Saab to develop 3 new models with China partner
Saab Automobile AB's owner has signed an agreement with Chinese automaker Zhejiang Youngman Passenger Car Group Co. to form a joint venture in Sweden to develop three Saab models.
Swedish Automobile NV said in a statement that the 50-50 joint venture will develop three "completely new" vehicles: the Saab 9-1, 9-6 and 9-7.
In the venture, dubbed New Product Joint Venture (NPJV), Saab will design, develop and test the new models while Youngman will provide financial support.
"Within the development process of these three new vehicle lines, Saab Automobile will be responsible for controlling and managing the design, the development and testing process to the start of production and providing other necessary technical and quality control support," the statement said.
Saab will use existing capabilities and expertise from its technical development department in Trollhättan.
Victor Muller, Saab CEO, said in the statement: "This joint venture offers Saab Automobile the opportunity to develop models that were not envisaged nor funded in our original business plan: for instance, we will now be able to develop a small entry level Saab, a car that has long been on the top of our wish list."
In the same statement Pang Qingnian, CEO of Youngman, added: "The Saab 9-6X and Saab 9-7 will be key to enhancing the prestige of the Saab brand to an even larger group of customers in China and the U.S., while the entry level Saab 9-1 will appeal to urban motorists around the globe."
Swedish Automobile was formerly known as Spyker Cars NV, a Dutch producer of exotic sports cars. The agreement between Swedish Automobile and Youngman has yet to be approved by regulators in Sweden and China.
Swedish Automobile also said it has converted its memorandum of understanding signed last month with Youngman and Chinese auto distributor Pang Da Automobile Trade Co. into a legally binding agreement.
Under the agreement, Pang Da and Youngman will jointly invest 245 million euros (2.3 billion yuan) in Swedish Automobile. The three companies will establish joint ventures to manufacture and distribute Saabs in China.
Paul McVeigh contributed to this report