BAIC and their SAAB purchase

The Shanghai Auto Show is starting next week, with the media days on the 19th and 20th April. Ahead of the show Beijing Automotive Industry Holding Co, known as BAIC, are showing off what they have on offer, and there is a lot to be interested in for Saab fans.

I’ll take a look at all the offerings after the jump.

BAIC C70GThe BAIC C70G is based on the Saab O-G9-5. BAIC have announced that the first C70G is going to roll off the production line later this year.

BAIC-C60FThe C60F, based on the 9-3 technology BAIC purchased from Saab, will be on show at Shanghai and is said to be 80% complete. Rumours are BAIC will show off the production ready car at the Beijing Auto Show in 2012. BAIC have announced that the first C60F to roll off the production line will be in April or May next year.

I’ve not see any images of the C50 yet, but there is still a fair bit of talk about it. The C50 is said to be based on the O-G9-3 and is to be the car that the public will buy the most of. BAIC have said they expect the car to be coming off the production line in July next year, so I’d say we’ll see it at the Beijing Auto Show next year (if not before).

BAIC Q60FB-ACPFinally the BAIC Q60FB-ACP, which at first glance will put fear in any Saab fan out there. For those that can’t see the above photos, the Q60FB-ACP looks identical to the current Saab 9-3. However you shouldn’t fear, BAIC have purchased 30 of the current Saab 9-3s and converted them to electric powered cars as part of the trial. So 30 people out there have got their hands on a Q60FB-ACP and a recharging base setup so they can recharge the prototype.

Q60FB-ACPThere’s a video walk around of the C60F at as well as more information on the above. Just a heads up Google translator does a bad job, I fortunately have a Chinese friend who does the translating for me =)



Late addition from Jeff: As an aside, I thought it was worth noting that Saab got a pretty good deal from BAIC compared to Ford. According to Reuters (his picture is at Autoblog), a former Ford engineer straight up photocopied sensitive documents onto a personal hard drive before leaving Ford and heading to you guessed it, BAIC. The documents reportedly covered a whole lot of secret documents, from engine and transmission details to electric power supply systems. He’s getting 6 years in prison. GM/Saab got a boatload of cash, Ford gets nothing and loses valuable IP. Who do you think got a better deal?

24 thoughts on “BAIC and their SAAB purchase”

  1. This is scary: There will be both real Saabs and “original copies” around in China? Now, when being a Chinese and thinking of buying a Saab and there is a cheaper but the same looking car around, which one would I buy?

    I know this BAIC deal was a part of Saabs rescue plan but now it seems to be working against Saabs entering of the Chinese market.

    Where is Saabs stand?

    • Brendan did his homework on this one, and contacted Eric Geers behind the scenes to get details (as opposed to just running the story without checking his facts). If you read the article you’ll see he mentioned they’re just test vehicles that Saab built for BAIC. Fortunately they won’t share Saab bodies, so there won’t be Saab clones on Chinese roads. Phew 🙂

      • I dont trust BAIC with any of Saab’s technology so dont let them anywhere near the new 9-5 or they’ll be selling a ripoff of that. Chinese ‘manufacterer’ BYD cloned the old shaped BMW 7 and gave it some weird name a few years back and had the audacity to show it at some big event in China. Needless to say BMW were not happy.

        • Unlike some Chinese manufacturers, BAIC bought and paid for the Saab technology it is using even if the circumstances of that deal at the time weren’t ideal. Ideal or not, that sale helped Saab and I think if BAIC can manage to build it’s Saab derived cars well, a close relationship could be beneficial to both companies in the future. Anyway Saab could use a cheap manufacturing base for the 9-2 to make it viable. I don’t see why that couldn’t be BAIC if it’s QC comes up to scratch?

