Rumors: Dongfeng

January 3, 2012 in News, Rumors

According to chinese media (who have been wrong several times) the chinese company Dongfeng has announced interest in buying all of Saab. The brand wants to develop its own car-brand and the remains of Saab would be of great help. The purchase request includes all of Saab including the production facilities in Trollhättan according to Beijing Times.

Considering the number of false statements and news from the chinese media I would not trust this source, but it sadly some of the only news coming out to the public right now…

We have heard that something fun will happen at the factory though =) More details to come!

76 responses to Rumors: Dongfeng

  1. Think this broke between Christmas and New Year.
    It will be blocked by GM – too chinese!

    • It could be blocked by GM at SAIC’s urging as it seemed like the case w/Youngman.
      Seems to me that SAIC is afraid of the possibility of some real domestic competition in China.
      Of course the Chinese Gov. may shoot down any bids for Saab anyway as the Gov. there wants their automakers to focus on their home market.

    • Might buy all but ignore using GM parts/IP in new cars?

      • I have had that thought that the new owner’s of Saab could reject negotiating w/GM & just let the current 9-3/9-5 & 9-4x just “expire” & work on a new 9-3/9-5 that uses no GM tech/parts & come out w/them in say 2-3yrs. Though it would be a major investment, but could be worth the cost.

  2. I think this is an old news, isn’t it?

    • Been reported in different media but this is the first time any somewhat serious news organizations actually brings it up without just re-printing the chinese articles…

  3. What does it mean: “including the production facilities in Trollhättan” – would Donfeng keep any production there our send 100.000 Chinese workers in trucks to screw it down and drive it to mainland China in a convoy?

    • That would truly be a “Saab” convoy from hell…

    • 100.000 Chinese workers would be about as many as Dongfeng happens to employ. It is really amazing how the Chinese economy developed in recent years.

  4. GM will say no, no, no!!! China just isnt Saab’s saviour.

  5. Let’s be calm and carry on!

  6. I read these rumors as that Dongfeng would keep the factory and production in Trollhättan, but that there wouldn’t be any production of Saabs, only their own brand spiced up with Saab’s non-GM technology. Good for the workers in Trollhättan, interesting for the techies but half-bad for Saab-fans.

    • That’s my take on it too. Good for the workers, not for the fans.

    • Given the stuborness of the Saab team, any Trollhättan-built Donfeng would turn out to be a Saab, I guess.

  7. seems highly unlikely regardless of the source. afterall it is a Chinese company and GM has made their position painfully clear regarding any further Chinese involvement or ownership!

  8. Can GM block a deal now? The company is bankrupt and it is the job of the administrators to get the best deal for the creditors. If Dongfeng or any other Chinese entity offer that deal do the administrators not have to accept it, albeit the value of the deal will reduce if GM technology isn’t part of it. Western companies able, or willing, to buy Saab seem to be in short supply and GM’s antics may put suitors off.

    • Blocking in the sense that they simply would not deliver parts, and forbid other suppliers to deliver parts developed by GM, for building 9-3 and 9-5?

      You bet. Even more so than before, since I would assume that any agreements have terminated.

    • They can refuse licensing and delivery of other components.
      I do not see that they can block anything else

  9. How does the word SAAB translate into Chinese?

  10. 薩博

  11. So far no official statements, there’re plenty of rumours and false news out there. Nevertheless, Tim does the right thing by posting it.

    Looking forward for Tim’s next post concerning something funny at the factory.

  12. I will venture that a Chinese investor won’t get Saab.
    The only one I would say may have a chance would be Youngman as they have invested a lot of money, but the Chinese Gov. may shoot any attempts down as they are wanting their domestic automakers to focus on their home market.

    I would like to see Koenigsegg jump back into the fray as a potential owner. :)
    As I would like to see Saab return to Swedish hands, if not Swedish, the European at least. I don’t really want to see it in Chinese hands. Indian hands could be ok. Tata has done well w/Jaguar/Land Rover from what I can see. Except for making the Evoque on a FWD/F-AWD platform was a bad idea & should tarnish LR’s image/prestige. Hopefully the reported Jaguar SUV/CUV won’t be built on the same or similar platform. Actually, I hope the Jag SUV/CUV gets canceled! :)

    • Although it might be considered down-market, Tata could build the Jaguar SUV/CUV and market it under the currently dormant ‘Rover’ brand as it owns the name. This wouldn’t tarnish the Jaguar name.

    • Koenigsegg was clever enough to back away from buying Saab when they deemed the image detoriation too severe. They probably recognised that they would not have enough money to re-establish the brand image. Any indication that they would now have much more money?

