After receiving a loan from Chinese automaker Hawtai earlier this week, Saab has announced that the next-generation 9-3 will be produced in China, according to Go Auto. The loan, worth 150 million Euros, entitles Hawtai to a 29.9-percent stake in Saab. Although Hawtai will be manufacturing Saab vehicles in China, Go Auto reports that they aren’t destined for export to other markets and will be strictly for Chinese consumption. Saab was previously only importing its cars sold in China, working with China Automobile Trading Company to do so.
Hawtai has wasted no time in negotiating the manufacture of the next-gen Saab 9-3 at its plant in China starting in 2013. Following this, Hawtai is expected to produce the “baby Saab” 9-2 range, which Saab hopes to build on a platform shared with another automaker. Just as with the 9-3, Saab says it will not be exporting the locally-built 9-2 from China to other markets. Since the 9-4X and 9-5 are underpinned by a GM platform, intellectual property laws will prevent either from being produced in China anytime soon. However, production of the next generation of 9-5 and 9-4X in China is possible, since those vehicles are expected to be based on Saab’s own Phoenix platform that will underpin the new 9-3.
Go Auto’s source, Managing Director of Saab Australia Stephen Nicholls, says the loan from Hawtai along with another from finance company Gemini will allow Saab to resume production at its plant in Trollhattan as early as next week. The deal first must be approved by the Chinese government as well as the European Investment Bank (EIB), a weeks-long process, but Nicholls says that the loans will secure Saab’s future in the long term.
Source: Go Auto