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Beijing Auto (BAIC) buys Saab technology

9282 Views 9 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  KiwiGuy
Chinese automaker Beijing Automotive Industry Holding Corporation has agreed to acquire a stake in Swedish sports car manufacturer Koenigsegg in an effort to help the company acquire Saab from General Motors. After Koenigsegg lost its major American investor earlier this summer, the Swedish supercar builder was in need of some financial assistance to complete its intended acquisition.

“This is an important step on the road toward a new Saab. We have a well prepared business plan, an important partnership and we are ready to proceed without state financing,” Koenigsegg CEO Christian von Koenigsegg said in a prepared statement.

No financial details regarding the memorandum of understanding signed between Koenigsegg and Beijing Auto have been released. An unidentified source close to Beijing Auto told the Wall Street Journal that the deal “”is still being worked out, and the work is very complex.”

Beijing Auto is apparently interested in producing Saab vehicles in China for Koenigsegg. Saab’s presence in the rapidly-growing Chinese market has been limited since the automaker does not currently build cars outside of Europe. Beijing Auto has also been actively involved in the bidding for Saab’s cross-country rival, Volvo, which Ford has been trying to sell.

Beijing Auto currently builds vehicles for Mercedes-Benz and Hyundai in China.

It is unclear how GM, which is anxious to shed the Saab brand, will react. Previously, GM had indicated a reluctance to sell any of its units to Chinese buyers – and it has been unhappy with a Russian-financed bid for Opel. The European Investment Bank will also need to scrutinize the Chinese tie-in before it agrees to lend 400 million euros to Koenigsegg. The EIB says it will make its decision on October 21.
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BAIC set to buy old 9-5 design.

01 October 2009
The Beijing Automotive Industry Corporation (BAIC) is poised to buy the tooling and design rights to the outgoing Saab 9-5, according to Autocar sources.

BAIC recently became a minority shareholder in the Koenigsegg Group, which is attempting to buy Saab from General Motors.

If the plans go ahead, the 9-5 will be ‘shifted lock, stock and barrel’ to China. Production of the 9-5 estate is expected to end in the next few weeks.

There’s no news as to whether BAIC intends to re-start production of the 9-5 in an unchanged form or whether it will re-skin the car for sale under BAIC’s own brand.

Such moves by Chinese carmakers are increasingly common. Production of the Rover 75 and MG ZT was re-started in China after MG Rover collapsed and production of the Alfa Romeo 166 was moved to Guangzhou Auto last year.

The 9-5 is powered by Saab’s own long-running slant-four turbocharged petrol engine. The factory building this engine was wound-down earlier this year, making it another potential buy-out target for BAIC.

Shifting production of the defunct engine to China would be a much simpler operation than re-engineering the 9-5 to accommodate a new drivetrain.

Although Saab is racing to install the all-new 9-5 into its Trollhatten factory, the Koenigsegg Group has still not finalized its buyout deal with GM.

At the time of writing it is still negotiating a substantial loan with the European Investment Bank. GM has set a deadline of 31 December for its planned sell-off of Saab.
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Confirmed: Beijing Auto to build last-generation Saab 9-5 in China

Last month, we reported that Beijing Automotive Industry Holding Corporation was planning to buy the tooling and rights to assemble Saab’s now-discontinued previous-generation 9-5 in China, and now the Chinese automaker has confirmed that it will begin production in about six months.

BAIC got the old 9-5 tooling in exchange for taking a small share in Koenigsegg, the Swedish supercar manufacturer that is planning to acquire Saab from General Motors. The Chinese company will produce the outgoing 9-5 after Saab launches its fully-redesigned, all-new model in April. It is unclear what Changes BAIC would make to the outgoing 9-5 to differentiate it from its Swedish-built predecessors.

The move is hardly uncommon; several Chinese automakers continue to produce models that were discontinued by North American and European automakers.

Saab says that it wants for BAIC to assemble its current production models in China soon in a joint venture as required by the Chinese government. The move would expand Saab’s global sales and would follow in the footsteps of Fiat, Mercedes-Benz and other manufacturers.
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GM sells Saab technology to China’s BAIC; still seeking full suitor

General Motors announced this morning that it has entered into an agreement with Beijing Automotive Industry Holding Corporation over the sale of certain technology from Saab’s current 9-3 and outgoing 9-5 models. The deal will net GM an unspecified amount of money but still leaves the window open for a full sale of Saab Automobile, including the company’s Swedish factory and upcoming 9-5 and 9-4x models.

