasoning behind the sudden attitude shift wasn’t a realization that global brands are crucial for China, it was about the financiers, the background of each company being sold, and a host of other reasons. He’s way oversimplifying here. Beyond that, Pang Da, while once extremely motivated to buy, is now more or less out of the current negotiations for their own financial reasons, he neglects to mention that. I respect Automotive News China, I just think they need to dial back the rhetoric on the branding here a little bit.

    Saab is a fantastic brand. But it’s not the reason why the Chinese want access to the company so badly.

    • I agree very much on your points.
      I would go so far as to saying that Youngman is dependent on a successfull deal with Saab to survive itself in the current developments in China, and also that Youngman might even in the longer run become a subdivision in one of the state controlled car manufacturers, even though they own Saab.
      But then again I might be wrong 🙂

    • Jeff,
      this is just what I thought.

      ANC has also forgotten to say that the Chinese government has recently increased the taxes on foreign cars only to protect the local brands.

      So, it is less a brand interest than a technology interest.

    • I think Saab is attractive for some other reasons. China has huge prospective oil import bill and pollution problems. Electric cars or hybrids represent a solution to that, as well as technologies to reduce fuel consumption from gasoline engines. Saab has an actual and prospective technology capacity in that field – turbocharching of small compact engines, electric propulsion technology, eXWD, and with the right investments into R&D, might be among the or at the top in the automotive world some years down the road.

      Furthermore, think about China in a longer term perspective. China has roughly 3 tr USD of foreign exchange reserves. Traditionally, they have been invested into fixed income assets such as US government bonds, agencies, ABS and MBS as well as into European government bonds. Those traditional style of investments are highly unattractive for reinvestment and new investment purposes. Their yield to maturity is ridiculously low, where it seems safe, and is potentially a total loss, where yields seem attractive, such as European peripheral and other government bonds. China has decided to diversify their asset base and to invest differently from the past, into companies with technology, mining and raw material and so on. They are currently setting up a fund with 300bn USD of initial size for such purposes. This fund is not ready yet, and Saab is in between the timeline. Therefore probably another solution with a bank or other form of financial intermediary will be targeted.

      A few years down the road, Chinese made Volvos and other brands like potentially Saab’s will be competitive to Lexus and the Germans at least in Asia for export purposes as well.

    • But, the problem is YM can neither get the brand nor the technology, say, in 3-5 years.

      Any help Saab can offer during this period?

      Just an image, it may have bigger effect to some of the Chinese though.

        • May be.

          If Saab cannot survive without GM IP at the moment, how can YM achieve it?

          Don’t be that sensitive, I was just saying Pang Qingnian may have the emotional tie to Saab as well, beyond all those business rationales.

          • Could very well be, But I doubt that emotional ties has much say in modern business.
            There is a lot of JV going on around Saab, focused on tech that is not connected to GM.
            eXWD is an example. The EV tech is as far as I know also GM free,

            Apart from that I think the Chinese are very patient people. That’s one of the reasons their culture has existed for about 4000 Years

    • Which is why I can’t see GM going along with this. They have been too quiet on this, probably hoping to run out the clock, and not look like the ultimate bad guy.

      If Saab makes it beyond Monday, and at some point the structure of whatever financing deal with ym gets formally announced, I think GM ‘s hand gets forced – resulting in that they will pick up their ball and go home.

      Rock and hard spot.

      • scand,
        if GM picks up their ball and goes home, they will do it because they feel like doing it and not because they are forced.

        If the new plan is something similar to the rumours, Saab ownership structure won’t change, and thus GM will have no reason for not liking the contract.

        • BINGO. This wasn’t very much different that the previous attempt, and still would mean an unacceptable tech transfer. The Chinese (and VM) need to get serious and stop trying to do an end-run around IP rules.

