New investment puts beleaguered Saab back in the game

Saab's fresh investment will allow it to push on with development of new models, including its new 91 supermini and a larger SUV.

Saab now has a 150 million euro (£134 million) investment from Chinese SUV manufacturer Hawtai in Saab’s parent firm Spyker, plus a 30 million euro (£26.7 million) loan from existing investor Gemini Investment Fund.

See the first image of the Saab 91

This has generated enough cash for Saab to maintain its day-to-day operations, which have suffered due to sales falling well short of expectations.

But those deals — and a 60 million euro (£53 million) investment from a Lithuanian investment fund and Russian oligarch Vladimir Antonov — could have a longer-term pay-off, Saab chairman Victor Muller told Autocar.

Muller hopes the new cash will kick-start development of the new 91 supermini, “a car we so eagerly want”. Indeed, Saab is reportedly readying a bid to buy the outgoing Mini platform from BMW to underpin its Audi A1 rival.

Saab has already inked a deal with BMW to provide engines for future models. Other partnerships, Muller suggests, are already in the works.

Saab will now “look at the specific needs of the Chinese market”, he said, following Hawtai taking a 29.9 per cent equity stake in Spyker. This could lead to some additional models specifically designed for the world’s largest car market.

“There is strong demand for very large SUVs in China,” Muller said, “so something larger than the 9-4X is thinkable.” However, he cautioned that it is “way too soon to go there”.

Paul Eisenstein

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