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2011 Saab 9-5 – Click above for high-res image gallery

Back in the fall, General Motors was desperate to sell Saab to just about anyone with a few hundred million dollars and (hopefully) some car-making knowledge. Chinese automaker BAIC repeatedly came up as a potential bidder for the company, but in the end it appeared China's fifth largest automaker was only interested in buying up some aging pieces (see: outgoing Saab 9-3 and 9-5) of the Swedish automaker. Dutch specialty car maker Spyker eventually picked up Saab for a song, but it appears the ultra luxury car maker could have a very interested donor from the home of the Great Wall.

The Associated Press reports that BAIC CEO Wang Dazong told Swedish business daily Dagens Industri that his company has "a durable interest in deepening our partnership with Saab and we are ready to invest in the company." BAIC had even already reportedly signed a contract to begin selling Saab models through its dealer network in China.

We're not sure why BAIC wasn't able to reach a deal with GM to purchase Saab, but it appears the Chinese automaker is still very interested in deepening its ties with the Swedish automaker now that The General is out of the picture. And if Saab wants to increase sales by 120,000 and make a profit by 2012, we're thinking added exposure to the quickly expanding China market could be a very good thing.



[Source: Associated Press]


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  • 20 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      The only way I see Saab surviving is if the Chinese invest. They need more than what they have now. I hope it works out.
      • 5 Years Ago
      The 9-5 looks very good. I hope that Saab thrives no matter who invests in them.
      • 5 Years Ago
      If this does for SAAB what the Cayenne did for Porsche, good news.
      • 5 Years Ago
      BAIC likely sees that it can buy into Saab and get world class chassis engineering (GM epsilon) for way less money than it could engineer the chassis for itself.

      "Yes Spyker, we only need a copy of those engineering specs and drawings to... ummm... eh hemm... help YOU make your product better."

      This technology transfer is likely the reason GM and BAIC couldn't come to terms in the first place.
      • 5 Years Ago
      As someone who actually works for a company that manufactures in China I would disagree that the main issue is the intellectual property. At least from the experience in my industry I think it would be good for Saab to work with BAIC.

      I think BAIC can build a car and even has the ability to manufacture individual components of good quality but can they do what SAAB does, at least now? Probably not, these Chinese companies often don't understand exactly what Western Car companies or consumers want.

      The Advantage for BAIC is that SAAB can provide guidance on the exact function,specification and quality of various components. By providing quality/component guidelines SAAB could do alot to help BAIC build better cars by improving the development process and making BAIC aware of what it needs to develop a car that can be sold in the US or Europe.

      More importantly as the Chinese automarket matures and it's consumers become more demanding the transfer of development know how from SAAB to BAIC could help BAIC immensely in it's own core market.

      One advantage SAAB would have working with BAIC is the China's size Being such a small country Sweden may not be able to produce everything that SAAB needs to manufacture a car. In any case SAAB must outsource to foreign suppliers for key components. Since China is now the world's largest automarket you have a huge choice about who will produce your product, this means that in theory the Chinese supplier market should be far more competitive than anything available in a small or even a large western industrialized nation.

      Another advantage to SAAB is that by working with BAIC they wouldn't have to interface with Chinese sub suppliers directly and could use BAIC and their staff to do alot of the monotonous and tedious work associated with working with subvendors. Also BAIC's staff speak Chinese so SAAB wouldn't need to build their own purchasing/QA department in China.

      Of course let's not forget cost, it's alot cheaper to manufacture in China than it is in Sweden. Being able to shave 20-30% off vehicle cost is no small matter.

      Since China is the world's largest automarket, and an immense source of profits for both GM and Delphi, BAIC could offer SAAB a way of entering the Chinese market. Whether it's through a joint production agreement or SAAB selling their vehicles through BAIC's dealer network SAAB could reap enormous benefits from working with BAIC in the Chinese domestic market.

      Seeing Chinese manufacters first hand I have no doubts that if SAAB works with BAIC that BAIC will make some serious mistakes. But this is part of the learning process, after the first generation these Chinese manufacturers will be able to build something much closer to SAAB standards with far fewer problems. Make no mistake however the learning process could be a very painful one for SAAB and BAIC but in the end a partnership could be extremely worthwhile for both firms.
      • 5 Years Ago
      This would be a good thing for Saab.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Compare to Volvo...I don't think Saab is worthy to purchase.
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