The fateful year 2011. A rumor made the rounds. Saab CEO Victor Muller let the contract with the state company BAIC burst in favor of Hawtai. But there is another variant. She says Muller built on the entry of scandal banker Vladimir Antonov and therefore ignored the BAIC degree.
Whatever it was, the answer could only be provided by Muller himself, but he was silent. Then as now, there is a huge number of car manufacturers in China. There are said to be more than 100, including brands that no one in the West has ever heard of. For a long time, provincial princes and industrial magnates considered owning a car brand to be beneficial for their own image. However, the quantities produced are usually manageable and the vehicles do not meet international standards. Competitiveness is a foreign concept and the central government in Beijing is a thorn in the side of the central government. For years she looked for a remedy, tried to force the merger into larger units or the closure of unprofitable plants. Without success - so far.
With the gradual elimination of subsidies for battery and hybrid vehicles in connection with an overall ailing market, the long-awaited adjustment now seems to be taking place. The bankruptcy wave is running and it also affects brands that made their big appearance in 2011 as alleged Saab saviors.
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 never a close collaboration or the purchase of shares. In August, Hawtai turned away from Saab and towards 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 has filed for bankruptcy. Today nature takes back the Hawtai works.
Scandal-ridden Saab rescuer Lotus Youngman
At the same time as Hawtai, Lotus Youngman took the stage as part of the China Youngman Auto Group. Founder Pang Quingnian had made his billions with mines and had ambitious visions. In 2009 he wanted to build 10 car plants in China and develop vehicles with the help of Lotus. Only a small part of the plans became reality, and in Trollhättan Pang played an on / off game. Sometimes Youngman was inside, sometimes outside. Even after the bankruptcy, attempts were made to close the remains of Saab in 2012 erwerben, but failed. The plan followed, together with Muller and Spyker Premium vehiclee based on the Phoenix platform. The plan was not implemented because Pang failed to meet his financial commitments. In the years that followed, Youngman left a trail of blood on his European investments, which slipped into bankruptcy as Pang never met his financial commitments.
Youngman Lotus was never able to establish itself successfully in the Chinese market. In 2011, the year of the planned entry into Sweden, 35.335 cars were built. Four years later it was only 11.581, then the national manufacturers' association removed the company from the statistics because production figures were barely determinable.
The ambitious plan from 2009 to build 1.5 million vehicles per year was clearly missed. In the last few months, more and more companies in the Youngman Group went into 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.