Swedish automaker Saab has been knocking on heaven’s door since summer, with its imminent demise nearly occurring on several occasions.
With last week’s announcement that Chinese partners Pang Da and Youngman would step in to buy Saab, it almost seemed like the worst was over.
Granted, a sale to the Chinese still requires approval of the Chinese government, but even leadership in Beijing seemed to be on board this time.
Now comes word from Automotive News (subscription required) that it may not be time to break out the aquavit in celebration just yet. General Motors, who still retains “preference shares” in Saab, may not approve of a sale to the Chinese.
A statement by GM spokesman Jim Cain, released today, simply said, “GM would not be able to support a change in the ownership of Saab which could negatively impact GM’s existing relationships in China or otherwise adversely affect GM’s interests worldwide.”
Reading between the lines, it looks like GM would disapprove of Saab’s sale to the Chinese, since it would almost certainly impact GM’s relationships in China and in other markets.
GM is a major supplier to Saab on cars like the 9-5, and builds the 9-4X midsize crossover for Saab in its Ramos Arizpe, Mexico plant. It may also be reluctant to give the Chinese free access to its designs and technology used throughout the current range of Saab vehicles.
GM will soon need to decide if it’s better off selling components and vehicles to a Chinese-owned Saab, or if forcing Saab into bankruptcy is its best move. Ironically, the path to Saab’s future may be blocked by an owner from its past.
For full details on Saab's recent troubles, find our comprehensive coverage here.