Ladies and gentlemen, those of you preparing to leave the theater because you thought the Saab opera was over, well, take a seat. After sinking a fair bit of money into the troubled Swedish automaker while chasing the deal, Youngman isn't ready to walk away. According to Reuters, the Chinese firm is ready to make a new bid for the Swedish brand as soon as next week, and it could be worth more than a billion Euros. Stay with us, because as you might expect, it's a bit convoluted.

The door appeared closed on Youngman for good when General Motors, which engineered much of the technology in the 9-5 and 9-4X, said it wouldn't do a deal that risked harming its position in China (read: they feared they might lose their intellectual property rights). As it was, the Saab deal brokered with Youngman would make General Motors compete against another company for which GM was building cars and that was using GM technology. To get around that, it appears that Youngman has proposed buying Saab and not using GM tech, which, that's right, would mean walking away from the still-new 9-5 and 9-4X. Instead, Youngman would restart Saab production with a brand-new 9-3 (said to be the car in the grainy image above) and would hope to do it in as little as 15 weeks.

The Chinese company has Saab's Phoenix architecture in mind, which is ready to go and said to be essentially free of GM intellectual property. According to Just-Auto, Phoenix-based Lotus variants for China are also under consideration, but with Proton's pending sale to DRB-Hicom that plan seems a little unsure. A group of European auto suppliers headed by Bosch has traveled to China, on Youngman's dime, to investigate the possibilities and practicalities of just such a plan. As to how aggressive GM might to safeguard whatever interests it has in the Phoenix platform, the supplier-body CEO quipped, "The 9-3 is not a big risk to GM – there has to be a limit to how nasty they can be."

On top of that, there might be questions about how many of Saab's assets are still even available for purchase. Reuters said that engineering firm Semcon SMC.ST agreed to buy key Saab technology, but a report on fan site Saabs United counters that the sale was declined over factory utilization. Saabs United also says that a Youngman-built 9-3 might only be sold in China. The Youngman CEO and his daughter Rachel Pang are apparently due in Sweden next week to further the bidding process, but we should have more word on the Bosch-led supplier trip soon enough.


