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GM fights off Saab buyout by Chinese companies

A sign outside of a Saab dealership in Miami.

Steve Chiotakis: General Motors today rejected a plan for two Chinese companies to take over the Swedish auto maker Saab. GM is still a preferred shareholder in Saab.

Marketplace China bureau chief Rob Schmitz reports.


Rob Schmitz: The deal for two Chinese companies to take over Saab was a confusing one from the start for auto industry analyst Michael Dunne. One of the investors seemed a little green.

Michael Dunne: The lead on this, PangDa, is actually a dealer group in China with no car manufacturing experience.

And Saab has been a money-loser for some time. So why do these two companies want to save it? Dunne says even though Saab's brand is dying, there are still important GM parts under their hoods.

Dunne: When the Chinese come in and buy Saab, they're actually buying into access to GM's best technology. And that makes GM unhappy: nope, we don't want that to happen.

In essence, says Dunne, this was a not-so-elaborate plan by the Chinese to gain access to GM's engine and chassis technology. That's something GM won't even share with its long-term partner in China, he says.

GM says it'll stop supplying components and technology if the Chinese succeed with their bid for Saab.

Dunne estimates that'll cut the price of Saab in half. In other words, no deal. Putting Saab back on the road to bankruptcy.

In Shanghai, I'm Rob Schmitz, for Marketplace.

About the author

Rob Schmitz is Marketplace’s China correspondent in Shanghai.

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