Saab has signed a binding agreement with Chinese carmaker Youngman to develop three new models, including the long-discussed 9-1 entry-level model, a large ‘9-6x’ SUV and the large executive ‘9-7’ saloon.
Youngman and Pang Da, the Chinese distributor and dealer network, will invest a total of £221m in the deal which will see the cars designed, engineered and developed by Saab at its Trollhattan HQ. The models are expected to be built in China by Youngman, but the deal still depends on "regulatory approvals" both in China and Europe.
The 9-6 and 9-7 will be based on Saab’s new scaleable Phoenix platform which, according to insiders can be stretched as far as 5.4m in length. It’s not clear which market niche the finalised 9-1 will fit into but if it is also Phoenix-based, which now seems likely, it will be around 4.2m long, making it a direct competitor for BMW’s upcoming front-drive hatchback.
Victor Muller, CEO of Swedish Automobile N.V. and Saab Automobile said: "I am pleased to announce the signing of binding agreements (subject to obtaining regulatory approvals) with Pang Da and Youngman, as it underlines the confidence of all parties in a successful tripartite partnership."
"This joint venture offers Saab Automobile the opportunity to develop models that were not envisaged nor funded in our original business plan: for instance, we will now be able to develop a small entry level Saab, a car that has long been on the top of our wish list."
Saab’s release on the deal also quotes Mr. Pang Qingnian, CEO of Youngman. “The agreement on the New Product Joint Venture brings together the best of both worlds, merging the industrial and financial strength of Youngman Passenger Car with the state-of-the-art technical expertise of Saab Automobile."
"The Saab ’9-6X’ and Saab ’9-7′ will be key to enhancing the prestige of the Saab brand to an even larger group of customers in China and the US, while the entry level Saab '9-1' will appeal to urban motorists around the globe."
Saab received a further boost today when the European Investment Bank approved Saab's sale of 50.1 per cent of its property to a consortium of Swedish real estates investors.