Our Daily Saab: Possibly Last Supper

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt

The Chengdu meeting might ruin the appetite of the Saab faithful. Saab wasn’t a topic during the proceedings, although Volvo was mentioned a lot. On the sidelines of the conference however, death sentences to Saab where handed out by the truckload.

Jim Holder, Editor of the U.K. magazine AutoCar is at the meeting. He scooped me by learning from a highly reliable source:

“A last-minute rescue deal to save Saab is virtually certain to be blocked by the Chinese government, meaning the company is almost certain to be declared bankrupt – possibly as soon as later today.

Autocar has learned that the Chinese government is unlikely to ratify any investment or takeover of Saab as the sale does not include the acquisition of any new intellectual property rights. Former Saab owner GM already has a deal with its Chinese partner firm SAIC for the Epsilon platform used by Saab.”

Holder didn’t name the source and did not even say that he heard it in Chengdu. But that’s where he is, and the conference is teeming with officials of various Chinese ministries and the NDRC. We doubted in May that “GM will alienate SAIC in order to save Saab.”

Reuters has its ace China correspondent Fang Yang at the conference, and she heard today from BAIC Chairman Xu Heyi that his company has no interest in having any part in any Saab rescue.

Meanwhile, The Guardian reports that “the administrator in charge of Saab‘s restructuring under court protection could pull the plug on the process as early as Tuesday, paving the way for declaring the carmaker bankrupt.”

Bertel Schmitt
Bertel Schmitt

Bertel Schmitt comes back to journalism after taking a 35 year break in advertising and marketing. He ran and owned advertising agencies in Duesseldorf, Germany, and New York City. Volkswagen A.G. was Bertel's most important corporate account. Schmitt's advertising and marketing career touched many corners of the industry with a special focus on automotive products and services. Since 2004, he lives in Japan and China with his wife <a href="http://www.tomokoandbertel.com"> Tomoko </a>. Bertel Schmitt is a founding board member of the <a href="http://www.offshoresuperseries.com"> Offshore Super Series </a>, an American offshore powerboat racing organization. He is co-owner of the racing team Typhoon.

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4 of 22 comments
  • Jeff_vader Jeff_vader on Oct 12, 2011

    Sections of the Swedish media are reporting this morning that PangDa have walked. According to sources at the same conference where the Autocar article was sourced, PangDa's chairman, Pang Qinghua, is saying that Saab/SWAN broke the terms of their agreement when they went into Re-Organisation without full consultation with them. Far more worryingly he is also saying that all the documentation for the deal has NOT yet been handed into the NRDC. To keep the Monty Python/Last Supper references it looks like the main course is on the way and it would appear to be .....the Salmon Moose

  • Jeff_vader Jeff_vader on Oct 12, 2011

    Everything in that last post of mine has now been denied by both PangDa & Saab/SWAN. In a statement released on Reuters by both Saab & PangDa it was down to a "mis-translation & a mis-understanding". There is no plan to withdraw and the documents have been filed. WTF??????

  • Omnifan Omnifan on Oct 12, 2011

    More like the used car phrase "Ran When Parked." We all know how most of those opportunities work out.

  • DaveDFW DaveDFW on Oct 12, 2011

    Yesterday's reports are today being dismissed as "translation errors." http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/10/12/china-auto-saab-idUSL3E7LC16120111012