Saab in talks with Chinese-Japanese auto buyer

Victor Muller, chairman of SAAB Automobile AB, speaks during the New York International Auto Show April 21, 2011 in New York City.

David Brancaccio: Bankrupt Swedish carmaker Saab may have found a buyer. There are reports it's a maker of electric vehicles with Chinese investment.

For more we go to Christopher Werth in London who's been following the story. Christopher, good morning.

Christopher Werth: Hey good morning, David.

Brancaccio: I thought Saab was dead.

Werth: A lot of people thought that, David. I was at the Saab plant in Sweden last year when it closed. I have to say it was a really, really sad sight to see a dark factory with a lot of half finished cars sitting on the assembly line. But reports in Sweden today say that a company called National Electric Vehicles Sweden is going to buy Saab. It's a company led by investors in Japan and Hong Kong and there's really no indication as to how much the deal is worth.

Brancaccio: When I think of Saab, I think of the ignition switch between the front seats, I don't think of electric vehicles.

Werth: Right, well previous bidders had tried to buy Saab, if you remember, but they were rebuffed by GM, Saab's former parent company. It still owns a lot of the platform and chassis technology that Saab uses. GM doesn't want that falling into the hands of another company, especially a Chinese one. The fact that this is about Saab's electric vehicle technology may mean this deal could work. Now, Saab did have electric drive hyper technology under development.

Brancaccio: Ok, so Saab technology, what abou the Saab brand -- are we going to see that on cars?

Werth: Well perhaps, you know the brand is still very valuable. I spoke with Han's I spoke with Hans Nyman. He's an auto consultant in Sweden. He thinks National Electric Vehicle Sweden will want to keep the Saab name.

Hans Nyman: There are enthusiasts all over the world for Saab and I think they could be opinion leaders into something new.

But he says there's one more hurdle, David. There's also a separate company called Saab Defense. It makes military technology, and it has a say in who gets the Saab name and what they do with it. Now, there's word whether they'll sign off on this deal.
 
Brancaccio: Christorpher Werth in London, thank you.

Werth: Thank you.

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