Saab Cars Returns to China

Swedish carmaker Saab will kick off a collaboration with China Automobile Trading to distribute its cars, including the 9-5 sedan and 9-4X, in the Middle Kingdom.

General Motors, which sold the Swedish carmaker to Spyker in February, stopped its imports of the Saab brand into China and Russia during the economic crisis. The move to return to China is part of Spyker’s plan to swing Saab back into profit.

China is the world’s largest automobile market. Saab will initially have around ten dealers in the country, it said in a statement Monday. In the long run Saab plans to set up plants to make cars in China. But first it must see demand and sales rise.

“This agreement is vital for Saab, as it will be the foundation to develop a stronger presence in what is now the largest car market in the world,” said Saab CEO Jan Åke Jonsson. “Saab sees strong sales potential in China and we are confident our product offering will be attractive to both existing and new customers in the market. We look forward to re-establishing the Saab brand in China next year with new products like the new 9-5 Sedan and the 9-4X crossover vehicle.”

A contract is expected to be signed in the first quarter of 2011, with sales starting in July. Saab will also appoint local distribution partners for Russia and Brazil.

Also Swedish car maker Volvo and its new Chinese owner Geely are in talks over new plants in China. The Asian country is today Volvo’s third largest market.

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