Saab Signs Contract with CATC For China Import

Hot off the presses from Spyker:

Zeewolde, The Netherlands, 25 March 2011 – Spyker Cars N.V. (Spyker) announces that Saab signed an agreement with China Automobile Trading Co. LTD (CATC) regarding the import of Saab vehicles for the Chinese market. The contract is the formalization of the memorandum of understanding (MOU) with CATC, which was signed and publicly announced in December 2010.

Read moreSaab Signs Contract with CATC For China Import

Welcome Saab Club China

I got a note from a guy named Kai Chen today letting me know that he’s just set up a website – Saab Club China.

I know we have a few readers from China that check in here and I will never forget how pleasantly surprised I was to see the great support that came out of China during the sale of Saab.

It’s great to see a Saab club website starting up in China, a place where Chinese enthusiasts will be able to get Saab news in their native language instead of struggling along with my occasionally tortured writings.

Don’t stop visiting here, though, OK?

News: Saab 9-3 replacement to show at Frankfurt 2011

Trollhattan’s local newspaper, TTELA, have a report this afternoon speaking about several issues concerned with Saab. Most notable amongst them is the possible vehicle scheduling for the Frankfurt Motor Show, which will be held in September 2011.

From TTELA (Googletrans):

Saab can provide a first glimpse of the next generation 9-3 in the fall. This from Spyker CEO Victor Muller, who talked about future plans to a German motor magazine.

…..[the] Next 9-3, Saab’s most important model, will come next year. But as early as this autumn’s large Frankfurt International Motor Show, visitors will have a first glimpse of the car, according to Victor Muller speaking to German magazine AutoGazette.

Victor Muller says that in the 9-3 we will see Saab’s first hybrid engine and a pure electric car.


TTELA also write about sales expectations in China:

In 2011, it may be about 2000-3000 cars sold and may double next year. Looking further ahead, and with the help of the next Saab 9-3, hope Victor Muller to sales exceeding 10,000 cars annually in China.

Thanks to Henrik S for the link!

Press Release: Saab Automobile to team up with CATC for China import

This wasn’t really expected until next year, but as things tend to do at the moment, it came out while I was sleeping 🙂

It’s great news because it opens the door for Saab in China once again, but inroads will be small to begin with as the real benefits from being in China come when you can manufacture there.


Saab Automobile to team up with CATC for China import

  • Saab sets up its own organization in China
  • Saab Automobile and CATC agree in principal on import deal for Saab cars and parts for Chinese market
  • Beijing-based CATC established operator in Chinese automotive sector
  • Major step to establish Saab brand in China as expansion of Saab sales operations continues

Trollhättan, Sweden: Saab Automobile today announced a major step in the expansion of its sales operations by announcing a planned agreement with China Automobile Trading Co. LTD (CATC) regarding the import of Saab vehicles and spare parts for the Chinese market. By signing a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with CATC, Saab re-establishes a firm footing for the brand in the largest car market in the world.

Beijing-based CATC is a government-owned company with many years’ experience in the automotive business and will play an important role in the new Saab organisation in China. Under the MOU, CATC will, on behalf of Saab, assume responsibility of the import of Saab cars and parts to China. A contract sealing the agreement is expected to be signed in the first quarter of 2011, with official sales starting in July 2011.

CATC will serve as an official service provider to Saab China, a sales company that will be established in the coming period. Saab China will eventually take over all distribution and after sales responsibilities in China from Shanghai GM, thus far responsible for Saab sales in China. Saab China will maintain a dealer network that is initially set to comprise around ten dealers.

Announcing the agreement, Saab Automobile CEO Jan Åke Jonsson said: “This agreement is vital for Saab, as it will be the foundation to develop a stronger presence in what is now the largest car market in the world. I am confident that CATC will prove to be the perfect partner for us as we revamp our sales activities in the Chinese market.

“Saab sees strong sales potential in China and we are confident that our product offering will be attractive to both existing and new customers in the market. We look forward to re-establishing the Saab brand in China next year with exciting new products like the new 9-5 Sedan and the 9-4X crossover vehicle.”

Inside Line: Saab to build in Russia, sell in China

Right now I’d rate Inside Line’s accuracy when it comes to Saab stories as “questionable”. We all remember the Michelle Krebs story from a month or so ago, right? Auto Observer is Inside Line’s cousin so we have to wonder if the family gene for accuracy has been carried on or skipped.

That said…..

Inside Line are running a story today that makes one or two interesting claims.

Swedish automaker Saab is considering expanding in Russia and China in the near future, through the establishment of its own production facilities as well as resumption of distribution in both countries.

In the case of Russia, according to Jan-Ake Johnson, managing director of Saab, the new plant might be established in the Far East. Earlier this year, Russian media also reported about the plans of Spyker, new owner of Saab, to build a plant in the Kaliningrad region for the production of Saab models with a total capacity of 10,000 cars per year.

According to some Russian analysts, the new plant may specialize in the production of new Saab models including the 9-3 sedan for the Russian, Ukrainian and Kazakh markets, priced no higher than $12,000.

To put these reports into perspective, I’ll have to take you back in time a little.

The young Russian banker, Vladimir Antonov, was officially excluded from the Saab purchase by decree of General Motors, but it’s fair to say that unofficially, he has fingers in various pies.

Earlier this year, Antonov spoke to several publications about Saab, talking about his plans to build Saabs in Kaliningrad – cars that were based on some of Saabs older technology that hadn’t been sold to BAIC.

