By on May 20, 2011

When “Beijing’s car industry” (read: BAIC) put forward the suggestion to exempt EVs from the license plate lottery, and when that suggestion was adopted, those in the know said: “Great idea, bad timing.”  Why? There are no EVs one can buy in Beijing.“Beijing’s car industry” (read: BAIC) is about to change that. (Read More…)

By on December 28, 2010

When we reported last month that a strange assortment of Indian and Chinese truck builders is after the Italian design house and coach builder Pininfarina, we asked what you probably thought: “What do all these truck makers want to do with a company that designed Ferraris?” Now there’s a Chinese company that can put a hot design house to better use: Beijing’s BAIC. (Read More…)

By on November 29, 2010

So who will be he big Chinese EV producer when the Chinese start buying EVs in earnest? It more and more doesn’t look like BYD. It could be staid old BAIC, Beijing’s partner of Hyundai and Mercedes. (Read More…)

By on September 10, 2010

I had a beer and a pizza yesterday night with Ash Sutcliffe of China Car Times (us expat car bloggers need to stick together) and he swore on a stack of bibles that he had seen the resurrection of the  Chrysler Sebring over at Beijing Auto. But it won’t be a Sebring. (Read More…)

By on June 23, 2010

Ah, there’s nothing like a good old Chinese catfight over a foreign joint venture partner. Daimler’s Chinese partner BAIC (they build the E-Class and C-Class in Beijing) became increasingly green-eyed watching Daimler playing footsie with up-start BYD. Now, BAIC is throwing a fit.

Gasgoo says that BAIC might withdraw from or delay its planned acquisition of Fujian Daimler, and this could frustrate Daimler’s partnership with BYD. Why is that? (Read More…)

By on May 11, 2010

We’ve mentioned that Beijing Auto (BAIC) showed a Saab 9-3 rebadge at the Beijing Auto Show, but we have thus far failed to highlight another re-style of a Western also-ran by the Chinese automaker. This C70 sedan is ostensibly an electric vehicle prototype, but under the skin it’s all Chrysler Sebring. BAIC built the unloved sedan for several years in China, and numerous reports indicate that this prototype has several Sebring attributes, including that rear door cutline and the transmission. Some have even gone as far as to suggest that the C70 somehow previews the look for the new Sebring-replacing Nassau, but that’s not likely. Still, it gives you an idea of what could be done with the Sebring… even by a relatively new Chinese firm.

By on April 21, 2010

Having acquired Saab’s old 9-3 and 9-5 platforms, Beijing Auto is wasting little time in putting the old Swedish warhorses back into action. In fact, if you cover the digitally-altered front end of this C71 concept, you’ll notice that it’s barely been changed. And that’s not all: at least one of BAIC’s two new SUV models seem to take more than a little inspiration from Jeep’s Wrangler and Grand Cherokee. Rather than simply ripping off popular models as other Chinese automakers do, BAIC’s designers seem only to seek inspiration from their partner firms. The weird part: BAIC has signed a deal to sell new, “real” Saabs at its Chinese dealerships. The real deal and the cheap, outdated knockoff sold in the same dealership? Even by Chinese standards, that’s a bizarre strategy. [via ChinaCarTimes]

By on December 29, 2009

2007 Saab 9-5. Picture courtesy Wikimedia.org

Wondered what BAIC will do with the used tooling and blueprints it has bought from Saab at the fire sale price of only $200m? BAIC has big plans, and big pockets.

Xu Heyi, chairman of BAIC group, told China Daily that the company will spend some $5b over the next three years to develop three to four passenger car models and two to three turbocharged engines based on the acquired Saab technology.

BAIC will revive their “Beijing” brand which was born in 1958, but abandoned soon thereafter. Beijing’s initial lineup will include a mid-sized hatchback, a notchback, a compact hatchback and a CUV. The cars will be made at 150,000 unit plant in Beijing. Construction will start in February.
(Read More…)

By on December 23, 2009

Hen hao! Picture courtesy flickr.com

GM netted a paltry $200m for the Saab technology it sold to China’s BAIC. So said BAIC to Reuters today, while desperately trying to keep a straight face. The money bought BAIC the rights to three vehicle platforms, two engine technologies and two transmission systems. A pittance, given the fact that developing a new car typically costs from $1b on upwards these days.

