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.
We’re here to help you navigate this changed world and economy.
Our mission at Marketplace is to raise the economic intelligence of the country. It’s a tough task, but it’s never been more important.
In the past year, we’ve seen record unemployment, stimulus bills, and reddit users influencing the stock market. Marketplace helps you understand it all, will fact-based, approachable, and unbiased reporting.
Generous support from listeners and readers is what powers our nonprofit news—and your donation today will help provide this essential service. For just $5/month, you can sustain independent journalism that keeps you and thousands of others informed.