Is SAIC Saab's Savior?

Thor Johnsen
by Thor Johnsen

Rumors involving Chinese automaker SAIC in Saab’s rescue plans have been percolating for some time now. Christian Von Koenigsegg raised the possibility in an Auto Motor and Sport interview [via Saabsunited], saying, “we may look at producing Saabs for China, in China.” Then came word from an anonymous source quoted in Reuters as saying, “SAIC is considering taking a stake in Saab but has not made up its mind or the size of any possible investment.” And yet, mysteriously, it seems that Koenigsegg’s $420M financing shortfall has magically disappeared. SAIC refuses to confirm that it is the anonymous funding source, pleading shyness in the wake of its recent disastrous ownership of Korean automaker Ssangyong.

SAIC may be playing coy. Ssangyong may have left SAIC with a bad taste, but earlier investments in western brands are finally beginning to bear fruit for the Chinese automaker. SAIC’s purchase of MG/Rover’s intellectual property (er, except for the Rover name which Tata got in the Jag/Landie deal) generated a lot of skepticism just a few years ago. But the reborn Roewe brand is taking off, with sales up 276 percent to 40,000 units in the first half of this year. And with Geely sniffing around Volvo, Saab looks to be a strategic hedge for SAIC.

Thor Johnsen
Thor Johnsen

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  • Rusted Source Rusted Source on Sep 08, 2009

    They could change the ownership name to "Koenigsaic Group" and it would still roll off the tongue the same way.