An excellent piece covering the press conference was published by dn.se. Read a translation after the break.
- Pang Da is optimistic about future Saab sales and production in China.
- The deal will take an additional 2-3 months to complete.
- Youngman’s exclusivity deal expired in March with Spyker, leaving the door open to alternatives.
Pang Pang Qinghua Das president went into the factory, together with Victor Muller and they stayed right where the cars rolling off the band. Both had a pin with the Swedish and Chinese national flag on the lapel.
“It’s the first time I’ve been to Sweden and the Saab factory. I’m very happy,” said Pang Qinghua at the press conference held at the launch center where you can look out towards the assembly line.
Before the factory visit Pang Qinghua had a chance to drive both a new 9-4X and 9-5.
“So far I am very impressed,” he says.
If all plans go off without a hitch and they get all the approvals needed to join Pang Da and Saab together with a Chinese car manufacturers so they can start manufacturing in China, Pang Qinghua thinks that Saab can reach very far in China.
“Then, 100,000, 200,000, 300,000 cars are not that much of a dream,” he said.
“Saab is no newcomer to China,” Pang Qinghua beats down and talks about the Chinese customers’ desire for Saab’s high technology, safety and environmental friendliness.
Some details about the negotiations with the Chinese authorities go to get the necessary permits, he did not enter but were content to say:
“The Chinese government is very supportive towards Chinese companies wishing to invest abroad.”
Pang Qinghua declined to answer questions both during the press conference and in the factory. Instead, he hurried off to a meeting.
Muller had left the tröjlook he was driving when he apologized to employees last week. Now he was back in his pin-striped suit.
He refrained from cocksure promises about the future and had a more humble tone.
“I do not think the storm is over. We have overcome the worst wave. But until all approvals are completed, we can not sleep. Much work remains to be done,” he says.
If Pang Qinghua ambitious plans for Saab, he says:
“Our China Plan is much more modest than theirs. We thought previously to around 1200 cars sold in China this year. I think that we will beat. Otherwise it’s too early to make any forecasts.”
Eventually, he thinks that Saab will be a success in China.
“My belief is that China will be Saab’s biggest market in five years.”
Victor Muller rejects reports that Chinese authorities would be negative to the deal between Pang Da and Saab.
“We have direct information about the contacts have been constructive and positive. There is no reason to believe that this deal will not take place, but it will take time.”
Muller’s assessment is that the Debt Office will take one month and that China will take about two to three months to obtain the necessary approvals.
“We have enough money to wait for the process,” he says.
Should things not go as planned, he has a way out, out Muller. This applies even if the Russian Vladimir Antonov will not get approved as an owner.
“One must always have a Plan B. This, we realized after Hawtai affair collapsed. I can assure you that I have a plan B.”
In the weeks that the plant has stood still, Saab has lost production of around 6000 cars, according to Muller.
In order bank is 6500 cars to be built in Trollhättan factory. In addition, orders for 1600 of 9-4X SUV to be built in GM’s plant in Mexico.
Pang Da has ordered 1300 cars that the company has already paid 30 million euros, although the first delivery takes place later in autumn. Muller is aiming so that the first cars will start shipping to China in August and be available at dealerships in September.
Pang Da has not yet decided to part two of the Agreement, to purchase an additional approximately 650 cars of 15 million.
They shall in that case also be paid in advance in mid-June.
At a later stage, Saab and Pang Da together will appoint a suitable partner automakers in China.
Muller emphasizes that he is not locked into any one manufacturer.
“Youngman had an exclusivity clause that ended March 16. After that there was no exclusivity for Youngman or anyone else,” he says.
Muller says that the first time he met with Pang’s CEO was at a dinner in Beijing on a Friday night two weeks ago. After a weekend of negotiating an agreement was signed during the five o’clock on Monday morning May 16
“It takes two contractors to do such a thing,” says Muller.