Saab's Choice: Become Russian Or Chinese
Saab will either be owned by Russians or Chinese. That’s the way it looks today. Which is no guarantee that it will look the same on Monday.
Yesterday, GM and the Swedish Government gave their nods to a very tentative deal that would allow Vladimir A. Antonov to invest 30 million euros in Spyker in return for a 29.9 percent share. This deal was immediately hailed as “the first good news” at Saabsunited. But the deal is far from done and fraught with nasty details.
GM spokesman James Cain told the New York Times that the matter is “contingent on Saab meeting various commitments.” According to Cain, “Saab has homework they have to do with other parties to create the conditions under which we can move forward.” In a statement, GM demands “certain specific actions to be taken by Saab which have not yet been completed, as well as certain formal consents, approvals and waivers which Saab has not yet obtained.”
Uh-oh. That homework might be demanding. Instead of consents, approvals and waivers, Spyker produced other suitors.
A source told Reuters that Saab is in talks with Chinese automakers Great Wall Motor , China Youngman, and Jiangsu Yueda over a potential investment deal. “The negotiations are very far advanced and should produce results over the weekend,” the source said.
At today’s quarterly (negative) results meeting, Spyker confirmed that they “have opened up alternative routes to fund the company mid- and short-term including but not limited to discussions with Chinese car manufacturers, the discussions with some of which had already been ongoing for several months. We are hopeful that these discussions will result in a solution very shortly so we can resume production.”
It is unclear whether the three Chinese companies are acting jointly or separately. Great Wall has been very active in its quest to enter the European market. Having a European brand with existing certifications and dealer networks would smooth a Chinese entry into Europe immensely.
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