Mahindra & Mahindra, the India based auto giant has been known for buying out ailing auto brands and putting them onto the path of growth (Reva Electric and Ssangyong being two examples of the same). India’s largest utility vehicle maker is now said to be looking to buy a share in the struggling Swedish car manufacturer, Saab. Saab needs a fund infusion for the development of the Phoenix platform and Mahindra, alongside Saab’s present owner – Hong Kong based National Electric Vehicles – might infuse funds to prevent the operations from coming to a halt.
NEVs is currently in talks with Mahindra to enter into a collaboration to save Saab. However, Mahindra has declined to comment on the same. Another Asian investor is said to be interested in buying a stake in Saab. Mahindra Satyam has a contract with Saab for the car manufacturer’s security arena so this partnership could extend to Mahindra’s automobile division as well. Barring the partnership with Renault, Mahindra has had a pretty successful run in other partnerships. The car maker partnered Ford in India and came away with manufacturing expertise.
Talking of Saab, the Swedish luxury car maker used to be one of the biggest car brands to come out of Sweden, apart from Volvo of course. However, the recession of 2008 saw Saab’s sales face a steep drop as Europe was hit quite badly. Saab was owned by General Motors during the 2008 recession, before GM exited its stake in 2010. From 2010, Saab has bounced from one investor to the other, before declaring bankruptcy in 2013. Presently, a Chinese consortium called NEVS or National Electric Vehicle Sweden, now owns Saab.
Meanwhile, this is not the first instance that Mahindra’s name has showed up as a potential investor in the Swedish car manufacturer. Reports of Mahindra buying a share on the ailing auto manufacturer made the rounds a couple of years ago, right after Mahindra acquired Ssangyong in 2011. Saab’s manufacturing and technology expertise is what Mahindra is said to be presently eyeing. With back to back acquisitions such as Reva Electric, Kinetic Engineering’s Two Wheeler business and Ssangyong, Mahindra has quickly diversified from being just a utility vehicle maker to an automaker with a range of products. Saab could be the latest such big buy for Mahindra.