Now raising intellectual capital

from Rolfe Winkler:

Lunchtime Links 12-18

(Reader note: still working on

MUST READ -- Strict framework leaves room for maneuver (Masters/Jenkins, FT) While this subject may seem a little dry, it's the Basel Committee in Switzerland that will lead the way when it comes to how banks measure capital and how much they need to have. I'll offer more detailed thoughts on this later today.

Saab to be shuttered (Reuters wire) More creative destruction in the auto industry. In the end, the best Saab could do was sell the intellectual property for the 9-5 and 9-3 sedans...

China central banker says harder to buy Treasuries (Xin/Subler, Reuters) How ironic. The current account deficit is shrinking as the import/export imbalance with China is shrinking. So we're not stuffing as many dollars down China's throat which it is forced to recycle into Treasuries. Watch out for calls to buy Chinese so that the Treasury can finance its deficits! ;)

China asset bubbles will burst on inflation (Chen, Bloomberg)

Greenspan backs deficit reduction commission (Ferraro/Sullivan, Reuters)

Harvard swaps are so toxic, even Summers won't explain (McDonald/Lauerman/Wee, Bloomberg)

China picks European cars off scrapheap


GERMANY/Chinese carmakers are seeking to step into the gaps left by U.S. companies in Europe — but while acquisitions may give them access to badly-needed technical know-how, global brands and exposure to new markets, the question is whether they have learnt from past failures.

With China now the world’s largest car market, it’s no surprise that Chinese carmakers — which have few if any really solid brands within their home market — want to start making more of a mark.

Saab and Volvo – made in China?


SWEDEN/At this rate it might not be long before Sweden’s once mighty Volvo and Saab car marques come with “Made in China” stamped on the chassis.

After failing in the auction of Opel, Beijing Automotive Industry Holding (BAIC) is set to take a minority stake in supercar maker Koenigsegg, which is bidding to take over all of GM’s Saab. Meanwhile, Geely Automotive’s parent company Geely Holding Group Co plans to bid for Ford’s Volvo.

How Swedish is Saab now?

Less by the hour if there is any truth to the story in Reuters that China’s SAIC is considering funding the iconic Swedish car brand’s buy-out from GM.

The deal, announced in August, was originally supposed to be a patriotic flag-waving exercise, in which a tiny Swedish supercar maker, Koenigsegg, would “repatriate” Saab from American control. The Opelisation of the Saab range would be stopped. A new generation of quirky cars designed by Nordic designers in square specs would be manufactured at the company’s historic (and splendidly named) Trollhattan factory. Saabs would again be as Swedish as a meatball or an Ikea “Billy” bookcase.

Saab to Koenigsegg – another go slow GM sale


AUTOS SWEDEN KOENIGSEGGGeneral Motors doesn’t do deals in a hurry — at least when it is selling.

With the Opel sale grinding along, the U.S. automaker is also in the process of offloading its Saab brand to luxury sportscar maker Koenigsegg.

Chicken and Koenigsegg

I received something of a flaming at the hands of some readers for making a few gentle digs at the presumptions of Koenigsegg – a tiny Swedish sports car maker that is trying to buy Saab from General Motors. In particular, I was chided for not having done my homework before pronouncing – the implication being that I was too lazy to uncover the vast host of facts lying around out there in the public domain that would reveal even to a total dunderhead the merits and sense of this transaction.

Well, it would certainly have made for a shorter post had I stuck to these “facts”.

Saab’s Phøenix moment?


Koenigsegg's boy racerThe great global automobile restructuring is throwing up some fairly unlikely bidders for some famous marques. Who would have thought Magna (who?) would end up buying Germany’s mighty Adam Opel? And who would have seen Fiat as Chrysler’s white knight?

Although, come to think of it, there’s a certain tragic inevitability about the ghastly Hummer ending up in a death embrace with the Sichaun Tenzhong Heavy Industrial Machine Co.