Big trouble is brewing in little China. While Swedish automaker Saab was has agreed to sell itself to Pang Da Automobile Trade Co. and Zhejiang Youngman Lotus Automobile Co. for what seemingly amounts to a pittance ($142 million and up to $854 million in long-term funding), General Motors, Saab's former parent in the United States, is apparently none too pleased.

In a statement by spokesman Jim Cain, General Motors noted the following: "GM would not be able to support a change in the ownership of Saab which could negatively impact GM's existing relationships in China or otherwise adversely affect GM's interests worldwide."

How would GM's Chinese efforts be negatively impacted? Remember that Saab's current line of vehicles uses major structures and technologies developed from The General's latest parts bins. Consider, too, that GM has a major deal with SAIC, the largest automaker in China. If Pang Da and Youngman were able to procure GM's intellectual property and technologies as a result of the Saab purchase – especially at cut-rate pricing – SAIC and its costlier joint venture with General Motors would look more than a bit out of place.

According to Reuters, General Motors likely still has enough control of Saab to squash the pending sale to its would-be Chinese owners if it is in the company's best interest to do so. Plus, the Chinese authorities have yet to put their stamp of approval on the purchase of Saab. In other words, this already long and impossibly complicated story continues to get even more so.


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  • 75 Comments
      avatar-ds
      • 3 Years Ago
      I can't believe Saab was sold without proper long-term arrangement for the transfer and/or licensing of all the tech necessary to manufacture its vehicles... If that is the case, and GM's statement suggests so, it would be only a matter of time before GM would start to blackmail any further developments on the part of its re-born competitor. So it is obvious now that GM were consciously selling a lemon to Spyker, probably being quite sure Saab would soon go out of business, and also laying a back-up plan to sabotage it out of existence in case it manages to survive. What a scam!
      CarSnaab
      • 3 Years Ago
      Referencing TTAC? Really? You might as well reference SaabsUnited commentors as well, since those are the two extremes of Saab fandom.
      kevsflanagan
      • 3 Years Ago
      I was waiting for the other shoe to drop and here it is.
      landypd5
      • 3 Years Ago
      SAAB DIE ALREADY!
      aatbloke1967
      • 3 Years Ago
      It's interesting to read the xenophobic idiots spouting on about how GM saved Saab. The trouble is, since they're too young to be taxpayers, they don't understand the discomfort taxpayers had with saving the arse of GM itself.
        Camaroman101
        • 3 Years Ago
        @aatbloke1967
        its interesting to see how many people blindly assume things about people they don't even know. i do pay taxes and with all the govt. waste and spending this was complete drop in the bucket. not to mention the fact that it was LOAN and even if it was never to be paid back it was worth it to save all the jobs that gm and chrysler provide directly and indirectly not only in the US but across the planet.
          aatbloke1967
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Camaroman101
          Yet how interesting it was that such a socialist move on such a grand scale was made in the very country in which the word socialist puts more fear in people than the Antichrist.
      • 3 Years Ago
      [blocked]
        SaabStory
        • 3 Years Ago
        You might be too young Phillip. That statement was a reference to the movie "Big Trouble in Little China" http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0090728/
        tump
        • 3 Years Ago
        Phillip, that line was a reference to the classic 80's movie of the same name: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0090728/
        • 3 Years Ago
        [blocked]
      Kepe
      • 3 Years Ago
      Well wth is this? GM wants nothing to do with Saab, and now they are going to stop someone else from buying it? It's like I threw something perfectly usable in the trash bin, and then guard the bin so that no one else can get the thing I threw away. If GM doesn't want someone to buy Saab, then they should buy it themselves. Otherwise, f*ck off and let Saab decide what to do to itself.
        KaTooM
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Kepe
        That's all fine and good, but GM and Saab still partner up on the production of Saab vehicles. GM should have cut the cord more definitively when they off-loaded the brand so they wouldn't have to worry about tech leaks.
          • 3 Years Ago
          @KaTooM
          [blocked]
        tump
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Kepe
        Unfortunately for you, SAAB is currently nothing without GM's IP.
        gary
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Kepe