  13. Somehow DongFeng’s interest seems a bit like Nanjing when it bought the corpse of Rover. Much was promised in the UK but little happened apart from the production of a few MGs. Hopefully this won’t happen with Saab and Trollhattan.

    Of course Nanjing was later acquired by SAIC which is now GM’s partner in China.

    • Maybe the lesson learned here was that it takes more than machinery and blueprints to build good cars. Which would imply that Dongfeng would not repeat this mistake.

      And which might even imply that also SAIC would not repeat it. Maybe they would be interested in Saab as well?! At least they would get more modern stuff than Rover had to offer. I found some pictures on the internet showing the state of Rover’s assembly at the bancruptcy, and boy, no comparison to the ultra-modern plant that Saab happens to have.

      • Actually BAIC and SAIC are better choices.

        BAIC already bought old Saab 93,95 and powertrain.

        SAIC in JV with GM and have experience with MG, Rover.

  14. Just 2 days ago we saw the BBC report that the Chinese Government was clamping down on its companies investing in foreign automobile companies. If GM turned down the last deal what makes this new venture seem more possible?

    • I thought that was on foreign companies investing in China? Not vice versa? The last thing I heart was that the Chinese government set up two agencies for the EU and US investing in companies outside of China (300 billion USD).

    • I think this is different. A purchase of Saab or parts is not an investement in a foreign company outside Chinese control. Saab would be Chinese then and that would probably he very OK with the Chinese goverment.
      Very little is clear about the statement but buying tehcnology and knowhow is probably OK. What the governernment probably is against is joint ventures where the non-chinese are withholding stuff.The Chinese want to be in control.

  15. GM, please block this sale? Even though I am a Chinese(not from China tho), I would very much prefer the Indians to buy Saab.

  16. Have trust in the administrators that the last they will do is sell the assets so that other cars can be built.
    I have faith that they first will try to sell the BRAND, so that Saabs still can be produced in the future.
    But as they said it is the value of the employees and the name of the brand that still has a lot of value.
    However if that is not materialized timely enough it could become a sale of assets only.
    But just hope that never happens.

  17. Assuming a really rich uncle, any ideas how much the development of the new 900 could be accelerated? I mean if some big Chinese company, or Magna, focusses all attention on getting the 9-3 ready, how long would it take? And how much would it cost more than just maintaining all proceed at normal pace?

    I know that projects cannot be accelerated at will, because there is not enough staff aquainted, and managing more people generates more friction, but…

  18. Do I have the wrong understanding, or does everyone else posting here regarding Chinese involvement misunderstand. Most seem to think China Gov would discourage purchase of Saab. I don’t think so. They are discouraging foreign investors such as GM, Toyota, et al from investing in China. But I think they would encourage Chinese ownership of Saab so they own the technology for development of the Chinese auto industry. And, I think Saab’s knowledge of fuel efficient vehicles and electric technology would make a purchase attractive. For example:

    Beijing has reshuffled a list of industrial and technology sectors where it wants to attract foreign investment, downgrading autos and putting more emphasis on emerging fields and domestic companies.

    However, China’s government will continue to encourage foreign investment in more fuel-efficient vehicles, the National Development and Reform Commission and the Ministry of Commerce said in a statement.
    China, the world’s largest light vehicle market, has attracted billions of dollars in plant investments and research spending from global automakers.
    General Motors, Volkswagen AG, Toyota Motor Corp. and others have operated in China for years through joint ventures with local partners and automakers. They have relied increasingly on China for growth and profits as markets in North America and Europe mature.
    “It might be more difficult for carmakers to get approval for new plants in the future unless they have an investment in new-energy vehicles,” Gu said.
    The country must focus on nurturing strategic new industries to make its manufacturing more sophisticated and be more competitive globally, the National Development and Reform Commission said in the statement.

    • For the new tech of PhoeniX and the image of SAAB brand.

      Yes, Chinese gov still supports Chinese companies invest or take over famous foreign car makers.

      SAIC might buy up to 10% GM shares according to some reports.

  19. As the wholly-owned subsidiary of a Chinese auto company, Saab might do well, but only if cars destined for the Chinese market were actually produced in China. Otherwise, Saab would be hit with the 25%/10% tariff that China imposes on all foreign cars/parts. (That’s separate from the extra 25% China just added for American-manufactured cars.) I believe this would make the factory in Trollhattan a liability for any Chinese company, while also creating problems for the 9-4x business plan.

    If a Chinese-owned Saab relocated lock, stock and barrel to the PRC, it could very well enjoy rapid growth. However, the worldwide Saab brand might suffer a near-fatal loss of prestige, not to mention use of the actual name “SAAB.” Also, given the current auto tariff war that China has initiated with the US, it is highly unlikely that any Chinese-manufactured cars will gain access to the American market any time soon. So, depending on how things turn out, Saab may thrive under Chinese ownership, but as a markedly different company with a different customer base.

