The Beijing Automotive Industry Corporation (BAIC) is poised to buy the tooling and design rights to the outgoing Saab 9-5, according to Autocar sources.
BAIC recently became a minority shareholder in the Koenigsegg Group, which is attempting to buy Saab from General Motors.
If the plans go ahead, the 9-5 will be ‘shifted lock, stock and barrel’ to China. Production of the 9-5 estate is expected to end in the next few weeks.
There’s no news as to whether BAIC intends to re-start production of the 9-5 in an unchanged form or whether it will re-skin the car for sale under BAIC’s own brand.
Such moves by Chinese carmakers are increasingly common. Production of the Rover 75 and MG ZT was re-started in China after MG Rover collapsed and production of the Alfa Romeo 166 was moved to Guangzhou Auto last year.
The 9-5 is powered by Saab’s own long-running slant-four turbocharged petrol engine. The factory building this engine was wound-down earlier this year, making it another potential buy-out target for BAIC.
Shifting production of the defunct engine to China would be a much simpler operation than re-engineering the 9-5 to accommodate a new drivetrain.
Although Saab is racing to install the all-new 9-5 into its Trollhatten factory, the Koenigsegg Group has still not finalized its buyout deal with GM.
At the time of writing it is still negotiating a substantial loan with the European Investment Bank. GM has set a deadline of 31 December for its planned sell-off of Saab.