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  • 44 Comments
      drfnw
      • 2 Years Ago
      Phoenix is the right name for that platform if anything like this pans out.
        Krishan Mistry
        • 2 Years Ago
        @drfnw
        Yup, burned to death, yet somehow revived through its own ashes. How appropriate indeed.
      th0mb0ne
      • 2 Years Ago
      You da (young)Man! Somebody really needs to make a movie of this Saab soap opera when all this is done and over with.
      Frank
      • 2 Years Ago
      It really is a zombie company! It keeps coming back from the dead. That's not a criticism by the way. I would like to see them make it. Not sure about Chinese ownership. I would hope they would at least still be engineered and made in Sweden.
        aatbloke1967
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Frank
        Saab is in bankruptcy, but it isn't "dead" - that would occur once it goes into liquidation.
      kevsflanagan
      • 2 Years Ago
      As much as some might be hailing this as great I have to ask if Youngman does buy Saab and ditch all GM's tech. How soon could they possibly churn out the new 9-3? Yes they could most likely sell it quickly in China but EU and the US markets would require crash tests and other saftey checks which I highly doubt could be done and approved within a few weeks. That and you have to ask yourself are dealerships in the US willing to wait this out till a new 9-3 arrives? I can't see many stand alone dealerships waiting around waiting and hoping for the new car to show up.
        Bruce Lee
        • 2 Years Ago
        @kevsflanagan
        I don't think they mean that it'd be crash tested and approved within 15 weeks, that stuff takes plenty of time in China too it's just that they'd have something ready probably to show in 15 weeks. I suspect that they're getting all the suppliers over there to see if they can supply non-GM derived components that'll be easily compatible. A lot of cars are largely off the shelf so there might be easy non-GM intellectual property violating components that can be swapped to let them make the 9-3.
      Kevin Hooker
      • 2 Years Ago
      I want that new 93 so bad.
      Adrian Elliot
      • 2 Years Ago
      It literally never ends.
      Hellevectia
      • 2 Years Ago
      According to this article I found on Saab's Facebook page, Youngman intends to submit SEK5 billion in the bid for Saab and they intend to develop new models for the Phoenix platform. Also, a new 9-3 is expected to start production fifteen weeks after the agreement is signed. Full article here: http://www.foxbusiness.com/news/2012/01/19/youngman-to-submit-sek5-billion-bid-for-saab-report/ Don't know how credible Fox is but news is news.
      Jim
      • 2 Years Ago
      The 93 in the grainy image above is just what I am looking for. Here's praying they can pull it off. Those that never had one just don't understand. GM killed them by trying to take them up-market to someplace they just weren't.
      CarCrazy24
      • 2 Years Ago
      Wow, even I lost hope for a while now. If Youngman can pull this off, I will be stunned and delighted. Please bring the U.S this new 9-3, we can leave the 9-5 and 9-4 in the rearview mirror!
      Avinash Machado
      • 2 Years Ago
      The cat with nine lives.
      throwback
      • 2 Years Ago
      Saab's problem won't be solved by Youngman or anyone else. The problem Saab has is their fans only want to buy 99s and 900s. I'm sure there will be Saab fans who will disagree, but the sales figures don't lie. The notion that Saab can compete with Audi, BMW, Mercedes or any other premium/luxury brand is silly. They never competed with those brands even in their heyday. They appealed to a cretain demographic that has found their calling in other brands, notably Subaru.
        • 2 Years Ago
        @throwback
        [blocked]
        Alex740
        • 2 Years Ago
        @throwback
        I completely agree that Saab fans want smaller premium cars, they will never and should never compete with BMW and Merc. Fact is that most Saab owners defect to Audi, not Subaru, it's a proven fact, Saab announced the statistics a year back, so there is some room for up market but not all the way up. Although Audi fans love to put themselves in the same boat as BMW, the brand isn't quite there yet.
      aatbloke1967
      • 2 Years Ago
      I was reading about earlier today. It makes more sense to buy the company if it's liquidated, but it isn't in that position yet. I've said all along they would be better to find a different technology partner - which now appears to be the goal if news sources are to be believed - and develop a range of new products. If someone is interested in the true essence of what Saab is all about - which GM never did - then there will be hope for the company. Fingers crossed.
        • 2 Years Ago
        @aatbloke1967
        [blocked]
          Alex740
          • 2 Years Ago
          GM did nothing more for Saab then pay the bills to keep the lights on. To say GM completely killed Saab is false but to say GM did anything for Saab besides pull the plug is just as false. The market is ripe for small premium, fun to drive cars, right where Saab was 15 years ago, GM wanted them upmarket which was a mistake and did a crap job of it.
          aatbloke1967
          • 2 Years Ago
          SVX, I appreciate that you adore all things GM but it's high time you took you head out of the clouds. The 1993 900 developed by GM was the beginning of Saabs downfall. Why? Because the minute an American manufacturer gets their hands on a European marque they immediate apply their perception to it, which is always far from the true essence of what the product should be. The said mkii 900 was overpriced for a car which used a standard humdrum Opel Vectra A chassis. It wasn't a true Saab. By contrast, the 9000, developed with Fiat and one of the type four cars, was an enormous seller in Europe, as was the old 900 even when it was in the twilight of it's life. But Ford of Detroit also messed up Jaguar. The S Type was nothing but a ridiculous pastiche of the old mkii and S Type, a car which Big Ron would have driven in the 60s had he have been a manager instead of a fullback. But you can guarantee that Detroit had no clue whatsoever who Big Ron was. It's this essence in Europe that America always fails to understand, instead thinking that merely throwing money at something is the key to success. It isn't. g m did nothing for Saab other than slowly - but ever surely - strangle it.
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