I’ve found three articles on the net talking about the Swedish delegation that visited Youngman in the last days. What they say is quite promising and shows that Youngman has a genuine intention regarding Saab and its future.
I would like to comment those three articles chronologically, as it shows how the story has developed.
The first of it is from just-auto.com and is from Thursday January 19. (thanks to mnztr for the link)
European supplier body CLEPA has arranged for a Chinese-speaking Bosch representative to be on today’s (19 January) Youngman-sponsored trip to China in a bid to evaluate its potential new EUR1bn offer for bankrupt Saab.
“We have arranged for Bosch to send an experienced [person] on China,” CLEPA CEO Lars Holmqvist told just-auto from Brussels. “The Bosch person there is Chinese-speaking, knows the environment [and] knows Youngman in and out.
The CLEPA, who is very interested in the future of Saab, has sent a experienced Chinese speaking person with the delegation. There can be only one reason for that, namely CLEPA wants to support the Youngman bid, but they want to be sure they not only get the PR-movie.
On the further paragraphs Mr. Homqvis, CLEPA CEO, becomes a little bit fuzzy about the 9-3, but at least we get a better insight on Youngman’s plans.
Holmqvist added Youngman’s new plan would not involve the contentious 9-4X and 9-5 licences, but would rather focus on developing the 9-3 model as well as Lotus variants and the Saab Phoenix architecture.
“The 9-3 is not a big risk to GM – there has to be a limit to how nasty they can be.”
Saab needed a licence from GM to build the 9-5 and the 9-4x, GM has clearly said that they won’t grant those licences to anyone any time. So those two models will be present in any book about Saab as the Spyker/SWAN Saabs. But the 9-3 seems to be different. I’ve read that not even Mr. Cain is really sure if Saab has build this car under licence of GM, or if GM was just acting like a Tier-1 supplier and delivering parts to Saab like Bosch, Denso, Hella, Continental,…
Let me tell one thing to Mr. Cain: GM made a contract with Spyker, somewhere in those contracts must be the answer to that question.
But coming back to the fuzziness of those two sentences from Mr. Holmqvist. On my eyes, the first time he talks about the 9-3, he is talking about the PhoeniX based NG 9-3, and you see that they also pretend to develop some cousins of that car with a Youngman badge on them. This is not new, on the first MoU between SWAN and YM, there was stated that Saab would develop cars based on Saab Technology for a Youngman brand.
Would this dilute the Saab brand? Yes, and no. Yes because anyone could say that saabs are nothing but Chinese cars on steroids, or that you can get all the Saab tech for a lower price buying the Chinese sibling. But it very much depends on how Youngman markets the different brands, you can have a Jaguar/Tata kind of combination or a Chevy/Cadillac combination, and I think the first one is the more successful one. It will also be quite interesting to see if Volvo also develops Geely branded cars based on the SPA-platform, and how this affects the now re-emerging Volvo brand.
But on the second sentence, when he talks about GM’s nastiness, it really isn’t clear to me if he is talking about the current 9-3, or the NextGen 9-3. I hope this time he talks about the current 9-3, because otherwise any plan from anyone would be worthless.
The second article is from ttela.se and was written on Friday, January 20.
Till now, YM was missing some data, but now they are ready for a concrete bid.
– Youngman has clear ambitions to buy Saab, says Trollhattan Mayor Annika Wennerblom, who is on his way home from a visit to the Chinese company.
Mrs. Wennerblom acts as official representative of the city of Trollhättan, and her statement is quite positive.
The third article is also from ttela.se and has been published today (Saturday, January 21).
– There is no doubt that Youngman has sufficient strength to buy and develop Saab Automobile with sustained production in Trollhättan, says Christer Palm, representing the Swedish and European Organisation for the subcontractors to the Financial Times.
The group, where also representative of the region and other stakeholders were included, visited several of Youngman’s factories in Jinhua and had talks to the owner Pang Qingian and his daughter Rachel Pang, president of Youngman Automotive. They presented a business plan for the visitors, and plans, according to DI, to start a Saab factory in Jinhua
It seems like Youngman impressed all of the represents of the delegation, which makes me stay positive on the outcome of the Saab affair, but later in the day we will hear what the receiver want to say in the press conference, I hope it is no bad thing, but will have to wait till this afternoon.
A small unconfirmed rumour for the end.
The german Saabblogger Tom from Saabblog.net talks about a third interested party, and he is not talking about M&M.
This third party wants to build some of their own cars on Trollhättan and also some Saabs based on a corporate platform.
Who is this third investor?
He says he knows about it, as people from that company have been reading his blog for the last few months, and his personal Djup Strupe confirmed him the existence of this third party.
By now he has only said, that this party is European, and comes from further south than Saab.
My bet is BMW, but it is only a rumour that nobody, besides Tom from Saabblog.net has been able to confirm.