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BBC: China looks towards domestic brands

January 1, 2012 in News

A very interesting article from the BBC:

China has said it will withdraw support for foreign investment in the country’s car industry to encourage domestic carmakers, according to state media.

The Xinhua news agency cited a joint announcement from the Ministry of Commerce and the National Reform and Development Commission.

The report did not provide details of what support was being withdrawn.

Some of the world’s largest carmakers, including America’s General Motors and Germany’s Volkswagen, operate in China.

The country is the world’s largest car market.

According to Xinhua, Beijing will “withdraw support for foreign capital in auto manufacturing… because of the need of the healthy development of domestic auto making”.

A number of the world’s leading carmakers, particularly luxury brands, are focusing on boosting sales in China to compensate for weak demand caused by slow economic growth and the eurozone debt crisis.

Earlier this month, China said it would levy duties on some cars made in the US.

China’s commerce ministry said in a statement that vehicles were being dumped on the Chinese market, causing damage to the domestic industry.

96 responses to BBC: China looks towards domestic brands

  1. And how is SAIC to be considered? Is it foreign or is it domestic? How will they be treated in the future?

  2. This makes one wonder if the Saab-Youngman proposals ever had chance, or if perhaps the Chinese authorities were offended by GM’s blanket “No” to any Chinese investment. Then again, Saab is such a small player that it must been have just a blip on their radar screen. In any case, it may mean that Youngman will be out of the running for a future Saab ownership structure–hence the recent speculation about India and Turkey. It’s such a shame things didn’t work out with Youngman as they seemed really keen, albeit with several broken promises along the way.

    • My completely uninformed guess is that this has nothing to do with Saab. Many have been predicting a move like this for some time (Peter DeLorenzo completely called this 100% several months ago). I wonder if this is why GM sold some of its stake a while back in their venture to their Chinese partners to a level below controlling ownership (maybe thus they wouldn’t be affected by this?).

    • If Youngman would have bought 100% of Saab then Saab would have been a “domestic” Chinese car-company. Right?

    • Just the opposite, this latest development is to stop foreign companies dump their crap last gen technology into China via either imports ot JVs, So in essense this ENCOURAGES domestic makers such as YM to PRUCHASE foreign technology directly and make it their own.

  3. Hate to say I told you so. But it was pretty obvious to those of us in the US that something like this was going to happen between the US and China. But obviously China is not just going to stop with the US. It wants to rip-off everyone’s technology, it wants to monopolize production and it wants no foreign imported products.

    • What are you talking about? First of, those of you in the us should stop talking non sense and bashing on China. If China decides to develop thier own car industry and therefore cut the hands of gm likes from thier local markets, they have all the rights to do so just like any other country in the world. FYI, the fact that companies like SAAB unfortunetly are disappearing from the car industry is the direct result of the MONOPOLY that gm is playing in the world! I trully hope Chinese goverment take this more seriously and scrap the gm/SAIC contract soon!

      • What a bizarre post. No one is bashing China, just commenting on the obvious.

        > If China decides to develop thier own car industry and therefore cut the hands of gm likes from thier local
        > markets, they have all the rights to do so just like any other country in the world

        Except Sweden, who apparently could care less about their own car industry…

        > FYI, the fact that companies like SAAB unfortunetly are disappearing from the car industry is the direct
        > ]result of the MONOPOLY that gm is playing in the world!

        Not really, it’s really the result of the general globalization of the industry, changing the costs involved for smaller makers to compete. GM hardly has a monopoly on anything, including its own home market, where its market share is at near historic lows…

        • Thank you.

        • Lieari, I doubt very much if you actually undrestand what MONOPOLY (it terms of economy) means!
          I had a good laugh at your comment that “gm hardly has monopoly on any thing” – thanks!

  4. If China were smart, they would encourage domestic auto companies but also to get the Saab name. A good name is worth a lot. I am still a bit cautious about Alfa Romeo because they were unreliable in the 1960’s (50 years ago!). I don’t like Hyundais even though they are not completely rubbish. It will take Geely and Chery 50 years to build up their name, if not longer. The Saab name has the potential of Audi and Jaguar.