Granted, the IP for the 9-5 and 9-3, and the tooling to make them are not the newest, but you can trust BAIC to make the most of it. Interestingly, BAIC got what they desperately needed:
(Read More…)

By on December 20, 2009

General Motors or the Chinese... depending on which you all like least (courtesy:pub.tv2.no)

Bård Eker has given an open-hearted interview to Norwegian newspaper Aftenposten, referred here at e24.no telling his version on the failed Saab-deal. Eker was one of the investors in the Koenigsegg Group’s bid for Saab, through his company, Eker Group – 49% owner of Koenigsegg Automotive. Here is his hindsight on the deal:

“General Motors made it very hard to buy Saab”, he says. “Saab wasn’t structured as a subordinate, it was completely swallowed into the massive GM body. And while you can remove a lung from a body, you can’t remove all the veins. And GM had not done the required separating job prior to starting negotiations with interested buyers. That was a contributing cause why things took longer time for us too”.

(Read More…)

By on December 20, 2009

Rest In Peace. Picture courtesy peacetek.net

Sweden’s prime minister Fredrik Reinfeldt had his fill of failed negotiations. Returning home from round-the-clock talks at the Copenhagen climate conference, he said that he saw the Saab collapse coming. Sweden’s prime minister is “unsurprised” by the collapse of the sale, says Reuters.  Asked if he was surprised, Reinfeldt  said: “No, the process was built around a loss-making company and an American owner that owned Saab for 20 years and made a profit in one of the 20.  It’s clear that it was not successful enough.” Sweden’s head blames GM for the failure.
(Read More…)

By on December 15, 2009

GM’s CEO and Chairman Ed Whitacre confirmed today that Dutch boutique sportscar firm Spyker is the only bidder for what’s left of Saab after the BAIC deal. Saab insiders insist that the firm can continue without the old tooling and technology sold to BAIC, and they still have their hopes pinned on the new 9-5 model. But, as the WSJ reports, Spyker earned a mere €7.9m in 2008 revenue, and has already endured an €8.7m net loss in the first half of this year. Spyker’s in no position to be saving struggling Swedish automakers. But behind Spyker is Convers Group, a Russian banking group with deep pockets… and a uniquely Russian reputation.

(Read More…)

By on December 15, 2009

With the intellectual property and tooling for 9-5 and 9-3 models headed for Beijing, there’s less to Saab than ever. Sort of. The BAIC deal actually proved to be less dramatic than previously thought, netting the Swedish GM subsidiary a mere $197m according to Automotive News [sub]. BAIC had just obtained a $2.93b line of credit with Bank of China, so there was nothing stopping them from buying more… except GM’s unwillingness to hand over modern platforms. What BAIC did get out of the deal still isn’t entirely clear, but what is clear is that GM has received nothing from the Saab sale so far. That $197m was deposited into Saab’s Swedish account, according to sources speaking to di.se.

(Read More…)

By on December 7, 2009

Mechanic’s Special. Picture courtesy Flickr.com

It’s pretty much as clear as it can possibly be that China’s BAIC will cart off the used tooling of the 9-5 and 9-3 models, and possibly others to Beijing, and then that’s the end of Trollhättan and Saab, Reuters reports.

Other assets of the brand, including its headquarters will be liquidated, more than 3,000 Saab jobs in Sweden will go bye-bye. The Saab car brand will be retired.
(Read More…)

By on December 4, 2009

A few days ago I captured some news from Swedish Aftonbladet.se that Beijing Auto (BAIC) is buying Saab’s now to be replaced 9-5 technology. Even though the Koenigsegg-Saab deal fell apart, and BAIC were a part of the investor group, the Chinese has not given up the idea to build Saabs in China. At the time I couldn’t find any other reports on this, and wondered wether Aftonbladet had done some creative journalism, but yesterday, Nyteknik.se reported the same news, citing their own sources. They’ve even confronted Saab’s spokesperson Gunilla Gustavs, but of course she can not, will not comment on that.

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