Until now, the three new models weren't in Saab's product plan. The company says that the joint venture will help develop the 9-1, 9-6X and 9-7, though details are scarce at the moment. Comments made by Pang Qingnian, CEO of Youngman, point to the 9-6 and 9-7 as being geared toward the U.S. and Chinese markets while the 9-1 will be adapted more toward global tastes. Hit the jump for the full press blast.
Trollhättan, Sweden: Swedish Automobile N.V. (SWAN) and Saab Automobile AB (Saab Automobile) today announced the signing of final agreements with Pang Da Automobile Trade Co., Ltd. (Pang Da) and Zhejiang Youngman Lotus Automobile Co., Ltd. (Youngman), thereby converting the non-binding memorandum of understanding relating to the equity investment of Pang Da and Youngman announced on 13 June 2011 into binding agreements subject to regulatory and other third party approvals. Moreover, Saab Automobile announces a conditional agreement with Zhejiang Youngman Passenger Car Group Co., Ltd. (Youngman Passenger Car) on the formation of a Sweden-based joint venture company for the development of three new product Saab models (NPJV).
The non-binding MOU announced on 13 June 2011 between SWAN, Saab Automobile, Pang Da and Youngman in terms of which Pang Da and Youngman will make an equity investment in the total aggregate amount of EUR 245 million in SWAN have now been incorporated in binding agreements, while the parties continue working towards execution of binding agreements for a strategic alliance consisting of a tripartite distribution joint venture and a tripartite manufacturing joint venture for Saab-branded and child brand vehicles in China. The agreements are subject to approval from relevant authorities. The agreements allow for the return of Mr. Vladimir Antonov as a shareholder/financier of SWAN and Saab Automobile which the parties expect as soon as the parties at interest have cleared him.
The NPJV will be 50 percent owned by Saab Automobile and 50 percent by Youngman Passenger Car, and forms the foundation for an expansion of the Saab product portfolio with three models which until now did not form part of Saab Automobile's current and future product portfolio. As such the NPJV will focus on developing three completely new Saab vehicles: the Saab '9-1', Saab '9-6' and Saab '9-7'.
Within the development process of these three new vehicle lines, Saab Automobile will be responsible for controlling and managing the design, the development and testing process to the start of production and providing other necessary technical and quality control support. For this, Saab Automobile will source existing capabilities and expertise from its state-of-the-art technical development department in Trollhättan. Youngman Passenger Car will be responsible for providing the necessary financial investments in the joint venture.
The agreement on NPJV is also subject to approval from relevant authorities, which SWAN, Saab Automobile and Youngman Passenger Car hope to obtain timely. Victor Muller, CEO of SWAN and Saab Automobile said: "I am pleased to announce the signing of binding agreements (subject to obtaining regulatory approvals) with Pang Da and Youngman, as it underlines the confidence of all parties in a successful tripartite partnership. Establishing the New Product Joint Venture is a major step for both Saab Automobile and Youngman Passenger Car and marks the start of an exciting new partnership. This joint venture offers Saab Automobile the opportunity to develop models that were not envisaged nor funded in our original business plan: for instance, we will now be able to develop a small entry level Saab, a car that has long been on the top of our wish list."
Mr. Pang Qingnian, CEO of Youngman, added: "The agreement on the New Product Joint Venture brings together the best of both worlds, merging the industrial and financial strength of Youngman Passenger Car with the state-of-the-art technical expertise of Saab Automobile. The Saab '9-6X' and Saab '9-7' will be key to enhancing the prestige of the Saab brand to an even larger group of customers in China and the US, while the entry level Saab '9-1' will appeal to urban motorists around the globe."
Mr. Pang Qinghua, CEO of Pang Da, commented: "I am very happy to have signed binding agreements with our partners, which further feeds my confidence in a successful future for Saab Automobile. We were already impressed with Saab's current and planned product portfolio to date and with the addition of three new Saab models, the brand will be even better positioned to meet demand in markets around the world and China in particular."