          Just posted at noon, EST on the WSJ:

          STOCKHOLM (Dow Jones)–General Motors Co. (GM) will not approve any of cash-strapped Swedish car maker Saab Automobile’s new proposed ownership structures, a spokesman said late Saturday, dashing hopes the company would have an agreeable deal on the table before a Monday hearing on the car maker’s ongoing creditor protection.

          “Saab’s various new alternative proposals are not meaningfully different from what was originally proposed to General Motors and rejected,” GM spokesman James R. Cain said in an emailed statement.

          “Each proposal results either directly or indirectly in the transfer of control and/or ownership of the company in a manner that would be detrimental to GM and its shareholders. As such, GM cannot support any of these proposed alternatives.”

          • mike, if I read the article on the same e-mail at gp.se, the whole looks rather different.

            It is GM’s spokesman James Cain who, entirely on its own initiative, wrote in an e-mail that went out to a number of receivers, including GP.
            Cain refers to the district court hearing which shall be in Vänerborg on Monday and also refers to the various proposals for ownership structure, which circulated recently and that would provide an opportunity for China Youngman to become a financier / owner in the background.

            Mr. Cain has decided to send e-mail to different people telling them that GM would never agree with any of the rumours he has read on the press, although he knows that GM can’t decide on JV of Saab, but only on the ownership.

            This is at least, my reading of the whole thing.

            To be honest, GM should go on this way, and after closing Saab they should continue with GM-Europe, let’s see what happens with al might GM in 5 years time.

            Why on earth is GM so protective when talking about the technology of current cars? We are not talking about future technology!!!

            • If by “it’s own initiative” , they mean James Cain, then I would find that surprising. Spokesmen for large corporations never do things solely on their own decision.

    • The brand is the reason. The technology will be “old technology” soon enough. The brand has been around for 60 years. They want the brand, IMO. That, and the dealership network that is already in place, which would be expensive to replicate and very difficult for a Chinese manufacturer to establish in North America. If they could manage to secure the Saab brand and sell smaller, less expensive cars in the U.S., within a few years, they’ll be very profitable, even without GM clones.

      • Angelo,
        any technology will be “old tech” sooner or later. But YM knows about the tech to come and not the current GM tech. 😉

        • Agreed. And regarding your comment about GM not being forced—-you are right. It’s amazing to me, because in 2009, they were on their knees, crawling around blindly, a disgraced organization. Here we are a couple years later, and they’re acting like arrogant roosters. Goes to show you what happens when failures are propped up.

          • How is protecting your company’s intellectual property “acting like arrogant roosters?”

            Last I checked, GM is profitable, is on track to repay the government early, and is planning to institute profit sharing with union employees.

            • Actually GM has not effectively paid back all the money that was TAKEN from US taxpayers. GM is still into the US Treasury (aka US taxpayers) to the tune of at least 25 BILLION dollars, as has been well documented, possibly a lot more, depending on the amount of previous losses GM is permitted to write off on its tax liabilites vs. the normal amount of losses it would have been able to write off, had it gone through a conventional bankruptcy procedure.


              Despite all of the hemming and hawing by GM apologists, at the present time the US has lost billions and billions of dollars on GM, and it is far from guaranteed that US taxpayers will ever see ANY of that money.

              It is a rich irony that this deadbeat known as GM can’t allow Saab to go its own way (despite previously selling off Saab/GM tech to the Chinese-BAIC), but stand-on-its-own Ford allowed Volvo (using the Ford EUCD platform) to go its own way with a minimum of fuss.

              • My statement was “GM is on track to repay the government early.” No one has said that they “have effectively paid back all the money.” That was your leap. 😉

                And if you read further down the story, you’ll find this:
                Adam Jonas, auto analyst with Morgan Stanley, has set a $45 target price for the stock and says under the best-case scenario it could go as high as $68. He said the company’s strong competitive position in the U.S. and China and its improving balance sheet leaves it well positioned for further gains in the next year.
                “The first year hasn’t been easy — far from it,” he wrote in a note to clients this week in which he gave an “overweight” or buy recommendation on the stock. “But we believe GM has the financial strength and sense of urgency to aggressively confront its challenges in 2012.”
                Even a GM bull like Jonas isn’t blind to risks for shareholders. He said a recession in Europe and a corresponding drop in car sales in the United States and China could send shares plunging by more than 50% to $10 a share. But even then, he expects that GM would remain profitable.

