Notice there’s no mention of the new Phoenix architecture in the plan. Also remember that several other companies (Hawtai included) were still interested in using it in their own vehicles and the ensuing clarification that was needed to separate out what IP BAIC owned vs. the new technology.
While this deal with Pang Da is very exciting (and possibly more so) for Saab’s long term prospects in China because it gives them a clearer equity stake in their fate in China than in the Hawtai deal, the Phoenix platform is still worth a lot of money that Saab could use to secure their long term financing. The question is– how much is that worth if it’s competing against Saab’s own joint-venture produced vehicles in China?
I’d argue that for the right company who lacks an adequate rival, it’s pretty huge. It’s clear that Victor’s biggest selling tool though was the Saab name and association, as he revealed to reporters in Washington last week.
“I had a pretty good negotiating position. I positioned what I could sell as a stake in the last premium, independent, European car company. If you do not get this one, you are not going to get a position in Audi. You are not going to get a position in BMW. You are not going to own Mercedes, or maybe they will.
“We had people clamoring at the door. If you don’t get this one, you are done because there won’t be another one.”
That’s as close of an accurate as we can get to what tools Victor actually negotiated with in China this weekend. Hopefully he’s still there negotiating with Hawtai and Youngman (or others) about a potential sale of the Phoenix platform. The research by DI from the weekend that Saab was still in talks with Youngman should not be discounted, there’s a very real possibility that they’re still at work on a deal. Perhaps the “to-be-selected manufacturing partner” who will be assisting in the manufacturing of the MJV will not be so foreign to us after all.