2011 Saab 9-4X AeroEnlarge Photo
There’s a lot of paperwork and contracts being couriered between China and Sweden these days, and we’re not quite sure what to make of it all. After an announcement earlier this month that contracts between Swedish Automobile and investors Pang Da and Youngman had become binding, the automaker announced that it was proceeding with development of three new models.
Now comes word that a 50-50 joint venture has been formed between Swedish Automobile (Saab’s parent) and Zhejiang Youngman Passenger Car Group Company (Youngman, in short) to develop the Saab 9-1, 9-6X and 9-7 models. Saab will be tasked with the design, development and testing of the new models, but not necessarily with their production.
Could this mean that Youngman will build the cars for Saab in China? It’s clear that Youngman wanted this when it invested in Saab a few months back. The Chinese government has yet to approve such a deal, so what Youngman wants may turn out to be different from what its government allows.
Saab is still treating this as good news. CEO Victor Muller said of the new joint venture, “This… offers Saab Automobile the opportunity to develop models that were not envisaged nor funded in our original business plan.”
Of particular interest to Muller is the Saab 9-1, an entry level car that has long been on the company’s wish list. Whether or not it will actually see production is now in the hands of the Chinese government.
[Automotive News (subscription required)]