Saab Believes Buyer of Whole Company Will Be Found
Meanwhile, GM works hard on a Plan B
By Brendan Moore
Saab is discussing the sale of the company with “serious prospective buyers”, but the window of opportunity for selling the company outright is shrinking rapidly just as negotiations between China’s Beijing Automotive Industry Holding Corp (BAIC) and GM regarding the sale of some of Saab’s assets “piecemeal” have picked up considerably.
The partial sale would involve all the production equipment and technology necessary to manufacture the older versions of the Saab 9-3 and the Saab 9-5 models. The production would take place in China after the equipment was relocated. BAIC has been adamant in its recent public statements that it does not want the current production hub in Trollhattan, Sweden as part of a deal.
Dutch supercar maker Spyker is interested in purchasing Saab, and so is a US-based investment company called Renco, but it is going to be very difficult to put a deal together with any prospective buyer before the end of the month, which GM has stated to be their “drop dead” date (no bad pun intended) for resolution of the Saab situation. GM has stated repeatedly that if no buyer is found by then, Saab will be shut down and liquidated.
GM showed no mercy in the recent shuttering of Saturn and Pontiac, and is not expected to show any towards Saab, either. Many auto industry analysts now consider the partial sale of Saab and its assets a far more likely scenario than finding a buyer for the whole company before the deadline.
Saab’s closure would mean a loss of over 3000 jobs in Sweden, but the Swedish government has also made it clear that they are not willing to provide aid to the shrinking and money-losing Saab, leaving the company with only the option of finding a buyer soon, or, disappearing from the automotive landscape.
BAIC, although a large Chinese auto manufacturer, does not even sell under it’s own brand. The acquisition of the tooling and technology for the 9-3 and 9-5 models is seen as a very important step in their efforts to build their own vehicles.
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