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.