Ny Teknik have an interesting article on how Saab could produce cars without being bothered by GM:
GM can not stop Saab, or the person who buys the company from building a new generation cars. All the basic technology is controlled by Saab. Thus opens the way for Chinese Youngman and Pang Da.
The next generation of Saab cars are based on Phoenix, a kind of basic drawing and basic design that can be used for a number of new car models. It is controlled by Saab, unlike today’s cars, which GM owns a large part of the technology.
They talk about the new 9-3 that is under development:
The first car that Saab will build on the Phoenix architecture is the next generation 9-3, internally known as the 540th More than half the car comes from outside the Saab, including a number of components and systems that GM can now stop. But it’s not a disaster. At worst, forced Saab to find new suppliers to the corresponding components. These are about 500 part numbers, less than ten percent of the total number of components in the 540th
Nor is it certain that GM will ban the Saab to use these components. In its statement last week highlighted GM’s spokesman James Cain that is open to continue to supply engines, transmissions and other components to Saab on commercial terms.
Basically I see their point. Skip the GM models and continue with cars developed on the Saab-owned Phoenix platform. GM may even still supply some if not most parts for the next generaion 9-3. They could even keep supplying the 9-4x as it is built in Mexico in a GM plant. Should be not too dangerous regarding IP, maybe adapting the contracts a bit would be enough. The lack of a 9-5 – not sure if that would be a huge problem for now. The 9-3 has always been the bread and butter model.
All that sounds reasonable, but do Pang Da and Youngman have the funds to build up Saab from that point? To finance development of an entire range quickly without making money from producing the current models? Not that I’d completely doubt that but it would be a even bigger task than the original plan.
Yes it is possible, but it would most likely demand even more money than the Chinese had planned to invest. Most of all, though, it is a tempting thought.
What do you think? Have your say in comments!