Beijing Automotive Industry Holding Corp (BAIC) general manager Wang Dazong has said the Chinese automaker might still be interested in buying General Motors’ Saab unit.
Asked by reporters at a China-European Union business summit whether BAIC would consider approaching Saab as a solo buyer or only as a part of a consortium, Wang replied: “I would just say, stay tuned a little bit.”
He added that BAIC’s strategy of going global was still in place. “For us, I don’t see a need to buy a plant. I don’t see a need to buy a building. I don’t see a need to buy a robot. So what’s left? You figure it out.”
BAIC is reconsidering its options after the consortium, led by Swedish luxury car maker Koenigsegg, last week pulled out of talks to buy Saab.
Wang said that Saab is a strong brand with global recognition and a good history. “From my dealings with them, it has pretty good people and a pretty good technology depth as well.”
Intellectual property rights (IPR) are seen as a key issue hindering Chinese carmakers from taking over struggling overseas automakers.
BAIC cited IPR as the reason behind its failure to reach a deal with GM over its Opel unit in July.
Asked about the auto market in China, Wang told Reuters it was natural to have a slowdown after a 45% surge in industry-wide sales so far this year, powered in part by aggressive tax breaks on fuel-efficient cars and other subsidies.
“We would certainly like to encourage the incentive programme to continue. All the indications are that it is moving in that direction. This year had tremendous growth, so normally there is a little bit of hangover, so it may impact next year’s volume.”
Vice commerce minister Jiang Zengwei said at the weekend that the government would expand schemes that give consumers a discount if they trade in old cars for new ones.