By on December 4, 2009

A few days ago I captured some news from Swedish Aftonbladet.se that Beijing Auto (BAIC) is buying Saab’s now to be replaced 9-5 technology. Even though the Koenigsegg-Saab deal fell apart, and BAIC were a part of the investor group, the Chinese has not given up the idea to build Saabs in China. At the time I couldn’t find any other reports on this, and wondered wether Aftonbladet had done some creative journalism, but yesterday, Nyteknik.se reported the same news, citing their own sources. They’ve even confronted Saab’s spokesperson Gunilla Gustavs, but of course she can not, will not comment on that.

According to the Swedish newssites, BAIC’s technicians never left Trollhättan after the deal broke down. BAIC’s plans are to buy the manufacturing equipment for the current 9-5 (which have just been dismanteled in the Trollhättan factory) and also aquire the equipment for the cast-iron Södertälje engines sitting in the 9-5 and old 9-3, and then to build 9-5s in Beijing. Allegedly, BAIC have agreed to pay SEK 1 billion, of the three billion they had put in the Konigsegg Group pot, for this deal. Aftonbladet.se states Saabsunited and aftonbladet’s own sources within Saab as sources for this information.
The 9-5s will be built in BAIC’s factory in Beijing, and sold as Beijing or Great Wall – not as Saabs. BAIC has also expressed interest in using the remaining SEK 2 Billion to invest in future Saab models, and are open to partnership with other interested buyers of Saab, like Spyker, or Renco Group, which reportedly are interested in stepping into the broken deal (under the right circumstances, of course).

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21 Comments on “BAIC Buys Saab 9-5 Tooling...”


  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    Man, it’s like the car will never die.  It came in 1997, didn’t it?

    • 0 avatar
      Stingray

      It’s good for some so to say emergin markets. As I said before, I’d buy it.
      In fact, I’m telling my bosses to buy some discontinued platform to produce it here and somehow reduce our technological dependence.

  • avatar
    dlfcohn

    If we assume the folks who run BAIC are not silly, and this story is accurate, then it says volumes about:
    1.) The quality of cars presently being produced by China’s domestic manufacturers and
    2.) The likelihood that they will be able to put a competitive product into western markets in the next 5-10 years.
     

  • avatar
    Sinistermisterman

    If the Chinese can start producing cars of Saab like quality and at Chinese prices, then even the likes of Hyundai will have to start worrying.

  • avatar
    Mr Carpenter

    Having old production equipment and designs isn’t much use when you don’t have “the cachet” of a name to go along with it.

    Come on.  Who goes out looking for Kymco motor cycles purposely instead of Honda, Suzuki, Kawasaki or Harley-Davidson?  Nothing against Kymco, but Taiwanese motorcycles don’t (yet) have name recognition in North America.

    Likewise can you imagine trying to sell cars branded “Beijing” in the United States?! 

    Especially after next year when the second leg of the Greatest Depression kicks in. 

    (Did anyone else see the over-reaction in the perceived value of the dollar due to the supposed unemployment rate being 10% rather than 10.2% today?)  Gold is off nearly $40 an ounce (which means it gave up a “whole” week and a half of rapid and massive gains, corresponding to the collapse of the value of the US Dollar vs. gold). 

    • 0 avatar
      John Horner

      Names aren’t a problem. There are plenty of well known brand names available for cheap in the US. Saturn, for example. Also, keep an eye on what become of Hummer if and when that sale ever gets done. No reason the Hummer lineup couldn’t be greatly expanded.

    • 0 avatar
      revjasper

      When you’re looking for a low end scooter, you actually do look for the Kymco name.  There’s so many “no-name” scooters made in China with unknown future warranty, parts and support that some of the “off-brands” really start looking quite good.  Considering that there is a dealer network, it’s a really good start.

    • 0 avatar
      educatordan

      Yeah my 150 cc 2008 Roketa has been pretty reliable!  But then an air cooled scooter is dirt simple and easy to wrench on if anything happens.

  • avatar
    Rod Panhard

    It doesn’t mean much, really. If one considers the various cars over the years that have been built by, for lack of a better term, “Commies,” that were old models that originally passed muster here in the states. That includes:
    Fiat 131s built by Lada in Russia.
    Volkswagen Passats built by whoever in China.
    Renault 11s built by Dacia.
    And that’s just the stuff I know about. We all know how successful Yugo was with their ex-Fiat. So although a Chinese Saab could wind up here in the States at a bargain basement price, I ain’t holding my breath.

    • 0 avatar
      Stingray

      Fiat 124 and 125 for the Russians. Among others.
      Right on the Passat, although it was the 1st gen and it was called Santana. Also sold in Brazil.
      AFAIK Dacia produced the Renault 12 among others, not the 11.
       

    • 0 avatar
      cafe

      Yup Renault 8 and 12 for Dacia. The 11 and 9  were made in the US by AMC as Renault Encore and Alliance (the two-door and convertible never existed in Europe).

    • 0 avatar
      venator

      Actually, FIAT 124 for Russia (and Turkey, India, Argentina, Malaysia, and who knows where else), Fiat 125 (with the older 1500 engine) and 126 for Poland, the older 1500 and 600 for Yugoslavia, the 600 and 850, among others, for Spain, the 1100 for India, etc. It is, in fact, remarkable how successful older FIAT designs were in Communist and Third World countries! Note that all these models were rear-wheel-drive, the smaller models also with rear engine. I do not know how well current (i.e. front-wheel-drive) FIATs would stand up in less developed areas.
        As for Chinese-made SAABs, the jury is out. I have seen good quality Chinese-made lathes, etc., and I have seen various Chinese-made goods of rubbish quality too numerous to mention.

    • 0 avatar
      Norma

      The Passat/Santana in China and Brazil are built by VW, because at that time, VW wanted to recycle its used tools retired from Europe.

  • avatar
    bill h.

    I’m pretty sure that the BAIC 9-5 clones would be for the domestic Chinese market only, and not for export. 

  • avatar
    John Horner

    I’ve been saying for a long time that a well equipped, well built “old” 9-5 priced at $19,999 would sell just fine in the US. The Chinese are quite capable of high quality manufacturing when they want to be. This is going to get interesting.
     
     

  • avatar
    porschespeed

    Exactly. The Chinese are quite capable when the margins are there.

    IIRC, the Chinese produce most of the worlds solar cells.  And a good chunk of the electronics in any device.

  • avatar
    Dimwit

    VW is famous for moving their tooling around, letting the designs move progressively down market.
    It makes a lot of sense for a well designed platform to keep being made. Now, in this case, how good a SAAB is made with chinese labour and chinese steel remains to be seen. The BAIC factory won’t have near the automation that the Trollhatten had and the raw materials are infamously poor compared to the international standards. I hope Bertel or someone can get a crack at a copy when they enter the market. We now have a standard to compare against. Should be interesting.

  • avatar
    littlehulkster

    I didn’t read the article OR the discussion, I just wanted to say that the black haired lady in the beginning of the video was pretty hot.
    I’d let her torquesteer into my tree any day.

  • avatar
    Norma

    Wasn’t the old Saab 9-5 derived from Opel Vectra? If so, shouldn’t GM have a say on such transaction?


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