Here’s the good news: Saab has been sold to Chinese partners Pang Da and Youngman, for the bargain-basement price of $142 million. Now the bad news: Saab has been sold to Chinese partners Pang Da and Youngman, which means the future of Saab as we know it is anything but certain. Both Pang Da and Youngman have long wanted to kick off manufacturing in China, which may not bode well for the future of Saab’s Trollhättan, Sweden plant.
The move comes less than a week after Saab’s parent, Swedish Automobile, rejected a bid by the Chinese benefactors to take over Saab. Ousted in the new transaction was former Swedish Automobile head Victor Muller, who strongly opposed the sale to Pang Da and Youngman.
It’s far too early to tell what may come out of the transaction, since it will take significantly more than the price agreed to in the memorandum of understanding to restore Saab to viability. A best case scenario, as cited by Inside Line, has Saab kicking off production in Trollhättan by year end, with production of the 9-4X starting in Mexico even sooner.
A worst case scenario, however, would probably entail the Chinese stripping the good bits out of Saab (platforms, designs, technology) before shuttering the operation in Sweden. Let’s hope that’s not the case, and let’s hope that the future of Saab is decided soon.