China’s Hawtai was quick to cash in on the nationalistic sentiments in China with its Hawtai Baolige Patriotic Edition. According to Carnewschina, the Patriotic Edition “is painted in China-red, with five yellow stars as in the Chinese flag and some waves around the rear wheels that likely refer to the disputed islands.” The trucklet is 100% Nippon-free, as far as we can tell.
Saab’s deal with the Chinese automaker Hawtai has failed in a predictable manner, as the struggling Chinese partner apparently didn’t receive government approval for the deal. Saab-Spyker’s announcement of the deal’s collapse explains [via AN [sub]]
Since it became clear that Hawtai was not able to obtain all the necessary consents, the parties were forced to terminate the agreement with Saab Automobile and Spyker with immediate effect. The parties will continue their discussions about a possible cooperation, however now on a non-exclusive basis
This isn’t the first time that the Chinese takeover of a Western brand failed due to the Chinese government’s insistence on industry consolidation, as the Hummer-to-China deal failed for similar reasons. Meanwhile, we should have seen this coming a mile away…
Saab has started paying suppliers again (although production hasn’t restarted yet), and CEO Victor Muller is once again all popped-collar confidence as he dismisses the “speed bump” that he blames on negative publicity. But behind Mueller’s yacht-club breeziness and talk of “true Saabs,” major changes are afoot in Saab’s business model. Saab’s deal with Hawtai, the product of a desperate search for support in the midst of a liquidity crisis, has changed how Muller sees the global car business, and as a result he’s shopping what may be Saab’s last meaningful asset: Western dealerships. Muller explains his thinking to Automotive News [sub]
We laughed when the Japanese came. We laughed when the Koreans came. But we will not be laughing when the Chinese come. The Chinese are like a steamroller. It took 67 years to build up our dealer network. It is the biggest asset not on our asset sheet, and these guys buy into it for free. If they make the proper cars, can you image how much simpler it will be to push product through the distribution network that is already there? It is like a railway network that is already there.
Bertel and I have a running bet about whether the first actual Chinese import to the US (not a converted glider) will be a Chinese brand or one of the western brands… but it’s not much of a bet because neither of us can ever commit to picking one brand that seems most likely to bust America’s Chinese car cherry, and our “bets” change on a weekly basis. In any case, though, think it’s safe to say that neither of us saw Saab as playing much of a role in any of the scenarios we’ve discussed.
That was fast. Barely has it been announced that China’s Hawtai/Huatai will take an interest in Saab, new Saab 9-5s are already arriving at Chinese Hawtai dealers. CarNewsChina has the picture, while neither Saab nor Hawtai have the necessary permits. Permits-shmermits …
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.