    • I am hoping that Mahindra understands this as well. Mahindra would be a much better match for Saab than Youngman. Tata makes high end cars in India and Mahindra is more like an Indian VW and does not have a high end brand. Saab would give Mahindra a high end brand to compete with Jaguar and Tat’s high end domestic cars.

      Also GM really does not have much presence in India. In India, Ford is way ahead of GM, whereas in China it is just the opposite. So it seems that GM would not have near the conflicts with a Mahindra deal as it would with a Youngman deal. Plus GM has already tried twice to do deals with Mahindra (neither worked out- but probably no hard feelings from them) so GM should have no bias against Mahindra. Plus Mahindra is trying to get a foothold in the US and hasn’t had success. So a Saab/Mahidra union would help get Mahindra established in the US and give GM a better foothold in India.

      Plus India is much more respectful of IP than China. And Mahindra aviation already has done deals with Saab aviation.

      Maybe this Chinese announcement will spur GM, Mahindra, and Saab to work something out. GM being squeezed out of China will have GM really looking elsewhere and the next logical car target for GM is India.

      • David. Nice post. I’ll add—-U.S. Saab dealers would really get a boost from this. For decades now, they’ve had severe limitations on the model line—-save for the few years when they were selling a Subaru WRX badged as a Saab. If Mahindra could get control—-they might be able to continue selling premium Saab sedans and also launch their economy priced small pick-up truck in the U.S. (even offered with a diesel—-cornering the market on that). In time, they can work with Saab to develop and entry level car as well, either a Mahindra or a Saab—-suddenly a decent portfolio of product at all price ranges.

  5. Maybe I’m misinterpreting this news, but, at first sight anyway, it looks like bad news for GM (fewer imports and hence sales)and potentially better news for Saab (increased likelihood of Youngman wanting to buy expertise which could help them develop China’s capability). Is this too simplistic a view?

    • Probably just the opposite. It is more likely that GM would have a reprisal against China and Chinese companies. Who wants to do business with a country that is going to pull the rug out from under you?

      • Over the next 50 years China’s and India’s will be what the US’s market has been over the next 50 years. China and India do not need GM as much as GM needs them. GM does not have the leverage here. The demographics and the financials do not support such an arrogant stance.

        Twenty years from now GM will be a much smaller player on a global scale than what China and India will have to offer. To me, this action indicates that China knows this and it is not afraid of GM.

        In case nobody has noticed we have had a global currency war over the past 10 years. The next phase is a trade war (this is part of that). After the trade war there will be a “War-War”. This action shows where we are in the process.

      • GM has no power against China. Their only power is Saab.

  6. Even if Chinese investors won’t buy Saab, we can keep calm and carry on!

    Never EVER give up! 😀 The last thing to die is the hope!

  7. I assume China’s longer term plan is to evolve into less exports and more domestic consumption… Their polices could come crashing against the WTO though. If there is concerted action against China, they will have to back down. Even most of Asia is more comfortable with the US leading the world.

  8. I agree GM showed a great degree of arrogance toward China – if a legitimate China car company wanted to purchase the company is should have let them. Well GM with all of its legacy (Out of business) brands (Oldsmobile, Hummer, Saturn, and Pontiac) and the Govt bailout to stay in biz. this last move against China will likely backfire again. The only Buick that sells in S Florida is the Enclave (a lumbering SUV) . Back to China if you check out Shanghia Motors they sells newly designed cars under the “MG” brand not offered in other countries..this is what GM was worried about..

    • That’s why I said GM is so stupid, like morons.

      Against China, in car industry? Only morons would plan to do that.

      • MG6 is right now selling in Britain.

      • CSD_: I disagree. GM isn’t LIKE morons. They ARE morons! Let’s tell it like it is: GM = Government Morons. Gone Mad. Government Moochers. General Mess. Garbage Mobiles.

