Saab dealer optimistic about Chinese investment

Wichita Saab dealer Ron Fortune said he is cautiously optimistic about the Swedish automaker's future.

A Swedish court this week gave the company approval for two Chinese companies to acquire and invest $933 million in Saab.

The companies reached a tentative deal Friday to buy Saab from Swedish Automobile, the Dutch company previously known as Spyker Cars, for $141 million.

It's the latest rescue attempt for the company, which has been fighting for survival since it was sold by General Motors Co. in 2010. Since the sale, production of new Saabs has stopped and started a couple of times.

At the same time, Fortune's Euro-Tech Saab — one of two Saab dealers in the state — has for the past year depended more and more on used car sales. In fact, Fortune said used car sales today are a "significant" part of Euro-Tech's business.

"I haven't ordered any new inventory for some time," Fortune said Tuesday. "There are some units available out there. (But) with the current climate I didn't order any new ones."

Fortune said Saab's problems have been "very challenging for us and all the dealers."

He has remained a Saab dealer because "I have a loyal base of customers and I felt obligated to them," Fortune said.

Euro-Tech, 1122 E. Central, has been a Saab dealer since 2003.

He is optimistic about the brand's future because of the deal with the Chinese companies, which he said seem to have deep pockets and a realistic expectation that it will be a few years before the brand is fully up and running again.

"Everything looks really positive on it," Fortune said.

Fortune said dealers were told Tuesday that final approval of Saab's sale to the Chinese companies is expected by Nov. 15.