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Geely in bidding for Saab

CHINESE auto maker Geely Automobile Holdings said yesterday it is bidding for General Motors Corp's Saab brand, a move that would boost its ability to compete overseas.

Staff at Geely's headquarters would not give any details.

"You know, it's not finalized yet. It's not convenient to talk about it when the negotiations are ongoing. We'll of course release the news if we get the deal," said Zhang Xiaoshu, an employee in Geely's public relations department.

Ailing US auto giant GM plans to sell off or wind down its Hummer, Saab and Saturn units.

Geely, based in the east China's Hangzhou City, is among several big Chinese auto makers viewed as likely candidates to acquire at least one of those brands. It has denied reports it is also bidding for Ford Motor Co's Swedish unit Volvo, although the reports persist.

Geely executives reportedly recently visited Sweden, fanning rumors that it plans to bid for one or both of the Swedish auto makers.

Other Chinese companies named as possible purchasers are Chery Automobile Co, Dongfeng Motor Corp, FAW Group Corp and SAIC, a partner of GM and Volkswagen AG.

Privately-owned Geely acquired a 23-percent stake in Manganese Bronze Holdings PLC, maker of London's famed black cabs in 2007 and now runs a joint venture making the vehicles outside Shanghai.

It also recently bought Drivetrain Systems International, a major Australian-based maker of automatic transmissions.

Buying a well-known brand like Saab would fit with the firm's aim of selling cars in the West.


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