2012 Saab 9-3 Griffin rangeEnlarge Photo
China’s Youngman is learning this the hard way, after it’s 3 billion Swedish crown ($446 million) bid for Saab was allegedly shrugged off by receivers. A source close to the situation told Reuters, “(The receivers) said they are not interested in a dialogue about the entity but rather want bids for separate parts of the business.”
It’s also likely that Saab’s receivers see little chance of a deal between Youngman and Saab gaining the necessary approval from all interested parties. General Motors shot down earlier attempts by Youngman to acquire Saab, as GM’s technology is too deeply embedded in Saab’s current product line to hand off to a new owner.
Youngman-built Saab automobiles would therefore impact GM’s competitive advantage with existing Chinese partners like SAIC.
To circumvent this, the latest offer from Youngman specifies that it will build only the previous Saab 9-3 (and a Lotus model under contract with Proton), none of which rely on GM components or technology.
Youngman sees this as enough to keep the operation going until it can complete development of the Saab Phoenix platform, which would likely take some two years. The Chinese manufacturer has also pledged to keep operations in Trollhattan, Sweden, which would be a huge relief for the local and regional economy.
Officially, the receivers won’t comment on bids or bidding parties during the asset sell-off. That means official word won’t come until the inventory sale is concluded in April.