By on August 16, 2012


In what just-auto calls “ a hammer-blow to the proposed takeover,” Scania told Saab-buyer NEVS that it won’t allow the use of  Saab’s heraldic animal, the griffin. Scania (owned by Volkswagen) says no because the buyers are Chinese.

Said a Scania spokesman to just-auto [sub]:

“There is a Chinese buyer and in China you see copies of several brands – we don’t want to see trucks with our symbol. There are a lot of brand pirates in China – I don’t say NEVS has that intention…so to be sure there is no risk we say ‘no thank you.’”

Not a Chinese Kai Johan Jiang (second from right) explains power to other non-Chinese

NEVS immediately denied that is Chinese, telling just-auto that the deal is “not a Chinese investment” and claiming that the majority owner in NEVS is National Modern Energy Holdings, managed from Hong Kong and registered in the British Virgin Islands. Of course they are.

Non-Chinese groundbreaking by non-Chinese dignitaries

Caption of a press release issued to the Chinese British Virgin Press:

“On the morning of April 8, the project of National Bio Energy Shangcai Co., Ltd. Grand Inaugural Ceremony commenced with a deafening eruption of festive commotion as a flurry of gun salutes honored the momentous occasion. Kai Johan Jiang- the Group Chairman, Qi Jianmin- the Director of the Social Improvement Office of the Central Disciplinary Committee, Hua Youxun- Party Secretary of Zhumadian City, the Municipal Committee Deputy Secretary, Mayor Liu Guoqing, Li Haizhou- the Party Secretary of Shangcai County, Magistrate Kong Hua and other main city and county leaders, and representatives of the Shandong Power Construction Company all attended the ceremony. Chairman Jiang, the Deputy Secretary of the Zhumadian City Municipal Committee, Mayor Liu Guoqing, Hou Zuoxin- General Manager of Shandong Power Construction Company, and Li Haizhou- Party Secretary of Shangcai County, all delivered their respective speeches.”

The writing was on the wall, so to speak, when Scania published a lavishly illustrated press release (see top picture) titled “Scania watches over is trademark” shortly after the sale of Saab assets to NEVS was announced. In June already, Scania said that “for Scania, it is important that the purchaser does not have plans for use of this trademark which will conflict with the operations conducted by the company.”

If losing the griffin is a hammer-blow, then there is a sledge-hammer-blow in the waiting.  The Saab name is owned by the defense company Saab AB (which famously builds  – are we confused yet – the Griffin fighter.) Saab AB licensed the Saab trademark to Saab, the car company, that license is void, and NEVS has to beg for mercy. Saab, the defense contractor, already was miffed that they were confused with Saab, the troubled carmaker. It is unlikely that they want to prolong the pain.

The griffin is a “a legendary creature with the body of a lion and the head and wings of an eagle,” as the all-knowing Wikipedia tells us. The crowd-sourced enclyclopedia adds that “Griffins are known for guarding treasure and priceless possessions.” In recent years, Saab had replaced the winged eagle with a simple “SAAB”, denying the animal the ability to ward off a bankruptcy.


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26 Comments on “Saab: Griffin Up! Down. Trademark Denied With Racist Remark...”

  • avatar

    So the not-Chinese NEVS bought what exactly? Some machine tools? The cars belonged to GM and weren’t for sale. The Griffin belongs to Scania, and is not for sale. Saab AB has had enough of being tarred with an association to a crummy car company and won’t be continuing to license their name so that deceptive ad writers and the silliest car buyers in the world can keep pretending there is something aviation related about their cars. I hope those machine tools were priced accordingly.

  • avatar

    So VW owns the trademark, the plane company owns the name, and GM owns the IP. And neither VW nor GM trusts anyone in China (whom they both have major partnerships). What exactly makes SAAB worth the effort to acquire?

    • 0 avatar

      I don’t even think you have to go all the way to the mother in Germany, Scania in Södertälje (situated in a county that also has a Griffin as a symbol) was probably screaming Nooooo at the idea of having their very well known trademark sullied. A sullied trademark would also lessen the chances of Scania remaining an independent operation in VAG land.

    • 0 avatar

      I’m thinking NEVS really just wants the Saab corporate museum so they can attempt to reverse-engineer all those turbo hatch-backs to understand how Saab managed to build suck a zealous cult following.

  • avatar

    Not to worry, they (the NEVS company) will just make another symbol that roughly resembles the Saab griffin, mabye a dragon’s head spewing fire or something. Then they’ll name their car SABs or SAAABS or whatever.

    • 0 avatar

      They could always ditch the griffin and go back to the pre-Scania Saab logo of a stylized airplane with two spinning propellers. But, that probably belongs to Saab AB too.

