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BAIC will 'move fast' on Saab bid, chief says

(China Daily/Agencies)
Updated: 2009-12-01 08:02

Beijing Automotive Industry Holding Co said it will "move fast" on General Motors Co's Saab unit after its partner scrapped a bid for the Swedish automaker.

"Stay tuned," Beijing Auto president Wang Dazong said yesterday in Nanjing, Jiangsu province, when asked whether the company would bid alone for Saab or as part of a group.

GM may shut Trollhaettan, Sweden-based Saab if the unit isn't sold, a person familiar with the matter said last week after Koenigsegg Group AB walked away from a Beijing Auto-backed bid.

Wang declined to say whether a bid would be submitted before GM's board discusses the unit's future at a meeting today. "I can't control GM's timetable," Wang said. "We want to move fast."

Saab is attractive for its brand and its technology, Wang said, adding that a lack of "technology depth" is one of Beijing Auto's weaknesses. In July, the Chinese carmaker's bid for GM's Opel unit failed because the companies couldn't come to an agreement over intellectual property rights to car designs and technology, Beijing Auto said at that time.

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However, "if Beijing Auto bought the technology, they wouldn't have anyone who understood it", said John Zeng, a Shanghai-based analyst at IHS Global Insight.

"It would be a big challenge for them to make it a success," Zeng said.

Swedish daily Dagens Industri reported yesterday that Beijing Auto and Merbanco Inc plans to make a joint offer for Saab sale, citing unidentified people with knowledge of the plan.

While Christopher Johnston, president of Merbanco, declined to comment on the reported joint bid, he said it could be interesting for Merbanco to continue where Koenigsegg Group's process ended last week, the newspaper said yesterday.