                And yes, GM, like most automakers, ie still reeling from the economic turmoil in Europe — but GM has repaid half of the bailout, and is still on much stronger footing after dumping money-losing units like Saab, Hummer, Pontiac and Saturn.

                re: Irony…GM sold BAIC chassis and drivetrain tech that dates back almost 15 years. None of the tech sold applies to current or competing models, as with the new 9-5 and 9-4x. GM would be silly to sell the underpinnings of a Buick competitor for pennies on the dollar.

                And Ford had much less to lose in China than GM does. GM’s market share in China dwarfs Ford’s, and Ford has moved its models to a different platform. The EUCD is old tech. 😉 And the myth of Ford standing on its own with no government involvement is a marketing myth.


                • It is quite a stretch to say GM is on track to “pay back the government early” when it is based on a few analysts “projection” of a future stock price.

                  Historically, it has been a long long time since any GM “bulls” were right about anything related to GM stock. If you listened to GM “bulls” in the middle of the last decade, you would have lost your shirt. Their track record is not good, to say the least.

                  Although, even then, you would have made out better than the poor folks who held GM bonds, and who got pennies on the dollar.

                  I suspect the actual title of the CNN Money piece “Should the U.S. cut its losses on GM stock?” is a more accurate reflection of reality.

                  Maybe GM stockholders should pray for another tsunami in Japan to try to boost GM profits.

                  As far as the BAIC tech-not all of that tech was 15 years old, and it did in fact, apply to a current model, namely the current Saab 9-3 The tooling that was sold included the rights to the current 9-3, built on the Epsilon I platform, which is only 9 years old and, more importantly, is still sold by Saab, and has made up the bulk of Saab’s sales, both before and after they were dumped by GM.

                • One other thing-the Ford EUCD is not old tech. Along with the current Volvo S60, it is also still used by the current Mondeo, and also by Land Rover’s brand new Evoque, among others

                • Dreadnought: I was one of the idiots who listened to the GM bulls a few years back—-and lost a lot of money when their share price dwindled to nada before they started begging for money (and unfortunately, got it, again, at my expense since I pay taxes). I’m not sure how experienced Mike is at investing—-but with a little research (very interesting that he quoted someone at Morgan Stanley), he’ll find that quite often, stock prices are bid up by those well informed “analysts” whose firms end up making millions steering investors to garbage stocks. Dreadnought’s “rich irony” paragraph effectively summarized what I was trying to say with my “arrogant rooster” analogy—much better than I did.

                • Dreadnought, Angelo: Via an IPO and subsequent sales of some of its stake, the US has recouped half of its investment in GM…and that’s despite the ongoing European debt crisis that sent nearly ALL major markets reeling over the past year. GM sales have generally outperformed estimates, even with the Euro mess brewing.

                  The fact that Saab is still producing the 9-3 on the Epsilon I is far from a validation of the BAIC deal; if anything, it just proves my point. It’s only slightly less antiquated than the old 9-5 platform, and is completely outclassed by lower-priced competitors. It’s old tech. It was developed in the late 90s and in use since 2002. The fact that Saab is still using it is just sad.

                  Again, the EUCD platform is being phased out by Ford for its own models, regardless of what Volvo is doing with it. It’s a non-factor in the US for Ford since it doesn’t underpin any of the major North American models and is being dropped globally in favor of Ford’s own global platform. Comparing Ford’s EUCD situation with the current GM/Saab tech deal is like comparing bananas to penguins.