        • General Morons :)

          I never hated GM so much but I do find them morons I can’t hardly imagine a smart business man would piss of his major customer, GM’s sales in China is even larger than in America, how stupid would GM be to piss off Chinese NDRC, NDRC is very powerful controlling the power to decide if a car company in China is allowed to do this or that, like expanding a new factory etc.

          GM is screwed big time if they don’t knee down soon.

  9. China wouldnt have a car industry if it weren’t for foreign investment. You have to laugh at the sheer stupidity of the Chinese dictatorship.

    • They steal everyone’s IP and then want to throw the companies who brought the IP to China out. Go figure. From now on they may have to steal IP the old fashioned way — with a spy network.

      • You must be paid by gm to make statemenst like this here – gm spy network!
        Wasn’t it gm who stole SAAB technologies and then close all doors for SAAB to survive. Which technology /IP you think gm brought to China anyways, Buick roadmaster, Buick park avenue, or may Buick lacross – all those great banana boats that no one else wants in the world!

        • Why is it that everyone fails to see the fact that when GM BOUGHT SAAB they bought the rights to EVERYTHING…. Saab named the price, GM paid it. Im not saying GM was as giving back to Saab but they paid for all the stuff they used from Saabs R&D department.

          Why not ask the person who sold Saab to GM? Why not ask why Saab had to fall under GM and not stand alone? Again, the blame that GM did not care and nurture Saab is legit, but the point that GM stole what they paid for I don’t understand.

        • This gets old.

          What Saab technology are you talking about that GM stole from Saab? Turbocharging for example? Using Mistubishi (Japanese) and Garret (US) turbochargers?

          GM certainly didn’t use Saab’s hatch technology as they did away with the hatch.

          Saab does have really good safety for a small/medium car but most of its safety is not a technology achievement. It is simply being willing to pay the extra cost to make well known safety features included in cars. It is a design choice much more than it is a technological achievement.

          Front wheel drive? GM had it in the late sixties in a A Cadillac El Dorado.

          Name any Saab technology you want and I can probably prove to you in two minutes that GM had it long before it bought Saab.

          So I have never understood this argument that GM stole a bunch of Saab technology.

          • I’d need to hear more evidence too—-to be convinced that GM bled Saab for technology and dumped the corpse. But David, at the very least, let’s acknowledge that GM had absolutely no idea how to effectively market and sell Saabs in the United States. They had a brand with a decent following—-cars that were roomy and powerful, with turbocharged 4 cyclinder engines that delivered economy—-and couldn’t figure out how to promote these virtues to make enough sales to show a profit. That’s total incompetence. My 9-5 Wagon is an intermediate sized station wagon with 220 HP to move the car with enough speed to pass on the highway—-it’s safe—-has enough space for 3 passengers, bags and equipment for a beach vacation—-and easily delivers 30 MPG on the trip. Instead of advertisements that touted value and economy mixed with the known performance and safety—-we got “Born From Jets” some sort of nuanced, pseudo-sophisticated campaign that missed so horribly—-it’ll be remembered as the last chapter of Saab/GM before the implosion.

            • “Born From Jets” was not only a pretty useless catchline, it was also an outright lie. The first Saab car was introduced in 1947. In that year, Saab didn’t build any jets at all, only 2 types of prop-engined aircraft: Saab 18 and Saab 21. The first Saab jets weren’t built before 1950. They were the 21R and the Tunnan, the latter being the first Saab jet plane actually designed as such as the 21R was only a -not very succesful- jet-engine adaptation of the 21, which, in turn, was a pretty quirky -but not unsuccesful- push-prop aircraft. A typical Saab, one might say.

              So, ‘Born From Propellers’ would have been a more truthful statement. But that doesn’t really sound very commercial…


              • “The first prototype Saab 21R first flew on 10 March 1947″
                The first production Saab, the 92, went into production December 12, 1949 (as a 1950 model I believe). Pretty similar time frame compared to the jet, but I agree, not born from jets. First Saab logo was a prop plane, still my favorite.

                • Well, if you really want to split hairs 😉 then what is generally seen as the birth of Saab Automobile, the Ursaab (model 92001), was actually unveiled in 1947. The first marketable Saab car was production-ready in Dec. 1949 and put on sale halfway 1950.