GM said in a statement that Saab will help BAIC integrate certain technologies into the Chinese automaker’s future products. It is unclear just what technologies will be included, although both the current 9-3 and now out of production 9-5 are some of GM’s oldest offerings. Earlier this year, BAIC bought the tooling for the 9-5 after production ended in Sweden in anticipation of an all-new model.

Jan Åke Jonsson, Managing Director of Saab Automobile said in a statement,” “This arrangement is excellent for both parties, now and for the future. We have developed a good relationship with BAIC and look forward to working with them to integrate this Saab technology into their future vehicles.”

The acquisition of Saab’s old technology will finally allow BAIC to produce its own line of vehicles. It currently serves as a partner for a number of foreign automakers that build cars in China and it was a financial backer in Koenigsegg’s failed deal to acquire the brand.

A source close to the deal told Reuters that GM was in serious talks with an unnamed separate party over a full sale of Saab’s assets. That party is believed to be either Dutch supercar manufacturer Spyker, although rumors have circulated in Swedish press that a domestic firm has been in touch with Deutsche Bank, the firm that is assisting GM with the Saab sale. An announcement of a full buyer for Saab’s assets is expected later this week, if not by the end of December.
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BAIC in overdrive to develop brand with Saab tech

Beijing Automotive Industry Holding Corp (BAIC), China's fifth-largest automaker, will launch an aggressive campaign to develop its brand both at home and overseas, after buying car designs from General Motors' [GM.UL] Saab unit.

BAIC said it will invest 33 billion yuan ($4.8 billion) in vehicle R&D over three years, after paying $200 million for the Saab technology, including the rights to three overall vehicle platforms and two engine technologies.

"Someone has commented that the purchase of Saab's intellectual property can help cut short the development time for Beijing Auto's own-brand passenger vehicles by 4-5 years," BAIC Chairman Xu Heyi told reporters on Wednesday.

"We basically agree with the view."

The Chinese car maker plans to immediately start integrating Saab technology into its vehicles with an aim to sell 100,000 self-developed passenger vehicles in 2011, Xu said.

Construction of a production facility with annual capacity of 150,000 passenger vehicles will be complete in 2011, he added.

The sales target is a bit aggressive, said Tan Kunyuan, an analyst at Changjiang Securities. "It will take at least a year for the market to recognise the brand and BAIC probably would need to modify the appearance of Saab cars to fit with Chinese market demand."

China overtook the United States this year as the world's largest auto market, as sales soared after Beijing rolled out a series of incentives designed to stimulate consumer spending during the global downturn.

However, there is still a significant technology gap between domestic Chinese automakers and their global rivals, which has left Chinese looking for acquisitions of overseas technology and designs as the global auto industry restructures.

Homegrown car maker Zhejiang Geely Holding Group, parent of Geely Auto (0175.HK), is in talks to buy Ford Motor's (F.N) Volvo unit, and Sichuan Tengzhong Heavy Industrial Machinery is buying GM's Hummer brand.

Xu said BAIC posted net profit of 6 billion yuan on revenue of 116 billion yuan for 2009, selling 1.24 million vehicles.

The Beijing-based automaker is in production partnership with Daimler (DAIGn.DE) and Hyundai Motor (005380.KS), with most of their joint output for sale in the domestic market.


BAIC, which has a 20 billion yuan line of credit from Bank of China (601988.SS) (3988.HK), is also making plans for an initial public offering, Xu said, though he declined to give details, including where the company would list.

Morgan Stanley (MS.N) advised BAIC on the Saab deal, but it was unclear whether the investment bank is also involved in the IPO plan.

BAIC -- which hastily arranged the Saab purchase after a group led by Swedish sports car maker Koenigsegg pulled out from a deal to buy all of Saab -- said it was buying technology such as manufacturing blueprints and the management systems that will let it continuously develop and produce high quality vehicles.

Besides exporting its vehicles directly, BAIC also plans to set up joint ventures overseas to facilitate sales, Xu said.

The company will roll out two new models of its own-brand vehicles next year and will develop new energy cars in tandem with the new models of its self-developed vehicles.

The Saab acquisition includes the intellectual property for Saab's 9-5 and 9-3 sedans and some equipment to make them, leaving the fate of the Swedish-based automaker up in the air.

Dutch-listed luxury car maker Spyker Cars (SPYKR.AS) was still in talks to buy Saab from GM despite BAIC's development plans, a Spyker spokesman said.

"I have no information that this would affect the interest of Spyker in the Saab business," he said, adding it was positive that a Swedish metal workers' union backed Spyker's bid for Saab. The spokesman declined to comment on reports of a billionaire supporting Spyker's takeover plan.
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