Beijing Autos has agreed to buy technology from GM’s Saab Automobile, a major breakthrough for the Chinese automaker that could also clear the way for General Motors to sell the rest of Saab to another buyer.
An announcement on Monday from State-owned Beijing Automotive Industry Holdings gave no details about the cost or timing of the acquisition of car and engine technology.
Beijing Autos, also known as BAIC, said it plans to buy the rights to some powertrain technology for Saab’s 9-5 and 9-3 sedans, including engine and gear-box know-how.
The production equipment used to make the 9-5 will be moved to China to produce BAIC cars, and Saab will help integrate the technology into the Chinese company’s cars, the two sides said.
Saab will also support Beijing Auto’s efforts to build up its own car brands, said the announcement.
GM is in talks with another buyer to sell the entire Saab brand, a person familiar with the negotiations said on Sunday.
The sale of the technology to Beijing Autos will help Saab financially, but won’t hinder a deal under negotiations to sell the entire Saab brand and its current production lines to another buyer, said the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak about the deals.
“This arrangement is excellent for both parties, now and for the future. We have developed a good relationship with BAIC and look forward to working with them to integrate this Saab technology into their future vehicles,” Jan Aake Jonsson, Managing Director of Saab Automobile, said in a statement released by GM.
General Motors earlier this month had said it would phase out the Saab brand if it doesn’t find a buyer before the end of December. About 4,500 jobs at Saab are at stake.
However, GM said new potential buyers had emerged after Sweden’s Koenigsegg Automotive AB dropped out of a deal to buy the company in November.
Beijing Autos originally was part of the Koenigsegg team and said it would re-evaluate Saab after that deal fell through.
Private equity firm The Renco Group Inc. and investor group Merbanco Inc. are reportedly also interested in Saab.