                  That funny airplane, the 21R, first flew in 1947 but, like the car, first went into production in 1950.

                  Therefore not ‘Born From Jets’, I’d say, but maybe -barely- ‘Conceived Together With One Ugly Mother Of A Jet’. How about that for a catchline>



                • If the 21R first took flight in 1947, it isn’t impossible that one (or more) of the ursaab engineers participated on a project involving some kind of jet engine… (or had contact with the other dev team)

          • Maybe GM had an idea or two (turbo in the Corvair) but they FAILED miserably in making the technology last/work for more than 1,000 miles or three months (whatever came first)… Just look at the 9-4X vs. the Cadillac version. GM’s engine managment failed to recognize drivers putting regular gas in the tank, didn’t keep detonation in check and consequently blew up engines. Oooops… and it was during a reporter’s test trip. GM’s 8-6-4 engine is a prime example of bad ideas that they actually released to market. Cadillac Cimarron… badge engineered el-cheapo car made into “luxury” compact… Or when they made a six cylinder by lopping two cylinders off an eight, making it totally unbalanced. Yikes! And -THEY- are still in business…!!????
            Front wheel drive??? Cadillac Eldorado… late sixities??? Wasn’t the Olds Toronado before the Eldorado with that – but: Saab had it from the START back when they first put a car on the market! Let’s see – how long ago wa that?
            I think you need to study history a bit first.

            • Angelo and USabber: I agree with you that GM did a horrible job of making cars in the US. But I don’t think that was the fault of the GM engineers or means that GM didn’t have the technology.

              I think that was the fault of management who pinched pennies and were far more concerned about making a quarter of a cent than making a good product. Additionally, over and over we have seen planned obsolescence being the management philosophy in the Capitalistic West, but even more so in the US than Europe.

              A really good documentary on how planned obsolescence became part of the West’s management philosophy is “the Light Bulb Conspiracy.” (The conspiracy to make a light bulb only last 1,000 hours actually began in Europe and then moved to the US.) Its on Youtube and quite interesting. Planned obsolescence management philosophy came from this actual conspiracy of the light bulb.

              In contrast to the West, as this documentary shows, products made in the East were much more durable because wasting anything was considered to be a crime against the state. As this documentary shows, in the West, management often made the engineers take a lasting product and design it to be much less durable.

              I am not trying to start a fight about capitalism vs. socialism on this blog, but only mention this documentary because it clearly illustrates how management priorities make a huge difference in how technology is used or not used.

              So I don’t agree that GM didn’t have the engineering technology. Their engineers were just not allowed to use it.

          • In recent years, Saab engineers have been put to ‘good use’ on other GM brands. The 9-5 was supposed to launch first, featuring new Saab technology, but instead Opel Insignia was pushed out on the market first. Saab engineers did most of the work, Opel got the credit.

            BTW: Did GM ever (prior to Saab) make a car with proper stiff suspension? Both Peter Dörrich and Magnus Roland at the Octoberfest indicated that GM’s engineers do not have much experience with stiff chassis design.

            • The Corvette? Pretty stiff chassis. Had to be when it first came out because the body was fiberglass.

            • I respect the Saab R&D department, please don’t mistake that. My gripe is with the so called “theft” that people think GM is guilty of.

              USAaber… You mention the corvair…Which indeed holds the claim to be the worlds first production turbocharged car… but failed to mention the Buick T type / GN/ GNX which were OUTSTANDING Turbo cars from the 1980’s. You also mention “lopping off two cylinders” but fail to mention the fact that the Buick 3.8 liter engine lasted in production for over 30 years. Buick hit the market in 1978 with a turbo car. Caddy Cimarron…. really?? going to use that but not beasts like the GNX, GTO, Corvette?
              You’re just repeating the company line here of GM bashing… I think you need to dust of your history books… especially when it comes to GM and their accomplishments.

