China’s Dongfeng wants to buy Saab’s remaining assets
Published on December 27, 2011 by Tycho de Feijter
Dongfeng Motor Group, China’s third-largest automaker, intends to buy the remaining assets of Saab, after the Swedish automaker filed for bankruptcy on Dec. 19, China Economic Net reports. Dongfeng is actively developing its own independent brand of car and its planned acquisition of Saab’s assets may lend technical support to its efforts.
A program for the liquidation of Saab’s debt is scheduled to start from April next year. Meanwhile, a Turkish enterprise is competing with Dongfeng for Saab’s assets.
Earlier, China’s Pang Da Automobile Trade decided not to buy Saab after a Swedish court declared the automaker bankrupt, while China Youngman Automobile Group is continuing to pin its hopes on Saab’s “Phoenix” platform to launch a new automobile model for sale in the Chinese and European markets.
Pang Da, which reversed a 45 million euro (US$58.8 million) provision for bad debts due to the losses it booked under its Saab acquisition plan, recently said it planned to sell 22 properties to raise 175 million yuan (US$27.61 million) and then rent them for continued use.
The 64-year-old Saab car brand will now become a thing of the past, though its aircraft and truck brands will remain. The last straw that led to Saab’s bankruptcy was undoubtedly the opposition of General Motors to the company’s various reorganization plans, an unexpected block for Saab’s Chinese investors.
Pang Da chairman Pang Qinghua told the National Business Daily that he still does not understand why there was such strong opposition to Chinese enterprises acquiring Saab.
AutomotiveForesight (Shanghai) general manager Zhang Yu said that the case has been a lesson to him regarding how to evaluate whether a brand is worthy of investment. Zhang said Chinese auto enterprises are in great need of strong brands and core technologies. However, Zhang noted that Saab no longer boasted either of these strengths.
Saab’s core technologies had been obtained by GM and Beijing Automotive Group. Its “Phoenix” platform, in which China Youngman Automobile Group is interested, is only a concept platform with no manufacturing capability, Zhang said.