  • avatar

    Here in NYC, we have a whole host of infamous Chinese-run bus companies. The joke is that when the authorities close down the Golden Lucky Dragon bus company, you can expect the imminent arrival of the Lucky Golden Dragon bus company which, of course, has nothing to do with the prior entity except the buses, drivers, routes, ownership and even customers.

    BTW, I’ve never heard anyone refer to the JAS-39 as a “Griffin”, it’s a Gripen (yes, that’s Swedish for Griffin). “Gripen” is so much cooler. And, of course the irony is that the first SAAB supersonic fighter was the JAS-35 Draken (Dragon). Luckily, Draken or dragon, the first SAAB supersonic fighter was never used by the automaker. The JAS-37 “Viggen” name was, of course, used and could constitute another trademark issue for NEVS.

    • 0 avatar

      Viggen would works just divvy in German-speaking countries ….

      • 0 avatar

        What’s with all this friggen viggen griffin grypen?

      • 0 avatar

        The old 9-3s top configuration was a limited edition run named Viggen, best known for toque-steer and that the Aerokit made it to the 9-3Aero. What does Viggen mean in German? I don’t remember anything resembling that being taught by my teacher in Junior high.

    • 0 avatar

      The Griffin (Gripen) is the heraldic emblem of the county of Skåne in Sweden. The name of Scania is the latinized name of Skåne. The truckmaker Scania, of course, had its origin in that part of the country.

    • 0 avatar

      Actually “Draken” didn’t originally refer to Drake meaning dragon, rather, it referred to Drake meaning kite due to it being shaped like a kids kite. On a similar note Gripen means griffin or arrested.
      To continue the nitpicking there was never any JAS-37, there was AJ 37, SK 37, SH 37, SF 37, JA 37. And there was never any JAS-35, there was a J 35.*
      The Gripen is the first multirole aircraft SAAB (or argubly anybody) manufactured, Draken was a fighter plain and simple whereas Viggen was first conceived as an ground attack aircraft and then developed into different versions based around a similar airframe, all with varying fighter capabilities.

      A=Bomber/Ground attack

  • avatar

    Scania made the right decision.

  • avatar

    Not sure how the remark is racist – but could be typical Liberal over reaction and smugness. I wouldn’t want the chinese to take the symbol either. They are less then honorable when it comes to patents and trade marks.

    • 0 avatar

      Herr Schmitt was probably just poking fun at the common knee-jerk reaction of calling someone a racist (which, incidentally, people in Saab’s native Sweden tend to excel at – of course, someone would probably call me a racist just for saying that).

  • avatar

    If somebody wants to steal your corporate logo- wouldn’t they steal it regardless of whether you sell the logo or not? What difference would it make? A logo is not a physical object that one has to be close to in order to grab it.

  • avatar

    Replace the griffin with a Chinese dragon.

  • avatar

    I’ve connected some dots on NEVS before. Basically, National Electric Vehicle Sweden (Stockholm) is 51% owned by National Modern Energy Holdings (Hong Kong), which in turn, is a wholly owned subsidiary of National Bio Energy (also Hong Kong). National Bio is itself a wholly owned subsidiary of the State Grid Corporation of China (Beijing), which is now the world’s largest electric utility, and, of course, is state-owned.

    So, a Beijing company owns all of a Hong Kong company that owns all of another Hong Kong company that owns a majority of a Swedish company that was formed for the sole purpose of buying the assets of another Swedish company. How is NEVS not Chinese, exactly?

    Of course, the other 49% belongs to Sammy Shoji and his Sun Investment LLC, which makes NEVS, if not totally Chinese, at least Sino-Japanese.

    • 0 avatar

      And then there’s the issue of stock classes and voting rights, and there can be a stock holders agreement in place. So betting on NEVS being 100% Chinese state or local government owned is probably not a long shot.

  • avatar

    The Griffin is also on the logo of GM UK, ( Vauxhall ) since the 1920s ?

    • 0 avatar
      Robert Gordon

      “The Griffin is also on the logo of GM UK, ( Vauxhall ) since the 1920s ?”

      Keep going! The Griffen has been the logo (coat of arms) of Vauxhall since about 1206

  • avatar

    OK, they don’t like it when Chinese use the logo without paying.

    Now they don’t like it when Chinese pay to use the logo. And this is a bankrupted company trying to sell whatever that’s remaining.

  • avatar

    The bankrupt company didn’t own the logo, or much of anything, which is the meme of the string……

  • avatar

    Victor Muller sold pretty much everything, including the plant in Trollhattan. Did he also include the machine tools in that sale? If so, there’s nothing left of the car company formerly known as Saab except a briefcase full of debts. It’s a wonder the Swedish court hasn’t simply announced, “A round of write-offs for everyone!”

  • avatar

    Seems they can use the Saab logo… Read:

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