GM Claims it is Still Seeking a Buyer for Saab

According to a spokesman for Saab, GM can still find a buyer for the company. The statement came in response to a Wall Street Journal report that China’s Beijing Automotive Industrial Holdings Company (BAIC) has agreed to purchase some of the automaker’s key assets from General Motors Company.

In late November, GM announced that it would wind down the Saab brand by year’s end unless it could find a buyer. Saab spokesman, Eric Geers remains confident that a buyer can still be found but told Reuters, "We can’t comment on anything about the sales process."

According to the WSJ report, BAIC has reached a tentative agreement with Saab’s parent company, GM, for the acquisition of certain intellectual property for all current 9-3 and 9-5 Saab models as well as some production equipment.

Not included in the sale are intellectual property and tooling relating to Saab’s future 9-5 platform which it shares with GM’s Opel and Vauxhall Insignia model. The Insignia was voted the 2009 European Car of the Year. GM recently announced that it plans to launch a North American version of the Insignia under the Buick Regal nameplate next year.

Despite the pending sale, Spyker Cars NV CEO Victor Muller says the company is still engaged in talks with GM over the purchase of its money-losing Swedish brand. Muller said that the deal between GM and BAIC is actually “good news” for the Dutch automaker and described the assets involved in the deal as obsolete. “We’re still in negotiations,” he said in a telephone interview conducted on Sunday.

BAIC is China’s fifth largest automaker, but it does not manufacture vehicles under its own brand. The Saab deal will provide it with 9-5 model tooling that will be moved to China from Saab’s Trollhatten, Sweden production hub. BAIC has stated that it is not interested in acquiring the Trollhatten plant.

Saab’s managing director Jan Ake Jonsson said in a statement, "This arrangement is excellent for both parties, now and for the future. We have developed a good relationship with BAIC and look forward to working with them to integrate this Saab technology into their future vehicles."

GM spokeswoman Gunilla Gustavs said the funds raised by the BAIC deal “Will finance the new Saab and contribute to a good start under new ownership.”

Following the collapse of Saab’s sale to premium sports car maker Koenigsegg Group AB just weeks ago, many analysts predicted that GM would settle for selling off the company’s assets or simply wind the company down as it is doing with its Saturn brand.

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