With the intellectual property and tooling for 9-5 and 9-3 models headed for Beijing, there’s less to Saab than ever. Sort of. The BAIC deal actually proved to be less dramatic than previously thought, netting the Swedish GM subsidiary a mere $197m according to Automotive News [sub]. BAIC had just obtained a $2.93b line of credit with Bank of China, so there was nothing stopping them from buying more… except GM’s unwillingness to hand over modern platforms. What BAIC did get out of the deal still isn’t entirely clear, but what is clear is that GM has received nothing from the Saab sale so far. That $197m was deposited into Saab’s Swedish account, according to sources speaking to di.se.
Motor Trend tries its hand at parsing the information that is available on the deal, and one thing seems certain: BAIC did not score anything related to the Epsilon II-based new 9-5. MT wrestles with the sparse data:
Depending on the generation of 9-3 tooling and powertrains sold, BAIC could get roughly the same equipment, as the two cars shared platforms and powertrains early on. Should BAIC get the second-generation 9-3, it would get the newer Epsilon platform and updated four-cylinder gasoline and diesel turbocharged engines. It’s more likely, though, that BAIC will get the more-outdated first-generation equipment [GM29000]. BAIC will not get access to the new, second-generation 9-5.
Figure that out. China Daily adds:
Jia Xinguang, chief analyst with the Chinese National Automotive Industry Consulting and Development Corp, said the deal is not that significant for BAIC as the production platforms of Saab 9-5 and 9-3 have been shut down due to the old and outdated technologies and also have low efficiency and utility.
However, Jia is optimistic about BAIC acquiring Saab’s powertrain systems, including turbo-charged engine and gearbox technologies, “which can fill the gap between China and global players in the transmission segment”.
He also hoped that “maybe the locally produced sports cars with Saab 9-3 and 9-5′s extraordinary performance will be popular among Chinese consumers”.
Which, in combination with the low value of the deal, indicates that the modern GM technology underpinning the new 9-5 is still up for grabs, along with Saab’s brand name and Swedish assets. Indeed, Saabsunited reports that the technology purchased was for 2004 model-year 9-3 and 9-5 specs, meaning both the GM29000 and the Epsilon I were part of the deal.
Saab makes it sound like it wants to be BAIC’s mentor, telling CD “We have developed a good relationship with BAIC and look forward to working with them to integrate the Saab technology into their future vehicles.” But along came a Spyker…