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December 1, 2009

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Home » Business » Auto

BAIC stays 'tuned' to buy Saab

BEIJING Automotive Industry Holding Corp might still be interested in buying General Motors' Saab unit, according to the Chinese car company's general manager.

Asked by reporters yesterday whether BAIC would consider approaching Saab as a solo buyer or only as a part of a consortium, Wang Dazong said: "I would just say, 'stay tuned a little bit'."

Speaking on the sidelines of a China-European Union business summit in Nanjing in Jiangsu Province, Wang said BAIC's strategy of going global was still in place.

"For us, I don't see a need to buy a plant. I don't see a need to buy a building. I don't see a need to buy a robot. So what's left? You figure it out," he said.

BAIC must decide its next move after a consortium of which it was a member, led by tiny Swedish luxury car maker Koenigsegg, pulled out of talks last week to buy Saab, putting in doubt the future of the loss-making GM unit.

"I cannot control GM's timetable. I obviously have no way of influencing GM's timetable. I would just say we are very dynamic and impatient people. We want to do things fast," Wang said.

Asked what he liked about the Swedish marque, Wang said: "Saab, as I said before, has a pretty good brand. It has global recognition and a good history. From my dealing with them, it has pretty good people and a pretty good technology depth as well."

Turning to China's domestic auto market, Wang said it was natural to have a slowdown after a 45 percent surge in industrywide sales so far this year, powered in part by aggressive tax cuts on fuel-efficient cars and other subsidies.

"We would certainly like to encourage the incentive program to continue. All the indications are that it is moving in that direction," he said. "But this year had tremendous growth, so normally there is a little bit of hangover, so it may impact next year's volume."


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