Beijing Auto, which may buy General Motors’ Saab unit via Swedish carmaker Koenigsegg, is planning to take the last generation Saab 9-5 and produce it in China once the latest model is launched in Europe in April next year, media reported today.
In September, Beijing Automotive Industry Holding Co. (BAIC) agreed to take a minority stake in Koenigsegg as part of the Swedish luxury carmaker’s purchase of General Motor’s Saab unit. This move would help Koenigsegg close the funding gap needed to buy Saab and meanwhile could boost BAIC’s brand image.
If its production goes ahead in China, the last generation Saab 9-5 might be under BAIC’s own Beijing brand, or it could be the start of a major expansion of Saab China, according to the China Car Times. The Chinese carmaker has expressed its hope to produce Saab brand cars domestically.
Speaking to reporters in Frankfurt in mid-September, Saab CEO Jan-Ake Jonsson also disclosed the intention to have local production in China, saying that his company planned to double its Chinese dealers from current about 15 to 30.
“Beijing Auto is an opportunity for us to establish ourselves in the Chinese market with their experience,” Jonsson said, but it will need to revive sales before spending money to add manufacturing capacity in China.
Saab cars are imported into China and sold through the network of Shanghai GM, but as the sales via GM’s China JV have been slow, Saab need rely on Beijing Auto to gain customers in the world’s largest auto market.
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- BAIC plugs funding gap in Saab offer (telegraph.co.uk)