  2. TobiasE, true. Still it’s confusing when seeing these e-cars…
    It is going to be even more confusing when these cars will enter the European markets. But OTOH someone might want to buy an “OG 9-5” for cheap, after all the quality probably hasn’t gotten worse. We have to remember that Saab engineers have been helping BAIC with this project. If trying to be neutral about these cars, they don’t look that bad…
    Would be nice to obtain some more information about these cars and the project around this deal…

      • Red J: I’m not an expert in this field but what I have seen is that the Chinese manufacturers have been trying to enter Europe for years already. The products haven’t just been good enough. The crash tests have been horrifying to watch etc. With these cars they have the possibility enter the European market as the quality probably is satisfying the most European cheap car buyers. I’m not saying that it will be a direct competitor for Saab but there are buyers that this kind of cheap and big car would interest a lot.
        Having said this, I’m not hoping that these cars are coming to Europe… But I’m sure someone is thinking of it unless Saab has forbidden it…

        • Marco, so you say that “if” is not the question any more but “when”.
          In this case, and if things go as expected, I would say that Saab won’t be selling any 2nd gen 9-3 at the time BAIC will be able to introduce the cars in Europe.

  3. This will impact Saab sales in China.
    Those people considering a 9-3 type vehicle will be ale to afford a high spec “showroom new” 9-5 effectively taking bottom end sales away from Saab.

    The deal that Saab did was supposed to be an insurance against this-the funds generated off-setting any initial (near term) future loss-but in my view that is a dangerous gamble in such a growth market.

    There were 2 beneftis though- Saab survived for a little longer on that Money.
    Saab will act and consult and become known as not only an auto maker but a consultatative body in that arena which could in turn lead to project revenue generation. this is less of a consideration right now.

    the view is that Saab sales in the middle and upper end of the scale will remain just that Saab sales you don’t go out for the new 9-5 and come back with a fully loaded Hyundai so the hope is those future sales whatever they are will remain intact and unharmed by the old tool-set sell off.

    Anyhow-that is not the primary concern at the moment. New efforts in shouting about Saab, its recent class leading successes and ensuring the business plan is IN FACT FULLY FUNDED is the priority for Saab.

    • I actually am going to disagree with you here (something that I rarely do with you Toby). The Chinese market is extremely weird right now. Brands like Buick are regarded almost as highly (and in some parts higher) than Audi and Mercedes. Chinese brands are regarded as sub-par, no matter what platform they started on. I wouldn’t worry so much about this as an actual perceived threat to the Saabs we’ll be seeing on the market in China. The new 9-5 is a much larger car, and big, long sedans are very highly prized, so much so that BMW and Audi went ahead and made long wheelbase versions of the 5 series and A6 solely for the Chinese market. The 9-5 (Epsilon II) is a great fit for China with no modifications necessary. It will immediately be regarded in a class above the OG 9-5s by BAIC.

      The rest of your comment I agree with though (as usual 🙂 )

      • “Brands like Buick are regarded almost as highly (and in some parts higher) than Audi and Mercedes. ”


        This is actually good news for the new 9-5, which isn’t shying away from its connection to the LaCrosse. Buick quality has actually risen substantially over the past 3-5 model years and the new platform is brilliant.

      • Right. And if I was a buyer in that market, I would have a choice of a premium NG9-5 by Saab or a previous generation decent, solid and reliable OG9-5 for probably half the price.

        I have two 9-5’s and in my current economic situation wish I had the option of buying a “new” OG9-5 when these give up the ghost, because I know I won’t be able to afford a $50K NG9-5. Of course, in the US there are other quality offerings at the price the BAIC 9-5 would go for if it was over here, but we’ve all seen the crash ratings of some of the cheaper Chinese models, so I’m sure even the BAIC 9-5 (which will be safe and reliable — tried and true) will fill a nice void between the Chinese domestic models and the premium Buicks, Saabs or what have you.

        • I think you have a point, but you’re not factoring in the “prestige premium” that people are willing to pay for a brand with higher perceived status. One of the world’s largest economies is now teeming with middle- and upper-middle class people with increasing levels of disposable income.

          If they can swing it, they would pick up a new Saab, or a new Buick…and let the less-well-off provincials buy the domestic BAICs. (Of course, that’s probably what BIAC wants, to pounce on that expansion of the middle class into rural areas.)

