There was a time I had high hopes for Saab.
That time, to be specific, was a little over a week ago.
But then the news of the company’s dire financial situation became more clear, and now the company has sold nearly 30 percent of itself to a small Chinese automaker.
So the great and quirky Swedish Saab will be partly owned by Spyker and partly owned by a startup Chinese car company while considering selling assets to a Russian investor. Awesome.
I think it’s safe to say the Saab we once knew is gone, with little hope of a dramatic return to glory.
According to USA Today, Saab has officially confirmed that the company has sold a 29.9 percent equity share to Hawtai Motor Group, which has been in business for only 10 years. The $220 million includes $175 million for 24.6 million shares of Saab as well as a $45 million loan.
I had to double-check those numbers when I first read them, because I thought they were wrong. Thirty percent of Saab couldn’t be worth more than, you know, 30 or 40 grand.
Kidding aside, the deal requires approval from various Chinese agencies, the European Investment Bank and the Swedish National Debt Office. According to Saab, if finalized, the deal will provide financing for the company’s operations and be Saab’s gateway into the exploding Chinese auto market.
Saab CEO Victor Muller expects Chinese regulators to approve the deal within the next 12 months.
Maybe the Chinese market is where Saab will enjoy its second coming, because in the U.S. the brand is dying a slow death and may not have much of a future.
Once a car company starts bringing in Russian investors and selling parts of itself to Chinese companies, it’s time to throw in the towel, don’t you think?