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Saab Auto Signs Deal to Re-enter China; Spyker Soars

Dec. 20 (Bloomberg) -- Saab Automobile will work with China Automobile Trading Co. Ltd. starting next year to distribute its cars, including the 9-5 sedan and 9-4X crossover, in the world’s largest automobile market.

The two have reached an agreement for Saab to return to China in July, the Trollhaettan, Sweden-based carmaker said in a statement today. Returning to China is part of Saab’s plan to return to profit and sell 120,000 cars globally by 2012.

General Motors Co., which sold the Swedish carmaker to Spyker in February, halted its imports of the Swedish brand into China and Russia in 2008 during the economic crisis. Saab plans for Chinese sales between 2,000 and 5,000 cars a year initially, and aims to add local production to increase deliveries to 50,000, the carmaker said in October.

“Long-term we have plans to make cars in China,” spokesman Eric Geers said today by phone. “First we must get volumes up there, we must have dealers and see demand rise.”

Spyker surged as much as 1.07 euros, or 33 percent, to 4.25 euros, the biggest intraday jump since Sept. 27, and traded at that level as of 2:58 p.m. in Amsterdam trading.

Saab will initially have around 10 dealers in China, it said. It aims to complete the agreement with China Automobile Trading Co. in the first quarter.

China Automobile Trading Co., a state-owned company formed in 1993, has imported and sold more than 100,000 cars, including from Volkswagen AG, Chrysler Group LLC and Ford Motor Co., according to the Chinese-language version of its website. Saab sold 860 cars in China in 2008.

Saab said in October it was talking to a number of potential partners, including Beijing Automotive Industry Holding Co., which last December bought technologies from Saab for about $200 million.

To contact the reporters on this story: Ola Kinnander in Stockholm at okinnander@bloomberg.net; Tian Ying in Guangzhou, China, via ytian@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Kenneth Wong at kwong11@bloomberg.net; Kae Inoue at kinoue@bloomberg.net.

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