  4. I don’t care much about the 9-5 rehash, pity the Chinese who will have to deal with the B205, plus the “update” does little in terms of making the 9-5 look attractive. At any rate, it makes one yearn for a Dame Edna.

    Now, the C60 is rather obviously a 9-3, and for what I saw, the interior is the same as well. Regardless of the cosmetic changes to the front end, it appears to be the very same car (though the internal bits might have been cheapened to hell). This is very dangerous and should not happen by any means. I do hope Saab and BAIC can work that out so that the C60 does not step on the 9-3’s heels before the new 9-3 is launched.

    On another note – wouldn’t BAIC be willing to get back to the table to negotiate them chipping into the Saab business? I do believe this could be a very valuable lifeline, and guarantee all future developments using the acquired Saab technology is coordinated, and most probably done by Trollhattan.

    • Dame Edna and I have been happily married since 2006. Thank you. Whilst she is perhaps not as beautiful as her younger sister, ’10 9-5, she is certainly much more attractive than these Chinese newcomers wearing her old shoes. : )

  5. The BIAC 9-5 looks OK to me. I have two Dame Edna’s (I guess I like weird headlight set-ups).

    If BIAC import them to UK and they pass all Euro Safety specs and the price is right I would consider purchasing one if the need arose.

    The quality of Chinese goods is getting better every day.

    My Wife’s 9-3 SE Turbo convertible has a B205 engine and it’s a peach. Turbine smooth, reasonably economical and wonderfully willing and responsive. GM engines including the 2.5 V6 feel crude by comparison.

    So a BIAC 9-5 with a B205 engine that meets Euro NCAP 5 for say £15000, bring it on. However unless one of my 9-5 dies I won’t be buying one.

    Talking of Chinese cars, in the West Midlands (UK) where I live, MG Rover have started production of their new UK designed (parts made in China) sports MG, 6 years after they went bust.

    Maybe Saab needs BIAC for their long-term future.

    Whether we like it or not, the Chinese are coming into the mainstream auto market, just like the Japanese did many years ago. Do we complain about the quality and safety of Japanese cars these days?

    I think the way to survive is to work with the Chinese, not compete with them. Volvo may have got it right.

    • So a BIAC 9-5 with a B205 engine that meets Euro NCAP 5 for say £15000, bring it on. However unless one of my 9-5 dies I won’t be buying one.


      Whether we like it or not, the Chinese are coming into the mainstream auto market, just like the Japanese did many years ago. Do we complain about the quality and safety of Japanese cars these days?

      Bob Sinclair used to say that the Chinese will build anything exactly how you want it, it just depends on how much you want to pay. Most American manufacturers take advantage of the cheap Chinese labor, and you get what you pay for. He once said something to the effect of if you spec out the equivalent of the best Swiss timepiece and contract it to a Chinese company, they will make you something of equal quality. You just have to pay for it. But that’s not often what manufacturers do when they are looking to the Chinese market for manufacturing. They’re looking to save money.

      Just some words of wisdom from the great Mr. Sinclair, RIP.

  6. C70G in black with a Hong Kong guy spoiler in the end and ready is the bat man car. Looking on the C70G the last 95 deign is so beautiful .)

  7. The BAIC`s new car is the competitor of buick , not Saab .But i belive that BAIC will mentioned
    It is the “Saab”car not BAIC car to the customer so that they can sale a large amount of new cars.And this is not the good news for Saab. Saab will become a new winner or not in china seriously depends on it`s marketing plan such as price ,etc. Saab must tell to the chinese customer again who they are .Because in China Saab was not regarded as highly as BMW or Mercedes.In china people know that the safetest car is Volvo ,the sporty car is BMW ,not Saab..So in most people`mind Saab car is a little bit sporty and a little bit safety.And all these due to the bad advertising of GM.
    I do hope Saab will be the winner in China .I think the new 9-5 is good for the goverment in China,because it is a nice deal for the big cars,such as AUDI A 6 and BMW 5 .So do not lose time do it now.

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