Chinese vehicle maker Zhejang Youngman Lotus has made an audacious £282m bid for the bankrupt Saab operation and wants to build the second-generation 9-3 alongside an unnamed new Lotus model, according to report from news agency Reuters.
The bid for whole of the Trollhattan operation was made at the beginning of last week, according to Reuters’ source, but the receivers are said not to be enthusiastic. It is understood that they want to sell Saab piecemeal because they believe they will have a better chance of raising more money for Saab’s creditors.
The Swedish Debt office – which recently paid off Saab’s European Investment Bank loan – now owns the rights to Saab’s parts operation and Saab Automobile Tools division. It claims these two operations are worth more than the £205m it is owed after the debt repayment.
Youngman’s wider plan is to build the two models for around 18 months, while development work is completed on Saab’s Phoenix platform and the new 9-3 models that would have been based on it.
Industry reports say that Youngman owns the rights to build and sell Lotus models in China. However, Proton’s new owners are still digesting Lotus’s revival plan and the British sports car maker could still be sold-off by the Malaysians.
There is also some mystery surrounding Youngman’s plans the build the 2003-model 9-3. Based on GM’s Epsilon 1 platform, Saab owned the rights to the car and sold them in late 2010 (along with the design rights to the old 9-5 and Saab’s old slant-four engines) to Beijing-based carmaker BAIC.