Robert Collin on Saab and the Chinese

A good article from Robert Collin about Saab and the Chinese. Swedish speakers can read the original piece here, for the others here is a googly trans:

The Chinese have not given up hope of Saab. Both the small automaker Youngman and the giant car dealership chain Pangda think Saab has every chance to survive and even grow substantially within a couple of years.
While we here in Sweden have given up on the Saab for a long time ago working the two Chinese companies continue to try to get a deal with Saab approved. It is the key authority for partnerships with Western companies, Chinese National Commission for Development and Reforms must approve the deal, then you can pour billions into the Trollhättan factory.
The trade magazine China Car Times writes today about the big plans for the future, but insists that Saab’s acute economic problems must be solved in the short term, and that it must be done with other money than those who Youngman and Pang must pump.

Even when the Chinese deal was announced early this summer, said Saab chief Victor Muller on the all-new models, both larger and smaller than today’s model range. And today China Car Times writes about a little 9-1, a 9-6X, ie a large SUV and a big limousine in the Chinese taste, a 9-7.
When Saab barely afford to pay salaries to its employees, and production is still to be unable to pay the subcontractors, it seems talk of expanded model line as pure fantasy. While we know that the Chinese market is insatiable, and that Chinese companies want to access the knowledge that western automakers have in abundance.
China Car Times emphasizes that Saab has thousands of skilled designers and does not seem to cast doubt on future plans.

Youngman is already collaborating with the classic sports car manufacturer Lotus. The British company was bankrupt finished ten years ago, but is now owned by a car manufacturer in Malaysia and are living apart in their sports cars to sell chassis development to include Youngman.
And Youngman knows that the Chinese want Western technology in their cars, even if the cars are manufactured in China. The latest model from Lotus Youngman has in large letters in his badge while Youngman logo is barely visible.
Now we want to grow more and that is where the Saab into the picture.
Maybe Victor Muller fantasies are not so unrealistic. Maybe, it to foreign brains to understand what our Swedish knowledge is worth. And what it has for the future.

Isn’t there a saying that the prophet is not worth much in his own land? Those last three sentences are what I’ve been thinking for a while now. There is a plan to lead Saab to a great future. With VA and the Chinese ready to invest it is about getting rid of the EIB to be able to make own decisions in reasonable timeframes.

Sure, after the EIB is out there is still GM. But they are still a big supplier and I can imagine that they won’t stand in the way when it comes to a solution for Saab.

It is still tough but it’s not as dark as some may see it.

11 thoughts on “Robert Collin on Saab and the Chinese”

  1. I have no hesitation in repeating my comment re the Swedish government lending SAAB enough to pay off the
    obstructive EIB – or, as that seems unlikely, to at least assist SAAB in finding a source for such a loan. It is the EIB`s intransigence that is the sticking point – is that down to a personality clash between someone there and VA? Because there is no other reason apparent.

  2. If SweGow doesn´t finally now read these signals about Saab´s great future and do all what they can to solve EIB out, there really is a hidden agenda not wishing Saab to survive. It is just above understanding that they don´t react!

    • I just hope they would realize it was the engineers and the entrepreneurs of Sweden that made the country what it is today.

      The service sector will be broke in the long run without balanced trade. Basic economics really.

  3. off topic;
    A french car magazine wrote today : VM is in Brazil and South America discussing with very rich poeple interresting to invest into SAAB.
    That’s good news, but I’m asking myself : What will the company look like with so many investors.

    • I would think that SAAB would look exactly the way they want to look: As a valuable long-term investment.

      For all of us, this implies that there are a lot of investors that actually believe that SAAB will not only resume production, but will become profitable. I look forward to the day that this will be looked at as a gross understatement.

    • Still, a problem could evolve. The Chinese probably have to acquire a 50+ % controlling interest in Saab, otherwise the Chinese government may decide not to permit the deal.


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