According to Western media reports that have been repeated in Chinese media reports, it appears that Saab’s current owners are deep in talks with three Chinese courtiers, Beijing Auto, Youngman and also Jiangsu Yueda are interested in saving Saab from the hangman’s noose.
Beijing Auto seems like the most likely partner for Saab as they have already purchased the last generation of Saab platforms, notably the 93 and 95 models which they are now developing into their own C60 and C70 models, there is also a pure electric vehicle in development as well.
Youngman are a privately owned company in Zhejiang province, to most outsiders they seem like a relatively small company on the surface but once you start to scratch away at their sub companies and joint ventures you will realize that they are actually a gigantic company. Youngman started as a tractor making company but evolved into buses, trucks, coaches and buses and then then automobiles, they have joint ventures with MAN trucks and also with Proton and Lotus to build Proton’s in China.
The third company is Jiangsu Yueda, this company was set up in the 70′s by the local government of Yan Cheng as a way to provide jobs for the local economy. Yueda’s business scope is not exactly small, they have more than 20 sub companies and nearly 30,000 employees, their total assets are worth more than 20 billion RMB. Their main businesses include machine manufacturing, fabrics, clothes making, new energy, and an investment arm. They’ve also set up JV’s with Hyundai, Carrefour, Fuji Heavy Industries and Germany’s Aunde Group. Yueda’s own major automotive investment is Kia, they were actually the original partner to Kia in China before Dongfeng bought into the joint venture, it was originally known as Yueda-Kia but became Dongfeng Yueda Kia later one.
So who is most likely to win the heart of Saab? It seems that we have written the results in decending order of possibility, BAIC appears to be the biggest winner of any Saab deal, its not clear why BAIC didn’t get into Saab in the first place but it is likely that SAIC, GM’s local partner in China, didn’t want to let a local rival get access to the latest platforms that they were already making. Now that Saab is a ship stuck on rocks, GM might not be so choosy as to who they prefer as a partner. The second biggest guess is Youngman, they are cash rich from their years of bus and truck making, but their local car making abilities have been poor, by grabbing hold of Saab technology and branding they could shoot straight to the top of the Chinese car makers. The final possibility is Yueda, a big group but with little automotive history, but this might work in Saab’s favor if they want to remain an autonomous company.
A final decision on who will be Saab’s savior is likely to be made on Monday the 2nd May, stay tuned for more information.