                  Angelo: I have enough investing experience to stay away from most IPOs that don’t involve companies of friends and to steer clear of auto company stocks in a volatile market. So far, that’s worked out just fine.

                • Mike: The current Mondeo on the EUCD platform is only a year older than the Opel/Vauxhall Insignia on Epsilon II. (2007 vs. 2008). The brand new Land Rover Evoque is also built on EUCD. It is a hot and much praised vehicle. In fact they are actually selling ABOVE MSRP in my neck of the woods, so it’s just not accurate to characterize the EUCD platform as some antiquated, nearly-worthless tech..

                  I don’t disagree that the 9-3 is old tech at this point-my argument is that GM cut Saab off at the knees in 2009 by selling the 9-3 tooling to BAIC, since it still forms the bulk of Saab sales (and it will continue to be the bulk of Saab sales for some time to come, if Saab somehow survives), making a sale to any other Chinese firm difficult, since you are pretty much making BAICs investment worthless (who in China is going to buy BAICs knockoff, when they can buy the Saab version sold in partnership with Youngman?)

                  And I think you are wise to steer clear of auto company stocks in a volatile market. Unfortunately, since 2009 the US government has not had that option.

                  Angelo: Thanks.

    • Jeff, your point about the tech being the sweetest part of the deal is completely on-target. The Chinese have likely realized that the hodge-podge of small and medium car companies don’t have the resources to invest in R&D or trivial things like safety. The Chinese auto marketplace is where the US was during the early 20th century when there were a couple dozen automakers exploring different designs and technologies (including electric!) and they eventually consolidated into five big ones, and later shrunk to three.

      The Chinese can’t wait 30 years for domestic companies to produce decent cars (think Hyundai); they need to move quickly to prevent foreign manufacturers from overwhelming the massive domestic market. With 20+ domestic Chinese manufacturers scrambling to make just one decent car, the door is left ajar for foreign companies. That’s why GM’s second-hand tech is so attractive to YM…

  2. They know that many people are waiting for the opportunity to buy new cars of the brand. I have purchased two saabs 9-3, but I would like to buy the new griffin blue TTiD with automatic transmission now with optimising the performance of the Hirsch. Which other brands have such fans who do not buy another needed their cars because they are waiting. Dream also of 9-4 x. This movie with him on the snow …Happy holidays! I hope that the Court understands that the program will repair much more creditors than the liquidation of the assets of and for US chances to ride something exceptional. Best regards

  3. They know a properly run SAAB could become very profitable. All they need is a sufficient/huge investment to put in a wide model range and VERY smart people to run the company.
    They got to go all in right away in order to lift this plain off the ground.
    Approvals from all parties ASAP and hundreds of millions into the company immediately so they can start building cars not just push paper. BTW the US dealers need the 9-4X or they’ll be gone. Diesels will keep Saab afloat in Europe. Pay GM and all the other suppliers in advance next year to rebuild trust.
    It’s much easier to make ownership changes down the line when THN is making a small profit of the cars that are in production.

  4. Youngman promise funding
    Google trans from Ttela.se

    “The negotiations in Stockholm between, among others, Rachel Pang and Muller should have continued yesterday, with a view to the ownership settlement previously agreed which will also be presented at Vänersborg on Monday.

    Youngman is reportedly declared themselves able to arrange financing until then”

    • My opinion is that YM will put the money in an Swedish account, so they can show the court that they are willing to pay, but the money won’t arrive at a Saab account till the court decides if the current reconstruction process should be continued or not.

      Why, just because YM can’t put all the money needed for paying all the debts yet, as they may be waiting for the NDRC to say YES to the new deal.

      So, yes they wan’t to protect their investment they’ve done till now, but no, they don’t want to invest more money without no guarantees.

        • Then is certainly sounds like a chicken or egg proposition. It’s difficult to blame Youngman for not throwing money down a hole that might be a rat hole. I hope a deal can be arranged to give them confidence—-if not outright assurance—-that they aren’t throwing money away.

