Today a comment by Kevin Wale, who is president and managing director of GM’s China operation, appeared on Reuters. He basically confirms the statement we read on Friday. Here’s a quote from the Reuters article:
Wale reiterated a company spokesman’s comment that GM might block a deal by two Chinese companies to take over troubled Swedish carmaker Saab, in which GM still holds some preferred shares.
And further down…
Wale concurred on Monday, saying, “It doesn’t make sense for us to support any change that might adversely affect us. We use global architectures and those global architectures are used in a number of products we make at SGM.”
SGM, or Shanghai GM, also makes Cadillac models.
Reading those statements do they sound more like “there is a chance for this deal to go through” or “most likely we won’t approve it”? It’s up to you to judge that.
But on a personal note, I don’t believe that this is negotiation tactics by GM, this is clearly about business. As I mentioned in my comments on Friday I have a feel that there really is something in the contracts with SAIC that would make it difficult for GM to let the deal get through, even if they wanted. Quite clear that they don’t want another Chinese company (Youngman) to step into that for Shanghai GM very profitable market with the same IP. In my opinion the deal would have to change quite a bit to get approval from GM.
Can we blame GM for that? Not really. This is not just because GM wants to see Saab die as mentioned in some conspiracy theories, this is what almost every company would do in such a situation. I’m pretty sure Victor saw that coming and prepared for such a scenario.