By on April 23, 2011


He (silver grey tie) is Li Shu Fu, Chairman of Geely, and owner of Volvo. A few days ago, we reported that Saab’s Russian rescue by Vladmir Antonov is running into flak from Brussels, and that Victor Muller is looking to China. To a niche player in China, no less. Victor Muller thinks he will maintain more independency that way. Dream on. If a Chinese buyer buys a foreign brand, then for getting credibility in the export market. That is Geely’s play with Volvo.

Now, Sweden is abuzz with rumors that Geely is supposed to buy Saab. To make it more palatable to Swedes, Geely is not supposed to buy Saab, Volvo is. Volvo is owned by Geely. According to Reuters, the Swedish government has approached Volvo/Geely to take over Saab. Volvo promptly dismissed such chatter. “No such talks have been going on and no such talks are scheduled,” said Volvo Cars spokesman Per-Ake Froberg.

Volvo/Geely needs Saab like a hole in the head. They have all hands full digesting the Volvo takeover. I’d ask BAIC first (they already denied the rumors.) Then any of the top 12 manufacturers excluding SAIC (they have MG). Anyone who wants to export from China could use Saab.



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16 Comments on “Sweden Wants This Man To Save Saab...”

  • avatar

    Last year I warned lazy Europeans – better start learning Chinese until it is too late. How goes SAAB so goes the Europe..

  • avatar

    A Volvo-Saab merger has always made sense, at least from a product standpoint.  Very little overlap.  Volvo: C and D segment sedans and wagons.  Saab: turbo 4-cyl B and C segment hatches, convertible and maybe a sports car.  All built from the same underpinnings with infinite support from the Swedish gov’t if necessary.  Serious competition and big egos between the two companies might have prevented a merger in times past.  That seems quaint in this age of globalism.

  • avatar

    Geely bought a much wider and better in-place product line with Volvo– and I say that sadly, as a former owner of two Saabs.  The new 9-5 is looking like too little too late (and too costly); unless the next 9-3 is darn close to ready and darn good, what product and facilities would a Chinese company be buying with Saab?  Geely doesn’t need the dealer network now that it has Volvo, and it’s hard to imagine Geely would want to take over the Trollhatten facilities. It would have to be another manufacturer in search of a known brand, European production base, and a dealership network, and one willing to bet on future product development.  Saab’s potential equity as a brand has been sinking for a long time now.  It’d be a much bigger rebuilding job than Volvo for a Chinese manufacturer, and that might be exactly NOT what a Chinese manufacturer is looking for.

  • avatar

    “To a niche player in China, no less. Victor Muller thinks he will maintain more independency that way. Dream on. If a Chinese buyer buys a foreign brand, then for getting credibility in the export market.”
    No offense, Bertel, but either my reading comprehension is going downhill rather fast, or your writing style is becoming a little too complex for my little noggin’.

  • avatar

    Bertel, what’s your take on Li Shu Fu? I actually met him when he first exhibited Geelys at the NAIAS a few years ago. If I’m not mistaken Geely was the first Chinese automaker to display at the Detroit show. The guy seems like a genuine success story, a real Horatio Alger rags to riches story, at least according to Geely press releases. I do like the fact that Geely is a private enterprise, though I think one of their subbrands may have a local or regional  gov’t partner or two.

  • avatar

    In a way SAIC would make a logical buyer for SAAB. MG could chase volume as is planned. SAAB could chase premium sales, both could share parts.

    Maybe TTAC should have asked them?

  • avatar
    Paul W

    “He (yellow tie) is Li Shu Fu…”
    You mean the man with glasses? That is NOT Li Shufu. The man next to him in light blue striped tie looks A LOT like Li Shufu, though.

  • avatar
    Rod Panhard

    Saav Saab. I saw the new 95 yesterday at the New York auto show and really liked what I saw. It’s definitely better than the similarly priced Buicks, which appeared contrived and cheap.

  • avatar
    John R

    Dead brand walking.

  • avatar

    I’m surprised BAIC is not interested, didn’t they spend hundred(s) of million buying the tools of old 9-5?

    May be they want a bankruptcy filing before they scope out, not to step on Vladmir’s toe.

    How about FAW? They seem pretty quiet.

  • avatar

    If Chinese company wanted to buy SAAB it would already do it when it was up to grabs directly from GM. Ending up in Chinese hand via Spyker seems to me too complicated to be true. SAAB may become Buick competitor in China since both are very similar. But do not expect it to compete with BMW, it is wishful thinking.

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