              Im not going to get into a pissing match, but you know what the argument is and it’s not over cars. People need to get over the fact GM bought Saab and have every right to use the technology as they saw fit. Again, GM were poor handlers of Saab, no arguing that. GM screwed Saab a few weeks ago, not arguing that either.

              • I had one of those turbos and the 3.8 was on of the best engines ever built by anybody. had great gas mileage to boot.

              • @ Jim: I think you forgot the first US-built turbocharged production car: the great old 1962 Oldsmobile Jetfire. 215 HP in 1962! Too bad it wasn’t all that roadworthy as it ran on a methanol/water mixture instead of on gasoline. But Olds still sold some 10.000 cars in like 2 years.

                As to those Buicks: I test-drove them at the time. The first carb versions weren’t all that great if one is a bit honest about it. But they became much better with the introduction of fuel injection sometime in the second half of the ‘eighties.


                • Erratum: the first turbocharged 3.8 Regals from the ‘seventies had fuel injection as well, of course, but nevertheless performed poorly, mostly due to their lame standard auto gearboxes and cycle-thin tyres that just couldn’t get the extra power onto the road surface. The later ’80-ies T-type Regal GN versions had special computer chips to steer the injection, high-performance Hydramatic trannies as well as underpinnings capable of handling the power and performed much, much better.


    • China already has a big auto industry, today.

      • So why are they deciding to kick foreign car companies out? The notion that foreign car companies are dumping their products in China is just silly.

  10. China’s commerce ministry said in a statement that vehicles were being dumped on the Chinese market, causing damage to the domestic industry.

    Quite ironic…since China has been doing the same in other countries in other industries. But this is how business is done these days in a global market, I guess.

  11. Just read a short piece in a UK Sunday newspaper that JLR workers here in the UK were drawn back into work during the Christmas/New Year period to help clear a backlog of orders! JLR really are in a very healthy place right now. I can not help feeling that the same could be done with SAAB relatively quickly with the same approach and investment that JLR have received.

    • The JLR analogy is a good one, and my guess is one day people will compare and contrast the JLR buyout and the Saab one.

      Jaguar and Saab both were considered troubled at purchase (Jaguar even more so than Saab in the US), but both had 2 strong models in the pipeline with a stronger one down the road (Jaguar the XK and XF with the XJ to come). Saab had the 9-5 and 9-4x, with the NG 9-3 to come. The huge difference in how things worked out was quite simply the investment put into product and marketing at JLR by Tata, and the lack of such put in by Spyker.

      That’s really the only difference.

  12. That would hit GM and the other brands using joint ventures to access th Chinese market. So the the BRIC strategy could result in a BRI strategy. We’ll see strengthen into Russia and Brasilia. India I’m not sure about (more budget).

    GM wil be forced to open IP stuff (deals with local Chinese companies) to have further access to the Chinese market. Then we will see how important IP is for GM.

  13. Correct me if I’m wrong, but as I read this it sais that it will withdraw support for non-Chinese car manufacturers to invest in China, building their own cars there without sgharing any IP with Chinese companies (=GM’s favourite game). Which would imply that they are perhaps even more interested in letting Chinese companies, like, say, Youngman, invest money in cooperation with car manufacturers, sharing IP, buying knowhow etc?

    I mean if, Say, Youngman buys Saab, thet would certainly not be Saab investing money in China, so this should mainly be positive for Saab right?

  14. I too have said before that China was no good for Saab. I know everyone hates GM right now, I too am not a fan as they won’t warranty my 2010 however it’s not too hard to understand why they did what they did in regards to China. Do a quick google search on China stealing/spying on the US. China cares about China and will do what it takes to improve their country. They would have bought and stripped Saab and none of us would have been happy. The only reason they were invoved was to obtain Phoenix, not to save jobs in Sweden and save our beloved brand. I for one am glad they are out of the picture.

    • And how about Volvo?

      I see more and more Volvo’s running everywhere.

