In what just-auto calls “ a hammer-blow to the proposed takeover,” Scania told Saab-buyer NEVS that it won’t allow the use of Saab’s heraldic animal, the griffin. Scania (owned by Volkswagen) says no because the buyers are Chinese.
“There is a Chinese buyer and in China you see copies of several brands – we don’t want to see trucks with our symbol. There are a lot of brand pirates in China – I don’t say NEVS has that intention…so to be sure there is no risk we say ‘no thank you.’”
NEVS immediately denied that is Chinese, telling just-auto that the deal is “not a Chinese investment” and claiming that the majority owner in NEVS is National Modern Energy Holdings, managed from Hong Kong and registered in the British Virgin Islands. Of course they are.
Caption of a press release issued to the
Chinese British Virgin Press:
“On the morning of April 8, the project of National Bio Energy Shangcai Co., Ltd. Grand Inaugural Ceremony commenced with a deafening eruption of festive commotion as a flurry of gun salutes honored the momentous occasion. Kai Johan Jiang- the Group Chairman, Qi Jianmin- the Director of the Social Improvement Office of the Central Disciplinary Committee, Hua Youxun- Party Secretary of Zhumadian City, the Municipal Committee Deputy Secretary, Mayor Liu Guoqing, Li Haizhou- the Party Secretary of Shangcai County, Magistrate Kong Hua and other main city and county leaders, and representatives of the Shandong Power Construction Company all attended the ceremony. Chairman Jiang, the Deputy Secretary of the Zhumadian City Municipal Committee, Mayor Liu Guoqing, Hou Zuoxin- General Manager of Shandong Power Construction Company, and Li Haizhou- Party Secretary of Shangcai County, all delivered their respective speeches.”
The writing was on the wall, so to speak, when Scania published a lavishly illustrated press release (see top picture) titled “Scania watches over is trademark” shortly after the sale of Saab assets to NEVS was announced. In June already, Scania said that “for Scania, it is important that the purchaser does not have plans for use of this trademark which will conflict with the operations conducted by the company.”
If losing the griffin is a hammer-blow, then there is a sledge-hammer-blow in the waiting. The Saab name is owned by the defense company Saab AB (which famously builds – are we confused yet – the Griffin fighter.) Saab AB licensed the Saab trademark to Saab, the car company, that license is void, and NEVS has to beg for mercy. Saab, the defense contractor, already was miffed that they were confused with Saab, the troubled carmaker. It is unlikely that they want to prolong the pain.
The griffin is a “a legendary creature with the body of a lion and the head and wings of an eagle,” as the all-knowing Wikipedia tells us. The crowd-sourced enclyclopedia adds that “Griffins are known for guarding treasure and priceless possessions.” In recent years, Saab had replaced the winged eagle with a simple “SAAB”, denying the animal the ability to ward off a bankruptcy.