Saab’s parent, Swedish Automobile, is learning the hard way that dealing with the Chinese isn’t always as simple as it seems. Chinese partners Pang Da and Youngman once seemed like saviors to the struggling Swedish automaker; after all, the companies committed $340 million in funding to the cash-starved carmaker. The deals were pending Chinese government approval, which always seemed like a long shot at best, but would have been enough to save Saab if approved.
Dealing with the Chinese is never that simple, and Saab has been forced to terminate agreements with both Pang Da and Youngman after the companies pushed to change the terms of their non-binding agreements. The Chinese partners wanted to accumulate controlling significant shares of Saab stock, which would have allowed them to take over the company by essentially buying it out. In other words, it would have been the end of the road for Saab as we know it.
That may be the case anyway, but Swedish Automobile CEO Victor Muller isn’t going down without a fight. Muller is still in talks with the Chinese, but it isn’t likely they’ll change their position; if they can’t simply buy Saab, forcing it out of business may be the next best thing.