The Chengdu meeting might ruin the appetite of the Saab faithful. Saab wasn’t a topic during the proceedings, although Volvo was mentioned a lot. On the sidelines of the conference however, death sentences to Saab where handed out by the truckload.
Jim Holder, Editor of the U.K. magazine AutoCar is at the meeting. He scooped me by learning from a highly reliable source:
“A last-minute rescue deal to save Saab is virtually certain to be blocked by the Chinese government, meaning the company is almost certain to be declared bankrupt – possibly as soon as later today.
Autocar has learned that the Chinese government is unlikely to ratify any investment or takeover of Saab as the sale does not include the acquisition of any new intellectual property rights. Former Saab owner GM already has a deal with its Chinese partner firm SAIC for the Epsilon platform used by Saab.”
Holder didn’t name the source and did not even say that he heard it in Chengdu. But that’s where he is, and the conference is teeming with officials of various Chinese ministries and the NDRC. We doubted in May that “GM will alienate SAIC in order to save Saab.”
Reuters has its ace China correspondent Fang Yang at the conference, and she heard today from BAIC Chairman Xu Heyi that his company has no interest in having any part in any Saab rescue.
Meanwhile, The Guardian reports that “the administrator in charge of Saab‘s restructuring under court protection could pull the plug on the process as early as Tuesday, paving the way for declaring the carmaker bankrupt.”