First, as Victor texted from his cell phone from China, “This is it!”
And as our own commenter Bravada essentially said, “It’s time to Haw-tai!”
Basically the deal has two arms.
- It gives Saab a very strong alliance in the Chinese market, not only to sell their cars in a vast dealer network, but also as a major opening for possible technology sharing and partnerships. This should help defray future development costs, especially for things like diesel engines which Hawtai has proven to be quite good at, and RedJ points out should give Saab access to the VM V6 diesel engine family again. In fact, at least a dozen manufacturers in China were vying to tie up with Saab, but they chose Hawtai because of their partnership with Italian VM Motori and their new advanced diesel engine plant.
- It allows Saab a lifeline to continue operating with mid-term financing subject to approval from the Chinese government, EIB and Swedish NDO.
- Many have noted in comments that the NG 9-3 will be built in China at a Hawtai factory exclusively for Chinese production. This was confirmed to several reporters at the press conference. “Production in China is for China, production in Trollhättan is for the rest of the world,” said Muller. “We believe we will sell more Saabs and if they are to be exported from Sweden, we will need more employees in Trollhättan,” he went on.
- Muller expects the first payment to go through within the next 10 days, the rest of the €150 million will need to be approved by the Chinese government, EIB, and Swedish NDO and take 6-12 weeks. Any deal over $100 million US needs to be approved by the Chinese government, and China Car Times believes the deal should go through. According to Unni Jerndal, communications director at the National Debt Office, it has not received an application for ownership assessment yet, but as soon as it comes in they will try to work as quickly as they can. Fortunately the Gemini loan gives them a little breathing room.
- According to Lars Carlstrom, Antonov was heavily involved in Saab’s deal though he hasn’t received approval to be part of Saab by the EIB just yet. “We have been eyeing Hawtai for a while and know about their activities. What we have learned is very, very positive,” he told just-auto.com.
- The Spyker (soon to be Swedish Automobile) board will go from 3 seats to 4, adding a spot for Hawtai at the table.
- By having the Chinese as part owners (up to 29.9%), that means they have a vested interest in Saab’s success, not just their own. This means they should be much more willing to develop technology on Saab’s behalf. When Saab makes money, they do too– this can’t be overlooked, and is one of the hidden benefits of the deal.
- Also noted in comments by Niklas from an SvD interview, Victor Muller says that the current contract does not allow Hawtai to use Saab technology in their cars, but they are open to that possibility in the future. This means more cash for Saab, in essence this extends their potential lifeline even further.