SWEDEN: China piracy fears lead Scania to issue "no thank you" to NEVS
Scania has delivered a hammer blow to the proposed takeover of Saab by the NEVS consortium by refusing to allow its Griffin logo to be used, citing fears of Chinese brand piracy.
The Swedish truckmaker's shock move has thrown a huge spanner in the works of NEVS' (National Electric Vehicles Sweden) attempt to purchase bankrupt Saab following Scania's firm "no thank you" to its Griffin being used.
Despite the development, the Chinese/Japanese/Swedish consortium insisted to just-auto today (16 August) it was still in in talks to rescue its bid, although Scania declined to say if the Griffin was substituted for another trademark, permission would be granted.
"There is a Chinese buyer and in China you see copies of several brands - we don't want to see trucks with our symbol on," a Scania spokesman from the lorry manufacturer's headquarters in Sweden told just-auto.
"There are a lot of brand pirates in China - I don't say NEVS has that intention...so to be sure there is no risk we say 'no thank you.'"
Scania's move is just part of the tricky negotiations surrounding Saab's mooted exit from bankruptcy being handled by receivers in Gothenburg, as Swedish defence and security company, Saab AB, must also grant permission for NEVS to use the Saab brand name.
The truck producer's concerns about China will not sit easily with NEVS however, which maintains the deal is "not a Chinese investment." The consortium previously told just-auto the majority owner in NEVS is National Modern Energy Holdings, managed from Hong Kong and registered in the British Virgin Islands.
NEVS maintains it is continuing talks, telling just-auto: "Discussions concerning the brand are still on-going. We are doing the closing deal this summer. We are the buyer and we have signed a deal with the receivers."
News of Scania's block could now attract the interest of possible further purchasers should the consortium walk away and although there is as yet no indication of any new buyers, they will equally face the protective stance of the truckmaker.
"It is not about money - it is about protecting our strong brand - it is non-negotiable," said the Scania spokesman. "We don't want to see this particular buyer use the Griffin symbol because [it] has been related to Scania for 101 years.
"We have invested a lot of effort to build this strong brand - our customers know what Griffin means to them. We don't want someone else to use it in any way that might harm Scania."