There were some reports early in this Saab-saga that quite simply confused the names BAIC (Beijing Automotive, a bidder for Saab and potential minority stakeholder in the Koengisegg Group) and SAIC (Shanghai Automotive, a GM joint venture partner in China).
When I first received an email about this story last night, I dismissed it without reading it properly as one of those shoddy stories. My bad.
Upon a proper reading (and some clearer writing from Inside Line) it appears that this might be a glimpse of what might happen with the same name and technology should a sale not be completed with a company such as Spyker.
According to the Chinese Web site Sohu.com, GM and Shanghai Auto (better known as SAIC) have reached a secret agreement under which GM would transfer ownership of the Saab brand, platform and other core assets to SAIC after a bankruptcy liquidation of Saab…..
….The Sohu.com story said Saab could be absorbed into the SAIC-GM-Wuling joint venture, which primarily focuses on production of minivehicles in China and is expected to provide engineering and platforms to the new GM-SAIC joint venture in India.
SAIC, through its Roewe subsidiary, currently owns the rights to two former British brands, MG and Rover, which it intends to leverage in its impending push into major overseas markets, including North America.
I don’t know about you, but I’m tending to read that as condemnation to an automotive graveyard.
This is from the Trading Markets article I originally received a link to last night:
Before the end of December 2009, the GM board will decide whether to sell Saab, after its appraisal of the potential bidding documents. The US automotive group will shrink Saab’s business if the vend scheme aborts, said people with the direct knowledge of the matter.
That would suggest to me that this is the backup plan in the event that a sale process for the whole company as a going concern doesn’t work out.
It seems Saab has two definite futures and now we can see both their faces. One is much uglier than the other, so I hope this motivates the people working on it back in Sweden.
Thanks to Ted for the IL article and others for the TM story.