Saab To China

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt
saab to china

As expected, troubled Saab has been thrown a lifeline by China’s Hawtai. Spyker announced today that its Swedish unit Saab has secured €150 million ($222.5 million) in funding from Hawtai. The Chinese company will be able to produce and sell Saab cars in China.

Hawtai will invest €120 million for a 29.9 percent stake in Spyker and provide a €30 million ($44.6 million) convertible loan to Saab. If the convert is exercised (which is pretty much a given – it matures in 6 months with a 7 percent interest rate) it converts at €4.88 a share, says the Wall Street Journal.

On Monday, Spyker entered into a 30 million euro ($44.6 million) convertible loan agreement with Gemini Investment Fund with a six month maturity. It is no coincidence that the terms are the same. Under the best of circumstances, the Gemini loan will be paid back with the Hawtai money.

Victor Muller received a serious haircut in the deal. His company Tenaci Capital will convert €42 million of its current €57 million loan to Spyker into share capital in Spyker at €4.88 per share.

According to Automobilwoche [sub], the new Saab 9-3 will be rolling off Hawtai lines as soon as 2013. The paper is not convinced of the deal. It says Hawtai has rescued Saab “for the time being.”

The transactions are subject to approval from certain Chinese government agencies, the European Investment Bank, and the Swedish National Debt Office.

About Hawtai

Hawtai and Huatai are one and the same. As explained by Carnewschina, “Huatai is the Chinese name, Hawtai the English-international name. Both names are used at the same time, just like Rongwei/Roewe, Qirui/Chery and so on. Before 2009 Huatai simply used Huatai as its international name.”

Rongcheng Hawtai Automobile Co Ltd was founded in 2000 and started making small SUV’s. The company is headquartered in Beijing, with manufacturing in Shandong Province and Inner Mongolia.

From 2002 until 2010 Hawtai/Huatai had a joint venture with Hyundai to make the Santa Fe and Terracan for the Chinese market. Later, Hawtai/Huatai produced the trucks under its own name, licensed by Hyundai. At the Beijing Auto Show 2010, Hawtai/Huatai showed the B11 and B21 sedans and the B35 SUV. The B11 went on sale in 12/2010. The B35 was renamed Baolige and will go on sale in June. The B21 will follow by the end of the year.

As Chinese carmakers go, Hawtai/Huatai is small. However, the company is owned by a sizable conglomerate with large expectations and deep pockets.

Hawtai/Huatai had shown intensive interest in exporting its cars. Saab branded cars could be the key to overcoming the many obstacles awaiting a Chinese exporter. Hawtai is heavily invested into clean diesel technology and is therefore very much interested in exporting to Europe.

From the perspective of a Chinese car company, a going European car company provides instant access to overseas markets, certified technology, brand recognition, respectability. Even damaged goods like Saab can become a treasure in Chinese hands.

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  • Arthur Dailey Ford was on a roll with these large cars. The 'aircraft' inspired instrument 'pod' for the driver rather than the 'flat' instrument panel. Note that this vehicle does not have the clock. The hands and numbers are missing. Having the radio controls on the left side of the driver could however be infuriating. Although I admire pop-up/hideaway headlights, Ford's vacuum powered system was indeed an issue. If I left my '78 T-Bird parked for more than about 12 hours, there was a good chance that when I returned the headlight covers had retracted. The first few times this happened it gave me a 'start' as I feared that I may have left the lights on and drained the battery.
  • Jeff S Still a nice car and I remember these very well especially in this shade of green. The headlights were vacuum controlled. I always liked the 67 thru 72 LTDs after that I found them bloated. Had a friend in college with a 2 door 71 LTD which I drove a couple of times it was a nice car.
  • John H Last week after 83 days, dealership said mine needs new engine now. They found metal in oil. Potential 8 to 9 month wait.
  • Dukeisduke An aunt and uncle of mine traded their '70 T-Bird (Beakbird) for a brand-new dark metallic green '75 LTD two-door, fully loaded. My uncle hated seat belts, so the first time I saw the car (it was so new that the '75 models had just landed at the dealerships) he proudly showed me how he'd pulled the front seat belts all the way out of their retractors, and cut the webbing with a razor blade(!).Just a year later, they traded it in for a new '76 Cadillac Coupe de Ville (they had owned a couple of Imperials in the '60s), and I imagine the Cadillac dealer took a chunk out to the trade-in, to get the front seat belts replaced.
  • CaddyDaddy Lease fodder that in 6 years will be on the 3rd owner in a poverty bound aspirational individual's backyard in a sub par neighborhood sinking into the dirt. The lending bank will not even want to repossess and take possession of this boat anchor of a toxic waste dump. This proves that EVs are not even close to being ready for prime time (let's not even talk about electrical infrastructure). EVs only exist in wildly expensive virtue signaling status-mobiles. FAIL! I know this is a Hybrid, but it's a Merc., so it will quickly die after the warranty. Show me a practical EV for the masses and I'll listen. At this time, Hybrids are about the way to go for most needing basic transportation.