October 20, 2020

Saab Resumes Production With Push From Chinese Partner

Saab Automobile said on Friday that it was aiming to produce a “first batch of around 100 cars,” which would be the first time since April 6 that the plant had produced vehicles. The company said it hoped to increase output over the next few weeks “in parallel with the full re-establishment of the supply chain.”

“We have gone through a rough patch in recent weeks, but Saab is back in action again,” Victor Muller, the chief executive of Saab and its parent company, the Dutch automaker Spyker Cars, said in a statement.

Spyker bought Saab from General Motors last year, taking on a daunting challenge in trying to restore it to health. But Mr. Muller is aiming to generate cash by selling some of Saab’s real estate holdings to a Russian businessman, Vladimir A. Antonov.

The company’s rebuilding plans are complicated by the fact that it needs financial support from the European Investment Bank and the Swedish government to modernize.

Mr. Muller was joined at the plant by Pang Qinghua, chief executive of Pang Da Automobile, the largest publicly traded car distributor in China. Pang Da stepped in on May 16 and provided crucial aid to get Saab back online after the collapse of a previous deal with Hawtai Motor left the Swedish company scrambling to stay alive.

Saab said that the factory in Trollhattan had outstanding orders for more than 6,500 cars, and that total orders for the company — including for 1,600 Saab 9-4X cars — amounted to more than 8,100 vehicles. Pang Da itself has ordered about 1,300 cars, paying 30 million euros, or $43 million, up front.

Mr. Muller was upbeat about Saab’s prospects for entry into the Chinese auto market, the world’s biggest, with its new partner. But Pang Da must first win approval for a tie-up from the Beijing authorities. Saab has said the deal with Hawtai fell apart because it feared the Chinese company would be unable to obtain official authorization in time to rescue Saab.

Article source: http://feeds.nytimes.com/click.phdo?i=b28564d7cbb925a10c0859a8443452ae

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