The silent end of the alleged Saab rescuers

The fateful year 2011. A rumor spread. Saab CEO Victor Muller had canceled the contract with the state-owned company BAIC in favor of Hawtai. But there is another variant. She says that Muller built on the entry of scandalist Vladimir Antonov and therefore wrote the BAIC degree in the wind.

Saab starts production in the Spyker era
Saab starts production in the Spyker era

Whatever the case, only Muller himself could provide the answer, but remains silent. Then as now, there is an unmistakable number of car manufacturers in China. It should be more than 100, including brands that nobody in the West has ever heard of. For a long time, provincial princes and tycoons considered it beneficial for their own image to own a car brand. However, the numbers produced are usually manageable, the vehicles do not meet international standards. Competitiveness is a foreign word and wild growth is a thorn in the side of the central government in Beijing. For years she looked for a remedy, tried to force the merger into larger units or to close unprofitable plants. Without success - so far.

With the gradual elimination of subsidies for battery and hybrid vehicles in connection with an overall weakening market, the long-awaited adjustment now appears to be taking place. The bankruptcy wave is on and it also hits brands that 2011 made its big appearance as alleged Saab rescuers.

Suspected Saab savior Hawtai Motors

Up until the spring of 2011, hardly anyone knew Hawtai Motor. If anything, the Chinese were the producers of a rather brazen Porsche Cayenne Copy noticed. In May Saab Automobile AB signed a strategic partnership, a delegation visited Trollhättan, but there was no close cooperation or purchase of shares. In August, Hawtai moved away from Saab to Proton, a company that is now part of the Volvo Geely group.

Could Hawtai have saved Saab? Probably not, because Hawtai was definitely too small. 2011 produced the brand only 56.364 cars, with a possible capacity of 300.000 vehicles. 2017 reached an all-time high of 129.232 units. In spring 2019 another plant was planned in Kenya, in July one burst bond Over $ 218 million, the company went bankrupt. Today nature is taking back the Hawtai works.

Scandal-ridden Saab rescuer Lotus Youngman

Victor Muller & Pang Quinghua
Victor Muller & Pang Quinghua

At the same time as Hawtai, Lotus Youngman took the stage as part of the China Youngman Auto Group. Founder Pang Quingnian made his billions with mines and ambitious visions. He wanted to build 2009 car plants in China and develop vehicles with the help of Lotus. Only a small part of the plans came true and Pang played an on / off game in Trollhättan. Sometimes Youngman was in, sometimes outside. Even after bankruptcy, 10 was still trying to get Saab's remains erwerben, but failed. The plan followed, along with Muller and Spyker Premium vehiclee to build on the Phoenix platform. The plan was not implemented because Pang failed to meet its financial commitments. In the years that followed, Youngman left a trail of blood on his European investments that went bankrupt because Pang never met his financial commitments.

Youngman Lotus has never been able to successfully establish itself on the Chinese market. 2011, the year of the planned entry into Sweden, was built for 35.335 cars. Four years later, it was only 11.581, then the national manufacturers' association took the company out of the statistics because of production figures that were hardly ascertainable.

The ambitious plan from 2009 to build 1.5 millions of vehicles per year was clearly missed. In the past few months, more and more companies in the Youngman Group have gone in insolvency, the trip into the car industry seems over. Pang Quingnian is considered scandalous in his home country. He has been blacklisted more than 20 times for "dishonesty" set. Saab would hardly have been in good hands with him.

12 thoughts too "The silent end of the alleged Saab rescuers"

  • I would say wrong decision. BAIC still exists and there would probably still be SAAB in some form if VM hadn't gambled. Too bad.

  • I don't think you can blame VM alone. Who knows what BAIC would have made of it in the end. Rather, the number of interested parties was manageable because Saab didn't really have a good dowry.
    I still think that VM was the only one who wanted to save and develop the Saab DNA.

    • That is always the question. What would BAIC have made of it - and would we have liked it? Volvo is run on a relatively long leash and it has not harmed the brand. Would Saab have been so lucky?

  • You can get really scared and scared if you read about the escapades of the Chinese state or sub-state companies. Can our Central European economic order really still exist against these communist / state capitalist companies? Know-how has already flowed a lot and now the jobs could go on like this.

    The current climate discussion in this country should give us food for thought, because many local “photovoltaics” really believe that they have done something good if they “peppered” their roofs with solar cells. Unfortunately, we often forget that 80 - 90% of the photovoltaic elements come from the PRC and not from Europe. I fear that this will also happen with the "climate-neutral" motor vehicles.

    Even VW has m. E. strategically overstated with its excessive commitment in China. Others could follow.

  • Sounds like BAIC was the best option. But who knows what advances and false promises VM have been made by the black sheep?
    In this respect, I also enjoy reading about their failures with a certain pleasure. Thanks Tom.

    Of course it's a cloudy pleasure. The thought of the extremely narrowly missed 9-5 SC and what else could have come up resonates with ...

  • Inquired (PS)

    How about the licenses and GM again? I remember it so that GM had VM in hand and would have rejected Chinese investors (such as BAIC) ...

    If so, VM was completely back against the wall and an entry BAIC would have been the end for 9-4X and 9-5 SC anyway ...

    • BAIC was the primary GM partner in China at the time. On the contrary, there would have been no problems. It was unofficially circulated that a "pass-through" from Saab to GM would have been desirable. However, nothing came of it.

      The BAIC - GM relationship is now history. Now the Chinese are in the process of increasing their stake in Daimler to 10% and getting a seat on the supervisory board.

  • @ Tom,

    thank you for the illuminating AW. Too bad that it didn't work with VM and BAIC ...

  • It is exciting to see what became of these companies. In retrospect, probably not a good partner. It would have been difficult again at the latest with the diesel crisis and changes in mobility ideas.
    What is Rachel Pang doing now? 🙂

  • Again, this is a very interesting and informative post with all the details.

  • BAIC's also bought the old 9-3 and 9-5 rights from GM …….

  • The world also changed greatly after the 2008> financial problems ……

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