Part of Saab’s presumptive “quirky” image is a serious lack of funds. Saab “bled red like a stuck pig” as Car & Driver so delicately put it. Saab was sold when GM ran out of money. Victor Muller didn’t have the funds, and Saab’s future owner, Made-in-China Swede Jiang Dalong also seems to suffer the cash flow problem that is so familiar to all who touch Saab. The presumptive buyer has received an ultimatum by the bankruptcy administrators: Pay in full until Friday, or the deal is off.
Sweden’s Dagens Industri writes that the administrators had a meeting with NEVS chairman Karl-Erling Trogen last week to check where the money might be. DI figures that what they heard in the meeting “must have upset the administrators.”
Trogen is the freshly minted chairman of the freshly minted National Electric Vehicle Sweden AB (NEVS), Jiang Dalong’s company that was minted to take over the remaining assets of Saab. The purchase price has never been made public, but DI figures it to be in the neighborhood for $274 million. Those need to be on the table by Friday. So far, NEVS has only made a down payment of approximately $23 million, and the administrator wants the full monte now.
According to DI’s sources, Jiang Dalong has “problems with prospective financiers in Sweden, because the Saab brand is not included in the deal.” Jiang previously said that the Saab brand (which definitely was not part of the package) is not crucial to the deal. He also claimed that NEVS is backed by his rich Hong Kong company and the rich Japanese venture capital company “Sun Investment LLC.” TTAC had doubts as to the financial wherewithal of both, we also could not find a “Sun Investment LLC” in Japan.
It does not surprise us that Jiang does not have the $274 million. It also does not surprise us that he needs Chinese backers, and it furthermore does not surprise us that they are getting cold feet. It would furthermore not surprise us if Jiang is a straw man for Chinese interests – who lost interest.
Even just-auto, so far one of the few remaining supporters of the Saab cause, has been led astray:
“Mystery continues to surround widespread speculation in Stockholm that National Electric Vehicle Sweden (NEVS) is about to pull the plug on its proposed buy-out of bankrupt Saab. NEVS has played a coy game for the past couple of months, constantly insisting to just-auto the deal for Saab would be completed “during this summer,” but rumours are now swirling around Sweden the agreement could collapse as early as this week.”
Just-auto’s favorite for who might come and pick up the pieces for really cheap when the NEV deal falls apart: Youngman.