        I don't see it that way. Whatever you think about their stewardship of Saab over the years, GM went out of their way at the end to give Saab a puncher's chance to survive. The prudent decision in the BK would have been to just $hitcan the brand like Pontiac. I'm sure the "automotive task force" wanted it. But some influential people in GM felt an obligation to the Saab (as well as Saturn and Hummer) employees and dealers and persuaded the task force to let them survive if new owners could be found. GM got $74 million in cash for Saab, and $364mil in "preferred shares" which they had to know were likely to end up being worthless. They probably spent nearly $74 million in accounting and legal fees brokering the deal. In other words, they pretty much gave Saab away. And they even "loaned" them proprietary intellectual property necessary to continue to manufacture vehicles until Saab could engineer replacement models on their own, or at least find another manufacturer to buy technology from. When it didn't work, I can understand GM's reluctance to let that technology transfer to a different owner who is much more likely to use it to compete head-to-head with GM. And make no mistake about it, Pang Da and Zhejiang see no value in Saab without that technology. They want that technology more than they want to actually save the brand.
        Xedicon
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Kepe
        Sadly it's a case where GM is getting mad bank from other interests in China for their tech, and here comes a competing group that will get almost all the same tech for a fraction of the cost. In order to keep relations on par and continue to get said mad bank, GM will all but have to kill the deal to keep their friends in China happy. The legal / moral implications of this whole situation is mind boggling to say the least, but I personally think all roads lead to the end of SAAB.
      sinistro79
      • 3 Years Ago
      Well done, GM! The Chinese government and Russia are already using cyber espionage to steal US technology secrets. This looks like another avenue that the Chinese are using to gain US-based intelligence on the cheap. Yes, it's better than stealing but it is still in distaste. If GM wants them to have access to the fruitions of their R&D, then they should be willing to pay for it like everyone else.
        • 3 Years Ago
        @sinistro79
        [blocked]
          • 3 Years Ago
          [blocked]
          • 3 Years Ago
          [blocked]
          aatbloke1967
          • 3 Years Ago
          Cmicasa with his usual unique brand of liquid excrement.
          aatbloke1967
          • 3 Years Ago
          Cmicasa, you're not old enough to pay taxes yet, but when you do, you might understand the ire of many older taxpayers who saved General Motors. Just in case you forgot - assuming you ever knew - GM sold Saab to Spyker, and while GM owns a stake of Spyker itself, it has no controlling interest in the company. Furthermore, the tech supply agreement wasn't on any condition of Spyker retaining ownership of any determinate amount of time. General Motors continues to display the same lack of foresight which brought its former self so close to oblivion in the first place. Your turn, kiddo ... I see you remain as xenophobic and remedial as ever.
          • 3 Years Ago
          [blocked]
          • 3 Years Ago
          [blocked]
          aatbloke1967
          • 3 Years Ago
          40! Ha! If there's one thing you're good for, it's a laugh. Yes indeed, GM holds preference shares ... in Spyker, not Saab. The sale was a cash/share deal in the holding company. But preference shares do not have voting rights, they only command preferential dividend payouts. I don't realistically expect children to understand the concept of corporate law or structure though. Still, you carry on living in your fantasy world! Hopefully it keeps you off the streets and your parents are grateful.
      • 3 Years Ago
      [blocked]
        Autoblogist
        • 3 Years Ago
        Saab wasn't in great shape when GM bought them, if anything GM kept them alive for 2 decades.
          JFT77
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Autoblogist
          SAAB weren't in great shape 20 years ago, and the GM years pretty much put a nail in thier coffin. If they survive it will be a miracle, and a huge two fingers up to GM
      JFT77
      • 3 Years Ago
      GM, just go and do one, you messed the company up by lazy management and little to zero product offensive, too little, too late, now you are complaining!?
        carguy23dt
        • 3 Years Ago
        @JFT77
        The problem though is they don't want to share their technology more than they have to. My question is to you, how would you feel if you came up with a fantastic idea and someone used it against you when you spent hours and who knows how much money to prefect it? We all know what the answer probably is!
          • 3 Years Ago
          @carguy23dt
          [blocked]
      Shiftright
      • 3 Years Ago
      Screw you GM.
      budwsr25
      • 3 Years Ago
      I have said this before. GM needs to take SAAB back and build the cars already.
        Tanooki2003
        • 3 Years Ago
        @budwsr25
        NO! Absolutely not! GM was never good for Saab to begin with.
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Tanooki2003
          [blocked]
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