Inside Line manage to include Jan-Ake Jonsson in their article, above, however there’s no direct quote from him about production in Russia, just an invocation about producing them in “the Far East” (which is a long way away if you’re talking about Russia’s far east. I wonder if Sarah Palin will be able to see the factory 🙂 – sorry.).

The only quote I’ve seen from Jan-Ake Jonsson about Antonov’s plans for Russian production played the plans down a little.

Of course, Russia is an emerging market which is interesting for Saab. But I can not comment on the substance of what he has said. I have just read what he said and has not spoken to him myself, “said Jan-Ake Jonsson.

Bear in mind, that was back in April and a lot of water has flowed under the bridge since then. Inside Line could have spoken to the man himself but just not included a direct quote.

Cranking out some older-architecture Saabs for Russia and “the Stans” might well be a good little earner. As long as it doesn’t hurt the prospects of Saab selling their new models to Russia’s nouveau riche.

For the moment, I’ll place this in the wait and see basket.


And in the same article, about China:

At the same time in China, Saab is planning to open 10 to 15 dealerships, under a single network, which is expected to allow it to sell up to 5,000 cars in the country a year. In addition, there is also a possibility of launching the production of a new generation of 9-3 sedan in this country in 2012.

Can’t come soon enough.


And completely unrelated, but whilst we’re talking Antonov……

His Snoras Bank are sponsoring the Lotus Renault F1 team next year, which are part-owned by Genii Capital (who were one of the contenders looking to buy Saab).

Friday Night Snippets

Our Saab 9000 has, as predicted, been written off by our insurers.

Despite the inevitability of someone calling me a goose, I’m accepting this decision and have now started the search for a replacement. The criteria: inexpensive, preferably another 9000 due to cargo needs, decent condition and acceptable mileage.

This one seems to fit the bill. I drove it a few days ago and whilst the brakes feel a little spongy and the steering a little rubbery, the price and condition are right. It’ll be the first time in years I’ve owned a Saab with a cloth interior, though – which is not a bad thing, just different.

I’m getting it looked over early next week. Hopefully everything checks out OK. If not, it looks like I’ll have to swallow the extra $1,000 it costs to head off to the mainland to look for an Anni.


According to Gasgoo, the Saab 9-4x could be the first of the new generation Saabs to hit the Chinese market next year….

Swedish carmaker Saab, now owned by Dutch auto maker Spyker, will start selling cars in China, Russia, Brazil and Mexico in the first half 2011. Its small luxury crossover, the new Saab 9-4X will probably be the first model to be put on the Chinese market, where SUVs are the most beloved, reported Friday, citing Adrian Hallmark, Saab’s executive director of sales.

I’m a little dubious on this one, for a couple of reasons. First, there’s the Adrian Hallmark citation. Hallmark’s resignation was announced last month, though he doesn’t start at Jaguar until December and could still be tying up loose ends.

Also, how are they going to enter the Chinese market in the first half of 2011 when their supposed first vehicle, the Saab 9-4x, won’t going sale in countries outside North America until August?

Chinese Saab fans – I think you’ll get the 9-5 and 9-3 before the beloved crossover (which is how I think the 9-4x should be referred to from now on 🙂 ).


Swedish Automotive commentator, Matt Carlson, thinks that a lot of the doom and gloom permeating Saab press reports is a tad premature.

It’s nice to see someone there looking at the bigger picture and acknowledging all that Saab has been up against this year. Carlson thinks Saab need to rebuild confidence over the next six months and a turnaround will need to be evident during Spring.

Fair call. I’d give them until summer, when the 9-5 combi should come.


Speaking of Sweden, it’s cold in Trollhattan right now. Spare a thought for the little Trolls….

Thanks to Tim and Mioh

Saab to lock in sales for China, Russia, and share Phoenix platform with others

There were a few news-ish pronouncements made during the LA Auto Show that didn’t receive a lot of airtime here on Saabs United because of the sheer volume of news and the decision to concentrate most on the Saab 9-4x.


Sales organisations for China and Russia

It was mentioned in a couple of interviews, but most notably at Saab’s LA Auto Show press conference introduction for the Saab 9-4x.

During that press conference, Jan-Ake Jonsson mentioned that Saab would make announcements soon with regards to Russia and China:

Before the end of the year, we will sign agreements and create solutions for distribution in the very important markets of China and Russia.

China and Russia will join the 51 other countries where Saab are currently selling, or setting up market solutions.


Sharing of the Phoenix vehicle architecture

This was first mentioned on site in relation to an interview that Victor Muller did with John MacElroy from Autoline Detroit.

CAR Magazine also have some information about it from an interview they did with both VM and JAJ:

Saab won’t only buy in technology from other manufacturers, but will sell its own Phoenix platform (which will underpin the next 9-3) to car companies as well.

…..Both execs are adamant that Saab can survive at a volume of 100,000 sales per year, but to do so it is crucial (as it is for every manufacturer) to drive down Saab’s break-even point.

One way of doing this will be flogging its Phoenix platform, offsetting the development costs and adding millions to the company coffers.

Reuters has more….

The company is talking to potential partners, Muller said, but he declined to name any. Muller said the company is in talks with “a few” potential partners to share its new Saab 9-3 platform.


Finally, something we already knew, but it’s good to see in print again anyway….

The estate version of the current 9-5, which Muller calls ‘gorgeous’, will be unveiled at the Geneva motor show in March 2011 and UK sales will commence in July 2011.

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