Following last week’s collapse of its $150m deal with Hawtai Motor Group, Spyker-owned Swedish carmaker Saab has signed a fresh memorandum of understanding with another Chinese carmaker – Pang Da Automobile Trade – which includes a 50-50 distribution joint venture for Saab-branded vehicles in China.
Pang Da is China’s largest publicly traded vehicle distributor with more than 1,100 dealerships across the country and is paying €30m for the purchase of Saab vehicles. An additional €15m will be handed over for further purchases within 30 days, subject to final regulatory approval.
"Both parties are confident that this partnership allows Saab Automobile and Pang Da to create a strong business, initially in the distribution and subsequently in the manufacturing of Saab vehicles in China,” said Victor Muller, CEO of Spyker and Saab Automobile.
The manufacturing part of the agreement includes a joint venture for Saab-branded vehicles as well as plans for a new joint venture brand in China also to be distributed there. Saab Automobile will have up to 50% in the venture, with Pang Da and a manufacturing partner, yet to be selected, owning the remaining shares.
Pang Qinghua, CEO of Pang Da, said: “This partnership allows us not only to distribute Saab, the iconic European premium brand, in China but also to set up a manufacturing joint venture, which will further enhance the competitive position of the Saab brand in China.”
The latest attempt to end Saab’s troubles comes seven weeks after production at the carmaker’s plant in Trollhättan, Sweden was stopped when suppliers refused to continue delivering parts because of payment problems. Saab is reported to owe at least $47m to Swedish suppliers and a similar sum to foreign component makers but now says it will restart production next week.
The previous agreement with Hawtai, which promised €150m investment, collapsed last Thursday following doubts about the Chinese company’s ability to fulfil the conditions of the deal.
The latest agreement is also subject to consent from certain Chinese governmental agencies, the European Investment Bank, GM and the Swedish National Debt Office.