According to China Car Times, Saab will set up shop with partner Youngman in Tianjin, a city near Beijing. It is also the site of Great Wall Motor’s new plant, serves as a major automotive import hub, and is home to many major Chinese suppliers.
CCT mentions that they’ve heard reports that Saab sent a team of engineers to Youngman and found that their existing production lines (which a commenter mentions in the same article are elsewhere in the Guizhou to Shangdong provinces) can easily handle the additional 150,000 vehicles a year when they’re brought online. They say that the plant would be operational in 2 years at the earliest, and that they would need to import cars in the meantime. I’m sure the workers in Trollhattan would be more than happy to ramp up production to cover the difference if Pang Da is placing orders for tens of thousands of Saabs.
You’ll also remember that Saab and Youngman will produce not only Saabs, but “child branded” vehicles for the Chinese market. From the June 13 press release:
Spyker, Saab Automobile, Pang Da and Youngman will set up joint ventures with respect to the manufacturing of Saab branded and child branded vehicles and the distribution of Saab branded and child branded vehicles for the China market. Saab Automobile and Youngman will each have a 45% interest in the manufacturing JV and Pang Da will hold the remaining 10%. Saab Automobile and Youngman will each have a 33% interest in the distribution JV and Pang Da will hold 34%.
So while that 150,000 figure may seem high, remember that it includes this new brand that is exclusively for Chinese consumption. We don’t yet know the breakdown yet, but whatever it is, these Chinese made Saabs can only further the brand’s image if built in a quality facility, which Tianjin seems to provide. Aircraft manufacturer Airbus assembles its A320 there, and it’s position as an industry center should help Saab get off its feet in China, if this report is true.
According to SinoCast Daily Business Beat who cite this article (google translate only takes us so far, young people = Youngman ;)), Youngman is considering making an additional investment into Saab to help get them through this supplier mess. They along with Pang Da and Saab will reportedly meet this week, according to an executive with Youngman who wished to remain anonymous.