Beijing Autos to explore new cooperation with Saab

AP News
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Posted: Dec 18, 2009 7:37 AM

Beijing Autos said Friday it wants to explore further cooperation with GM's Saab Automobile such as "new energy vehicles," after earlier announcing the purchase of car and engine technology from the struggling brand.

Beijing Automotive Industry Holdings President Wang Dazhong said Saab also wants his company to import and sell Saab brand vehicles in China, which this year became the world's biggest auto market.

The state-owned company announced Monday it had agreed to buy some powertrain technology for Saab's 9-5 and 9-3 sedans, including engine and gearbox knowhow.

In a briefing Friday, Wang would not say how much Beijing Autos paid.

Under the deal, Saab will also support Beijing Autos' efforts to build its own car brands, using the Saab technology.

"We need to grow a global company," Wang said. "We need to explore new opportunities to cooperate with Saab, such as in new energy vehicles."

He said Beijing Autos' sales are expected to pass 1.2 million vehicles this year.

Analysts have said the Saab acquisition will enable it to build a passenger car to call its own, but the company still has to build up its own reputation and product line.

Beijing Autos, founded as Beijing Auto Works in 1958, was the first Chinese car maker to team up with a foreign partner, setting up its Beijing Jeep Corp. joint venture with American Motors in 1983.