By David Shaw, ERJ staff
Stockholm -- Saab Automobile AB has announced a strategic partnership with China Hawtai Motor Group.
Victor Muller, Saab Automobile chairman, and Richard Zhang, vice president of Hawtai Motor Group addressed the media from Beijing.
The company said, "Following yesterdayÂ´s announcement that Spyker Cars N.V. (Spyker) secured its short term funding, Spyker announces today that Spyker and Saab Automobile AB (Saab Automobile) signed an agreement with Hawtai Motor Group Company Limited (Hawtai). This agreement conditionally secures medium term funding and includes financing in the form of subscription agreements in the amount of EUR 150 million as well as a strategic alliance for China including joint ventures on manufacturing, technology and distribution.
Hawtai Motor Group's business includes the development, sales and export of vehicles, diesel engines for clean-type sedans and gearboxes for automatic transmissions, according to a Jan. 7 filing from China Minsheng Banking Corp. Hawtai could not be reached for comment.
Founded in 2000, Hawtai has positioned itself as an SUV producer, although it has added a couple of sedans to its lineup. The Beijing-based company has two vehicle assembly plants in Shandong province and Inner Mongolia with a production capacity of 200,000 units a year.
The company once had a joint venture with Hyundai Motor Co., producing the Santa Fe and other SUVs. That partnership was dissolved, but Hawtai continues to produce SUVs under its own brand using the previous-generation Santa Fe platform purchased from Hyundai.
Saab has been seeking a Chinese partner in order to raise funds amid a cash crunch that has forced Saab to halt production. The move also would give Saab entry to the world's largest market.
Saab also hopes for an investment from Russian financier Vladimir Antonov, but that deal must be approved by the European Investment Bank.
Antonov wants to buy Saab's plant, real estate and equipment and then lease those assets back to Saab.
On Friday, April 29, Saab owner Spyker Cars reported a first-quarter loss of 72 million euros, or about $107 million, and warned that it was unlikely to meet its 2011 production target of 80,000 vehicles.
Rick Krantz of Automotive News contributed to this report.
From Automotive News (A Crain publication)
Press release from Saab