      • Exactly.
        Look—-far be it from me to disagree that China doesn’t respect IP and China is looking out for China. But realistically, I don’t think they would have fleeced Saab and thrown out the brand. I think one of their attractions WAS the brand—-the reputation that’s already there. China’s view is long distance. In contrast, GMs is tomorrow, next week—-but they’re no longer capable of looking years ahead. GM reacts now—-they no longer set trends. Frankly, all things being equal though—-I think Mahindra would be perfect as the new owner of Saab—-better than Youngman perhaps.

        • Yes. YM is for the image of Saab.

          • It has become the new strategy of Chinese government and companies to spend their money, buy BRANDS, not only cars, but also other famous brands.

        • Angelo – I 100% agree with your contrast of long-term vs. short-term thinking. Those in charge of the West are in love with short-term, stop-gap, gun boat leadership. I state again: If GM was aware of the fact that demographics and financials are not on their side in the long-term they would not be so arrogant with regards to China.

          Does GM still think that this is the 1960s with a nearly debt free domestic market and an expanding middle class? Look out of your window and open your eyes GM.

          • Nate: America is a very young country and we expanded rapidly and got rich quickly—-we had it all in a very short amount of time. That manifests itself in our culture and our business culture. China is thousands of years old. They are an ancient civilization. I think their approach has been more deliberate and some would say more measured. But more than it being an “American” thing, I see this as a General Motors thing. Ford seems to have gotten it right. They are talking in cycles of years instead of “next month.” GM is an arrogant S.O.B. Yes—-they once had mammoth market share and what they thought was a limitless bounty of expansion—more, more, more. Their arrogance, combined with apathy, saw Honda and Toyota eat their lunch. More recently, Ford has demonstrated how you deal with a global recession without mooching from taxpayers. And even Chrylser/Fiat is outflanking GM when it comes to product development and an eye toward the future. GM won’t “look out the window” as you suggest to them. They don’t have the ability to look outside themselves. That’s the reason they failed. The fact that they are propped up now with hundreds of millions of government dollars doesn’t prove that they’re “on the right track.” Let’s see how things go for GM in the next 5 years.

  15. This post has sure woken SAAB followers from last night’s hangovers. Now we need people to respond positively on the 14th & 15th.

    All this IP is not rocket science but the Chinese are sure hungry for technology. I still cannot help wondering if the way GM dissed them has given them the last word?

  16. Some interesting info about Mahindra – they recently acquired Ssanyong motor… which used to be controlled by ….SAIC!!!!?? Strange. So they have a low end Korean car manufacturer.. which can possibly share platforms with SAAB at the lower end and of course SAAB tech can help the cars they build emerge from the rubbish heap where they now reside…..

    • Yes. SAIC owned Ssanyong but found Ssanyong hopeless, it is still so, they only sold a few thousands cars this year. SAIC lost big money by Ssanyong.

  17. It’s New Years Day—-and here we are talking about our favorite car brand, Saab. I hope potential buyers understand the intensity of Saab’s customer base. Where is there more crazy enthusiasm than here? This has to be worth something.

  18. But nevertheless, I still believe YM could be a final investor of Saab.

    Mahindra is already out, if the Sweeds receivers found YM hopeless, and Mahindra hopefull, then they would not have turned off Mahindra so quickly.

    • When/where did the news break that Mahindra is out? I searched it and the latest I find are articles from December 31 (i.e. yesterday in the U.S.) saying that Mahindra is very interested. Is there already news that it’s over—-that I missed???

      • Please go to homepage and read these two:

        Saab’s receivers meet with TTela
        — read the indication of the words from the receivers in the interview.

        Indian company not welcome

        • When questioned about why Lars Carlström, representing a large automobile company from India, was rejected, Bergqvist says “We evaluate various alternatives proposed by interested parties in a very limited amount of time. We reserve the right to prioritize those who contact us, it is all about how serious those contacting us are and how fleshed out their proposals are.”

          • No. They rejected LC who allegedly was representing a major company from India. Mahdindra has definitely not been ruled out.

            • That’s what I thought. Those posts that I was directed to are older than the news about Mahindra getting into the sweepstakes. There are a few more recent articles about Mahindra’s interest in Saab.

  19. All the enthusiasm here regrettably did not transfer into increased sales. That will be the challenge as well as convincing GM that it should license its IP to a buyer.