    • Perhaps not. Cars built by the THN facility, if owned by a Chinese enterprise, may not literally be China-built cars but could very well be considered Chinese-built cars (like if the Chinese manufacturer would set up his own assembly plant outside of mainland China) by the Chinese authorities and so not be subject to the import levies.Everything is fluid in China, I have been told…


    • BMW, Benz, Audi made in China are being exported to other countries right now.

      What quality difference? All produced with same tools same QA system.

      All the iPhones almost all electrnocis, PC’s, TV’s are MADE IN CHINA, what quality problem would Saab have if produced in China?

      • But this are exported not to Europe or so. Some parts as the DSG gear box fom VW are made also in china. But under control and QA of VW. That’s the difference. Using advantage of production (wages, ..) combined with QA of non china.

        I’ve looked on a car from BYD (Build your dreams) at the Geneva auto salon. Holly shit, this car was 30 years behind the automotive standard we know right now.

        • What pity, my previous post with the good links of Chinese cars are deleted.

          I was riding the old BYD F6, very comfortable, even more comfortable than my pre-Saab European cars, my true feeling is that most of European cars are way overrated in quality/price.

          • The problems with chineese cars starts when you hit something :-) The you are likely to get killed.

            • things change pretty fast :)

              Geely EC7 hits Euro-NACP 4 stars, actually it’s 5 stars :)

              Google this:
              wautom china auto models gallery
              see that gallery of WAUTOM

          • A copy of the Honda Accord. I don’t like this Japanese stuff. That’s cheap mainstream.

          • Rather than exchange opinions about Chinese brand cars, let’s just say that the worldwide car-buying public simply does not hold Chinese brands in as high regard as the top European brands. That’s fair to say, isn’t it? If they did, they’re would be no reason for Chinese manufacturers to pursue Saab, Volvo or other such marques.

            My point was that a wholly China-based Saab would suffer a dilution of brand equity because of this, regardless of any other factors. Such a situation need not be permanent, however. Case in point: Korea’s Hyundai and Kia brands, which have gone from financial and automotive oblivion to major worldwide players. A successful brand is based on the consumers’ perceptions of value, quality and the company’s image/philosophy/style. Every bit as much as the nuts and bolts aspect. In this respect, Chinese brands are lacking at the moment. Which is why Saab, which cannot afford to reshape its brand identity, must remain as Swedish as possible, regardless of who owns it.

            • Saab should remain pure Swedish no single doubt, just like Volov.

              Chinese cars have not yet get good reputation it is just like Korean cars 10 years ago, but the guys there are working on it so it won’t surpise me at all and it is in fact very natural that Chinese cars will kick arse in about 10 years, I am pretty confident on that, Chinese car industry just started too late, they are late comers so they are lacking behind compared to existing big players, that’s a fact.

        • Anything but ordinary

  20. If Dongfeng have ANNOUNCED it, then it should be quite easy to verify if it’s true or false, isn’t it?

  21. I just find it strange that we have not heard anything from YM for quite some days.

  22. I was riding the old BYD F6, very comfortable, even more comfortable than my pre-Saab European cars, my true feeling is that most of European cars are way overrated in quality/price.

  23. SAABTEC, could you give me the phonetic Mandarin pronounciation of Saab in Chinese please? Thx, ReneSafan, Paris

  24. Anyone else find it ironic that 3 Chinese companies are very interested in Saab and see their potential, yet GM could care less about Saab?

    • Yes. That is an indication of the economical problems in the US, I think. And GM is a part of that problem.

  25. From what I understand even if they buy all of Saab and keep some production in Sweden, it doesn’t mention keeping the Saab name. This part : “The brand wants to develop its own car-brand and the remains of Saab would be of great help.” To me that means they will build cars with their own name only and Saab will still therefore be dead. Now imagine the all new Saab 93 except it wont be called a Saab 93. Its like getting a loverly Porsche and removing all traces of Porsche from it and calling it something else. If this is the case then GM say NO NO NO.

  26. Sick of rumors, time to get some facts here. All the chinese automotive brands are mentioned in the past time , but what’s the use if none of them take step 2? I hate eating Rice these days.

  27. Re. the ttela article on Brightwell: as to Brightwell investments in the car industry, the European maker of electric vehicles they invested in is Heuliez in France. Widespread publicity on that deal can be found by doing a simple googlesearch on the web. For more detailed information it helps if you can read French. Brightwell Holdings is also involved in the financing of another electric vehicle effort in France: the Tilter, a three-wheeled hybrid between a scooter and a car. See (in English) here: . I haven’t found any info yet on an automotive-related investment by Brightwell in a US-based enterprise.