        • michael,
          are you one of the judges of the court?
          Ok, I accept that YOU think that it is very unprovable that the judges would agree to that, but judges are still people and not a pile of software that takes decisions on, and only on, the input they receive.

          • No I am not. But: After 7 months of intense negotiations with several propositions, binding MoU’s and contracts, always invalid for various reasons shortly afterwards, 3 months of reconstruction, a mountain of debt and big amounts needed to restart, several stakeholders opposing for various reasons at some point in time, and salaries not paid for November and for December: What do you think a normal judge will think? The longer this farce lasts, the less the chance to find a solution for creditors. Above all if the administrator gives these views as well. It is the creditors interests, not the shareholders or the employees, that are key for consideration.

  5. People in mainland China don’t want to buy a mainland Chinese brand. They are ok about buying a Taiwanese Chinese or Singaporean Chinese product, though. They just don’t trust their own designs and cutting corners.

    People in China have great brand loyalty. That is why Buick is such a hit. In the 1920’s, Buick was among the best cars in the world, much like today’s BMW. In the 1920’s, if you were a Chinese bigwig, you drove a Buick. Then in the 1950’s to 1980’s, Buicks could not be imported into China, which is a good thing because Buicks were junk in those days. Now, Buicks are better.

    This is why Youngman wants Saab. There are only a few reputable European car brands. The obscure ones, like Maybach, have no reputation or history that people can remember.

    • Derek: 1950s and 1960s Buicks were not junk—-where are you getting that information/impression? I’d say they became junk in the early 1970s—-around the same time the EPA came into being—-and the two events are connected. And I’m not even making a judgment about the EPA—-just that Buick’s cars (along with nearly all American cars) couldn’t keep up with the regulations—-engine performance became choked and dismal, body rust was pronounced—-later, trying to keep up with fuel economy standards and marketplace demand for fuel efficiency made their cars even worse. But in the 50s and 60s, they made some very good cars—-many of which are still being run around Cuba today and on the roads in other places, including the U.S.

  6. ………………………….
    I start to realize what type of self confidence GM have. Basically none and the do not understand the market or the customers at all (or just hope that thier customers do not know anything at all about us up here in the north).
    No. I am not working at Saab (I left 8 years ago) but we still have one Saab in the family. I do not think at all that this is typically american but I start to think is it typically GM, I know quite a few from US and I do have daily contacts with quite a lot in my current position and it is all around understanding the needs of the market and also realize what you want to do as a european company, sell an american products (which I do not think we should do) or sell an european product adapted (still with the core of your company) apapted with the tweeks you need to get it accepted on the US market.

    I do not have any work connections or privtate relations left with Saab, except that we own one in the family which might have lower resale value when we sell it (but I really do not care about it and do not have to). Still I do want to buy a Saab in the future Saab 9-5 SC or 9-4X or even more the new 9-3.

    Lets hope that the current set up proposed form a legal point of view just leaves GM in a position that they really can not have anything to say ( or possibly show thier real customer view). If it is all a matter of fact how SAAB is financed without direct ownership, it is all down to if they will continue to deliver the current products or not and if they do not it is just something that will go to history as I do not what………………

    Regardless if GM says yes or no, or if they have a final say in this, I will never buy a GM car in the futur even if I end up in the situation if that is the only car I ever could afford ( new or used). If I end up in the situation that I can not afford new cars or used cars I would rather take public transport or walk than put my seld in a GM car based on what I see from the press right now ( it might be wrong). What are they afraid of a car manufacturer that have produced max 130- 140 thousend cars per year and now want to join up with a small chinese company to build a new future. ( We have been force to face the fact that the capital moves in the town where I live since I was born in the early 70ties and we have adapted, the shipyards were closes, car industry have gone up and down and Ericsson the telecom company have fired hugh amount of people and much more but we have always realized that the only thing to meet this is to be competive and produce what the customer really wants to have and then you will still be around).