    • True, but really—-since the sale from GM, hardly any time has elapsed—-and on top of that, they haven’t been building cars in 8 months. Not enough people immediately need a new car to boost sales THAT quickly—-and in fact, U.S. sales had increased before the financial problems dogged Saab and forced the end of production. There has to be enough money to get through 3 years before the growth becomes profitable. And people will have to believe that Saab is here to stay—-a commitment—-before they buy in large numbers. Frankly, if someone like Mahindra is selling trucks along side Saab cars, in showrooms—-that would give me the confidence to believe they’ll be around for a while.

    • IF no GM trouble, Saab will have great future in Chinese market, if Saab can take only 0.5% of the Chinese market, that would be an annual sale of 200,000 units (Chinese market to be 40 million new car sales in 2020).

      200K should be ENOUGH for Saab to make profit. Even Chinese media knows that Saab is only for few chosen ones :)

      • I read somewhere India’s car sales is right now only 1/10 of Chinese size.

        • CSD – you may be right, I am not sure of that…however, you must look at the demographics. India’s population will surpass even China’s by the year 2050. There are going to be a lot of people born in the next generation in India who will have access to purchase a vehicle.


    The sad thing is If all the work that happened over the last 8 month’s had been about Licencing this Platform & not saving Saab, enough interest now [ie; Turkey, India, China etc, etc] could have happened then, Saab could have benifit from that Cash & probably got enough upfront fees to get it’s own current production up & running.

    Licencing that platform, even in a sub Saab standard [ie; not quite the same spec that Saab would use in their own cars] Saab might be in a different place now.

    Even now, This platform could be Saab’s salvation. As the licencing is controlled by a Swan JV vehicle, enough small ‘new world’ manufacturers buying into it’s future tech could help Saab into the future…..

    Just imagine for a moment, each licence is worth about 70-100 mil euros, [the same as YM paid for ‘part’ of the platform] for ‘non exclusive user rights, find 5 such companies & you’ve got 350-500mil euros. A big way forward.

    GM is doing exactly this, selling user rights to the Epsilon 1-derived to SAIC, etc.

    Once Saab get the 10% GM IP out of ‘their’ platform, they would be a direct competitor to GM in this market { maybe that is what GM, was really worried about }, and Saab’s would probably do it better. The new 900 [9.3] uses the PHOENIX 1 platform, but once GM IP is taken out the Phoenix1 could be sold, whilst the next generation platform [phoenix2] could suit a reworked 9.5 & forthcoming models.

    All Saab/SwanJV need is a ‘few’ buyers for that platform tech…..

  21. CSD_ChineseSaabDriver, unfortunately there are a couple of guys here who would rather see Saab disappear than accept Chinese money. It’s apparently very dirty.

    • I don’t think that is fair. We would much rather see it in the hands of Europeans or other Asians based on our experience with Chinese products. We would not feel this way if Chinese products had a different reputation.

      • *I* am not being fair on your position? That’s the first big joke I heard of this year.

      • Who are ‘we’ in this context? ‘We’ the inhabitants of the USA? Those whose economic prosperity came from slavery, from the wholesale ejection of indigenous peoples (so providing ‘free’ land, in turn delivering up vast areas of highly productive farmlands and vast natural resources – especially timber, coal, iron, and oil), from allowing others to bear much of the cost of defeating fascism, and latterly from a callous disregard for the wellbeing of their own countrymen? China’s healthcare and welfare systems are light years ahead of the USA’s in terms of fairness and inclusiveness, whilst the USA remains as protectionist in some quarters as China, if not more so – for instance, if you want to operate an airline in the USA, it must be 51+% controlled by Americans; foreign companies may not compete.

        As for General Motors, the unique economic powerhouse that is the USA created a behemoth which was unable to sustain itself in the face of economic uncertainty; instead, GM as it is now is the product of, effectively, an old-school Nationalisation of the sort US companies have long criticised in other countries as being anti-competitive.

