Last Friday, GM spokesman Jim Cain said that the company would "not be able to support a change in the ownership of Saab which could negatively impact GM's existing relationships in China or otherwise adversely affect GM's interests worldwide.”
Today, General Motors has finally stopped beating around the bush and decided to come out in the open about the Saab-Pang Da-Youngman deal. And what the Detroit-based automaker said is that it's not giving away its Epsilon platform technology nor its 9-4X SUV.
“Although General Motors is open to the continued supply of powertrains and other components to Saab under appropriate terms and conditions, GM will not agree to the continuation of the existing technology licenses or the continued supply of 9-4X vehicles to Saab following the proposed change in ownership, as it would not be in the best interest of GM shareholders,” Cain said in a statement.
This means that Saab’s former owner, which still is a preference stakeholder and major supplier, has openly opposed the Chinese takeover and the transfer of GM technology that it entails.
Saab enthusiast site SaabsUnited contacted Cain, who further clarified GM’s position: “It’s about a change of control in ownership. When Saab was sold to Spyker, we wrote technology licenses, supply agreements and other things and those were based on a relationship with a business plan and our understanding of their strategy and how they were going to be deploying intellectual property and the science of a building a vehicle that we’ve developed over decades of time.”
Now that the Chinese are interested in taking over Saab, Cain says that the Spyker deal is off. GM is ready to negotiate, but on new terms.
“As you can see in our statement, the issue of supplying components and power train and other things to Saab is something we’d be open to continuing under the right conditions. But when you talk about the 9-4X and the technology licenses, that is something we have to manage so carefully because it potentially impacts us in markets all over the world. We need to be able to control our own technology in order to be successful for the long term.”
Saab’s current owner Swedish Automobile responded with an official statement: “We have taken notice of a press statement issued by General Motors regarding the proposed sale to Pang Da Automobile and Youngman Automobile. We acknowledge the position taken by General Motors, and will now discuss with Pang Da and Youngman to see whether a structure can be agreed which is acceptable to all parties concerned.”
This effectively means that Saab is back to square one or as its CEO, Victor Muller, put it, “we have to go back to the drawing board".