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CHINA: Locally-made Saabs in two years - Pang Da

By just-auto.com editorial team | 19 May 2011

Pang Da Automobile Trade, China's largest listed vehicle dealer, aims to set up a manufacturing venture with Spyker Cars and a partner in China this year, a Chinese executive said on Thursday, as it moves to turn around money-losing Saab Automobile.

"The plan is to start making Saab in China within two years but the exact timetable will be decided by several factors, including regulatory approval," Wang Yin, Pang Da's board secretary, told Reuters.

Under an agreement announced earlier this week, experienced retailer Pang Da will open 50 Saab-exclusive sales outlets in China this year, Wang said.

The annual China sales target for imported Saab is 10,000 units this year, depending on Saab's output level at home, Wang said.

Pang Da, based in the northern city of Tangshan, near Beijing, has 926 outlets, mostly in north China, handling 83 global and domestic car brands, including Honda , Toyota, Hyundai and Mazda, Reuters noted. It also has the exclusive rights to sell Fuji Heavy Industries' Subaru in eight northern provinces, running 102 outlets currently.

In 2010, Pang Da sold 470,000 vehicles, up 31% year on year, in line with a 32% gain in China's overall vehicle market.

Despite a cooling of vehicles sales in China, Pang Da will still open about 400 outlets this year, mostly in smaller cities in mid and western and central China which are replacing the eastern coast as the major industry driver, the report said.

Despite its agreement to team up with Spyker in a three-party manufacturing tie, Pang Da will stay focused as an auto dealer not a car maker, Wang said.

"We have no intention to be deeply involved in the manufacturing side. We are only interested in being a minor shareholder in the future JV so as to better adjust our strategies in accordance with output levels" he told Reuters.