Today news broke that Youngman ceased their efforts to buy Saab. In a way we have become used to see them around as they were trying to take over a part or all of Saab for over a year now. But other than one would expect I cannot say that I am too sad to see them go. They may have been an option being a part owner as intended under SWAN but not in a full take over.
One thing that di.se mentions is that Youngman were not as reliable in keeping their promises as one would wish. Sure, last fall they sent money bit by bit to keep Saab afloat but only enough to avoid death. I don’t think this was to push Saab into bankrupcy, they knew pretty well that they might face some players who are much bigger and more attractive than they are. Rather, their behaviour draws me to the conclusion that they either faced troubles in getting proper financing or in dealing with the NDRC. Or even both.
Whatever reason it was they did not make a too trustworthy impression on me despite their attempt to give a positive impression in a number of interviews. In the end it left me with more questions than answers. An additional point was that all the collaborations and joint ventures Youngman’s car sector did not work out too well. A good example is that they registered the Chinese equivalent name of Lotus. You can imagine that Lotus was not too happy about that.
Being from China they would have faced maximum resistance from GM. It was never said clearly but the invisible arm of SAIC always played a major role in this game. They simply don’t want to see another competitor rise in the Chinese market. Even more as they might have built cars on the same platform as their own Shanghai brand.
My final point on Youngman is the lack of a proper network in the industry. Looking at Mahindra, they have been in collaborations with many automotive players around the world and own a number of companies in all fields of the car business. A huge benefit if they get to buy Saab and want to develop the company further. Being a big conglomerate, Mahindra has the means to absorb the cost of restarting Saab. For Youngman Saab would have been the main foot to stand on – which could easily have lead to a situation similar to the one we face right now.
Based on those obsevations I personally came to the conclusion that Mahindra is the only viable option in this process. It was said that they were favoured by the receivers, too and the departure of Youngman could well mean that a basic decision is already there with just some details to be figured out and contracts to be finalized.
On a sidenote: Yesterday Qoros was said to be interested in taking over Saab. While this is an easy guess given that many Saab employees found a new home there we dare to say that this is a rumor with no truth inside. I’d also regard to the part about the electrohybrid Chinese consortium in the di.se article as pure speculation.