Saab Gets a Second Look from Bidders

Beijing Auto seems particularly interested, but issues loom

By Brendan Moore

11.30.2009

Saab emblem blue backgroundEveryone is writing Saab’s obituary, but news of its death may be premature.

People familiar with the situation on the ground in Sweden and Detroit say that Beijing Auto, Merbanco Inc. and Renco Group Inc. all have been making inquiries about putting in a bid for Saab since the news that Koenigsegg Group AB was deep-sixing the deal.

Beijing Auto (Beijing Automotive Industry Holding Company) is making public statements that show considerable interest in Saab, with Beijing Auto president Wang Dazong telling reporters in China to “stay tuned” when he was asked whether the company would be bidding for Saab, and then commenting that Beijing Auto was prepared to “move fast” on Saab’s acquisition.

Beijing Auto was going to be Koenigsegg’s partner in the previous, and now failed, Saab acquisition scheme, and was also the Chinese auto company that previously desired to buy Opel, but was not among the finalists when GM made up the short list of preferred bidders for Opel. The deal, by the way, that GM then reneged on just a short time ago.

If GM cannot find a bidder for Saab soon, they will in all likelihood shut the Swedish automaker down. That much is known.

What is not known is what GM will do when Beijing Auto demands the rights to Saab’s intellectual property rights to technology and car designs as part of the purchase of the Swedish company, as they are expected to do. They wanted the same thing as part of their bid for Opel, and were rebuffed.

Geely, another large Chinese auto company, just agreed to purchase Volvo from Ford with the stipulation that Volvo would retain all of their technology rights.

GM may not have to cross that bridge if other bidders for Saab beside Beijing Auto step forward, but if that scenario does not occur, GM will have a very difficult decision to make regarding Saab and Beijing Auto.

COPYRIGHT Autosavant – All Rights Reserved

Author: Brendan Moore

Brendan Moore is a Principal Consultant with Cedar Point Consulting , a management consulting practice based in the Washington, DC area. He also manages Autosavant Consulting, a separate practice within Cedar Point Consulting. where he advises businesses connected to the auto industry. Cedar Point Consulting can be found at http://www.cedarpointconsulting.com.

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6 Comments

  1. I know Saaab fans want Saab to live, but it doesn’t seem wort it to sell Saab under those terms.

  2. At least one of those other possible bidders is an American company, which is a good sign for Saabists in the Unitedd States.

  3. Situation is not different from Saturn – someone has to build cars for SAAB. SAAB just puts its badge of GMs, Subarus and etc. Intelectual property for SAAB is the badge, just like Saturn. I cannot see GM or Subaru building SAABs for Chinese company.

  4. Or may be SAAB can be rebadged Samsung or Nissan?

  5. Humiliation galore for the once-proud Saab.

  6. Hope the ancient Chinese automotive gods are kinder to Saab than they were to MG.

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