    To be honnest, I like Saab (you can all see that), but I do not see any benifits for GM behaving like we currenty see, I could afford to buy most of the cars I would like (exept for Ferraris, and above) and even would consider some GM cars possibly for practical reasons since we are a big family but that will never ever happen. A Chevy Volt or A Opel Ampera could possibly also be of interset but now you all now…………….. I would rather walk.

    GM let Saab free, Let us Swedes be around, and let the market decide.

    My final question just is………. Why could Ford let Volvo go, A bigger producer, A stonger Brand (yes we have one in the family as well, eventhough it is not our favorit) and possibly a much bigger threat………………..

    • Maybe because Ford is not a loser-deadbeat company like GM?

      Maybe because Ford realized that cutting off their former Volvo customers at the knees was not a good business practice, while the usual short-sighted jackasses at GM can’t see that doing the such a thing to their former Saab customers is a bad practice?

      • My feeling is that the customer decides in the end (old an new) and I feel hthat the bad will of letting Saab die for the reason of protecting year shareholders shorttem as GM states (which I do not believe) is the case. The only value you could bring to your share holders is delivering what your customers want to have and I do not see what value it would bring to GM to bring SAAB down (It will take year and year for SAAB even with possible money from Youngman and even a big investor.(heavy investments in cash to become a treat to GM ) and even if that was the case , there will be much other players around the only way to meet that is to deliver what the customer wants. The right products. Can GM do that I doubt with the current mind set. If you believe in what you are doing, it would not be a problem to let Saab be around, Good will will be on the positive side, approx 2 million, Saab (old and new owner around the world will spread the the word) , selling components to current range of Saab vehicles will no give a competivite edge to the chinese (eventhough we need to realize that they will get more and mor of the global market but that is how the history is and the capital will alsway move aroudn the globe)

        My only feeling to this is that either GM realized that the competence within Saab where the only once that they actually needed but could not keep for some sort of blurry reasons or that they just do not know what they are doing. They wanted to wind it down and now it seems to be the biggest threat to their business plan globally…….. If SAAB/youngman sells 200000-300000 cars in 2 years gloabally the have made a turn around like nothing else and what is the treat of that to GM (that will be based on possibly old GM platforms and new SAAB/youngman platforms)

        • Well, you guys hit the nail on the head. GM, over the last 30-40 years, has been dismal and so poorly managed, it’s almost beyond belief. They went from being the world’s largest and most profitable corporation (no, not car corporation—-but largest company, period) to begging taxpayers for money (and unfortunately, in the opinion of many, got that prop-up). At issue here is that if tiny Saab is purchased by a Chinese company, and succeeds—-it exposes GM (AGAIN) for the incompetent group they are. This is about ego. Kill the brand or let it die—-so GM’s damaged image doesn’t become even more damaged.

    • Why could Ford let Volvo go?

      Because Volvo and Ford weren’t producing cars that directly competed in the same segments in the same markets, despite the Lincoln/Mercury attempts. Volvo was always positioned as a premium Euro brand, while most Ford models are wisely positioned and priced a notch lower.

      And as a bigger producer and a stronger brand, Volvo was more valuable to Ford as a marketable asset than Saab is to GM. Best analogy: A star player is worth more in a trade than a third-string benchwarmer.

      Someone at GM has done the math and decided that Saab is worth more as a defunct company than as a competitor who would use its own cheaply-bought technology against it. (C’mon…even the new Phoenix architecture is just modified Epsilon, despite the claims…)

      And the idea that a Saab fanboy backlash will hurt GM is beyond laughable and is almost pitiful. There aren’t enough Saab owners to raise the temperature in a small room, let alone influence the decision making at the world’s biggest car company.

      I love my Saabs, always have, and I’ll keep driving them until the wheels fall off. I’ll do the same with my GMC Suburban, still ticking with 240,000 miles….

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