General Motors has reached an agreement to sell off part of its struggling Saab division to China’s Beijing Auto (BAIC). The deal would see BAIC take control of Saab’s rights assets and tooling assets of the past 9-5 and 9-3 models in order to build those vehicles in China.
Saab’s future has been uncertain for several weeks after a group led by Swedish supercar maker Koenigsegg suddenly withdrew its interest in purchasing the brand.
Beijing Auto was actually a part of the Koenigsegg-led group and had agreed to fund a considerable potion of the purchase in return for the rights which it has now secured.
What BAIC won’t be buying any of Saab’s current production or design technologies, leaving those aspects of the company still up for bidding. Currently two bidders are rumored to be the main rivals: Renco and Dutch exotic car maker Spyker Cars. A recent report in the Swedish daily Svenska Dagbladet pointed towards Spyker being the favored bidder, party because of its experience in the auto industry.
An unnamed Saab official quoted by the New York Times said that this sale, “would be good for Sweden, good for China and good for Saab.”
In the midst of all this uncertainty, Saab is preparing to launch its new 9-5 model, which is the first full overhaul of the car since it debuted 12 years ago.
So far GM has had little success in dividing up its company since it emerged from Bankruptcy. The company is in the process of closing its Pontiac unit but couldn’t find a buyer for the Saturn brand after a deal with the Penske Automotive Group fell through. A deal to sell Hummer to a Chinese industrial equipment manufacturer has yet to be completed.
[Source: NYTimes Blog]