        I’m happy to discuss this further with you, but please do try to be a little objective…

        • Indeed and well summarised – David should read up on the history of companies such as the United Fruit (yes, a fruit company) and their behaviour and the pain caused in central America and other parts of the world.

          On America protectionism, please also have a read on the story of A330MRTT vs Boeing KC-767, competing for the KC-X project, and how Boeing played the crying baby to get support from some of the congress as to cause such a fuss Airbus in the end, walked out.

          • Indeed. Airbus won a straight tender competition against Boeing. Boeing then kicked up a fuss, forcing the contract to be re-tendered. Boeing, having seen how they stacked-up first time around, simply underbid and won.

            Also note that Airbus couldn’t compete directly – it could only do so through a US subsidiary company. Non-US companies aren’t allowed…

            • Does Boeing get the same opportunity to compete for business in Europe as Airbus does? And really, who is kidding who here? Both Boeing and Airbus have parts made from all over the world. Boeing’s parts are hardly US made anymore.

              • Yes, they do get the same opportunity in Europe. Most European airlines operate both Airbuses and Boeings. I believe that Boeing actually outnumbers Airbus in that respect. And I know that the fleet of Air France/KLM (a French/Dutch airline) numbers more Boeings than (French-built) Airbuses.

                And the global sourcing of components is, of course, a nonsensical argument. What matters is where the profits from the sales go. Come on, David. You know better than that. Once in a while you just aren’t right. So be a man and deal with it 😉 .


                • The profits go to Wall Street. As far as the ordinary citizen is concerned, what they care about is jobs. Boeing certainly has lots of employees in Seattle putting the parts built elsewhere (where most of the jobs are) together.

                  There are lots of US airlines that buy Airbus. When I last flew to Europe on a US airline it was on an Airbus.

                  I have a very good friend who is trying to start a US airline and he tells me quite frankly that Airbus will never make him the financing deals on planes that Boeing will. So maybe there is more to it than simply aeronautical capability.

                  He is also a commercial pilot that flies 747’s.

        • I meant “we” as in those on this board who have been criticizing a Chinese purchase. My criticism is based on my personal experience with Chinese products of which I have owned many and which have for the most part deserved the poor reputation for build quality. As I have posted here often, the reputation for Chinese products is that they are junk.

          That is not to say that the Chinese can not make excellent products; it is only to say that they have (for whatever reason) chosen not to make quality products. China, lie any country has a reputation to build and protect, and so far, China has not seen fit to have a reputation for building high quality products.

          They have also had a reputation for stealing IP and not paying for it. And the people in the US aren’t the only ones complaining of Chinese theft. I got sent an email today from and Indian friend about the Chinese stealing Indian IP and brands. Check it out. the article is called “Made in India, Faked in China.”

          I don’t see how the other matters you bring up are at all relevant to this discussion. The fact that other companies have done heinous things or good things is not relevant to GM and its actions.

          Same with the US government vs. the Chinese government. I wanted the US to have a government option for health insurance but Congress didn’t. So what? That doesn’t seem to be relevant to this situation.

  22. More difficult to have a vehicle JV in China NOW  
    2012-01-02 01:06:59|

    On Dec 29, China released a new regulation to discourage foreign investment on vehicle production in China, which highlights the change from “encouraging” to “allowing” foreign investment in auto production. This means that it will be more difficult for government to approve new vehicle joint venture.Many potential JVs, such as Chery-Subaru, Chery-JLR, Hawtai-Proton, Dongfeng-Volvo, may be impacted. The future Sino-foreign automobile joint ventures will largely depend on its Chinese partners’ ability on lobbying governnment, which i believe the State-owned auto groups will have much role to play.For small or private ones, it will be really difficult to set up a joint venture with a foreign company from now on. Also for those commercial vehicle manufacturers, who are eager to enter China to localize its high-end commercial vehicles, such as Scannia, Tata, Ashok Leyland, etc, will have to act more wisely if they want to establish a business in China. Because there is really a need for China to improve its technology on truck and bus building.

  23. And in the news this morning: “China and Russia to establish joint-venture automobile enterprise.” Truly amazing.