Who Got What In The Saab-BAIC Deal?

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer

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 It’s more likely, though, that BAIC will get the more-outdated first-generation equipment [GM29000].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is not that significant for BAIC as the production platforms of Saab 9-5 and 9-3 have been shut down due to the old and outdated technologies and also have low efficiency and utility.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…

Edward Niedermeyer
Edward Niedermeyer

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  • Autonut Autonut on Dec 15, 2009

    Clear as mud.

  • Innatech Innatech on Dec 21, 2009

    Who cares about the 9-5 or 9-3? As long as they didn't sell/license the 900 to BAIC, I won't freak out. And as far as I'm concerned, that's where the value remaining in the brand still lies. New SAAB is too embedded into GM to extricate easily? Fine, who cares. Let them keep all that crap. Just give the brand/mark, plus all the old pre-GM designs and related IP back to the Konig' consortium and take a fire sale price. Problem solved. No one liked all that GM crap in their SAABs anyway. That's what killed their appeal.

  • 28-Cars-Later I guess Santa showed up with bales of cash for Mitsu this past Christmas.
  • Lou_BC I was looking at an extended warranty for my truck. The F&I guy was trying to sell me on the idea by telling me how his wife's Cadillac had 2 infotainment failures costing $4,600 dollars each and how it was very common in all of their products. These idiots can't build a reliable vehicle and they want me to trust them with the vehicle "taking over" for me.
  • Sobhuza Trooper Like fusion power, the I.D. Buzz is only 30 years away.
  • Lou_BC "respondents between 18 and 80 years old" Basically anyone deemed an adult who might be allowed to drive.
  • Lou_BC They will do fine if they come up with some cool sedans ;)