Saab Hopes to Dodge BAIC Sale

The noose is tightening around Saab's neck, as more and more fervent reports hint its current owner, GM, is in advanced talks with China's largest manufacturer, BAIC, for the sale of certain Saab assets.

According to a report surfaced four days ago in the Ny Teknik newspaper, GM agreed to sell the 9-5 production line to the Chinese manufacturer, in an attempt to make room for its new 9-5 that will go on sale in 2010. BAIC already said, according to sources cited by Reuters, it does not have any interest in getting its hands on Saab's site in Trollhattan and only wants the Swedish carmaker's technology.

Although neither GM nor BAIC commented on the rumors, Saab is already seeing storm clouds gathering. If the aforementioned sale goes through, the remaining assets may be liquidated, together with some 3,000 jobs in Sweden. The only hope now lies in Saab's trail of bidders (27 of them, Saab repeatedly said, without naming a single one).

"We've seen quite some interest over the last week or two, but we cannot go into closer detail more than to say that there are those interested in buying Saab in its entirety," Gunilla Gustavs, Saab spokeswoman told the source.

The company and its hopes are supported by its unions, who appear to be playing the "if I can't see it, it doesn't exist" card.

"I have heard about this (in the news) this morning, but no, it is nothing I've been informed about," Paul Akerlund, union leader said. "Naturally, I cannot know exactly what has been said, but that is something I take lightly. I simply don't believe it."

"The discussions going on are with what we regard as serious prospective buyers of Saab."

So far, only the Dutch from Spyker expressed their interest in acquiring Saab. If it fails to get it, as its Swedish Koenigsegg sibling did, it may very well be the trail of dead brands left behind by GM this year will get an extra name...
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About the author: Daniel Patrascu
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Daniel loves writing (or so he claims), and he uses this skill to offer readers a "behind the scenes" look at the automotive industry. He also enjoys talking about space exploration and robots, because in his view the only way forward for humanity is away from this planet, in metal bodies.
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