Beijing Auto takes Koenigsegg stake to help fund Saab purchase
Chinese automaker Beijing Automotive Industry Holding Corporation has agreed to acquire a stake in Swedish sports car manufacturer Koenigsegg in an effort to help the company acquire Saab from General Motors. After Koenigsegg lost its major American investor earlier this summer, the Swedish supercar builder was in need of some financial assistance to complete its intended acquisition.
"This is an important step on the road toward a new Saab. We have a well prepared business plan, an important partnership and we are ready to proceed without state financing," Koenigsegg CEO Christian von Koenigsegg said in a prepared statement.
No financial details regarding the memorandum of understanding signed between Koenigsegg and Beijing Auto have been released. An unidentified source close to Beijing Auto told the Wall Street Journal that the deal ""is still being worked out, and the work is very complex."
Beijing Auto is apparently interested in producing Saab vehicles in China for Koenigsegg. Saab's presence in the rapidly-growing Chinese market has been limited since the automaker does not currently build cars outside of Europe. Beijing Auto has also been actively involved in the bidding for Saab's cross-country rival, Volvo, which Ford has been trying to sell.
Beijing Auto currently builds vehicles for Mercedes-Benz and Hyundai in China.
It is unclear how GM, which is anxious to shed the Saab brand, will react. Previously, GM had indicated a reluctance to sell any of its units to Chinese buyers - and it has been unhappy with a Russian-financed bid for Opel. The European Investment Bank will also need to scrutinize the Chinese tie-in before it agrees to lend 400 million euros to Koenigsegg. The EIB says it will make its decision on October 21.