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by Tim Beissmann

Saab Cars Australia has been placed into voluntary administration, forcing the closure of the company’s Port Melbourne operations and the loss of six local jobs.

The appointment of Ferrier Hodgson partners Stewart McCallum and Peter McCluskey comes after unsuccessful attempts to sell the Australian division to a third party in Sweden following the bankruptcy of parent company Saab Automobile in December 2011.

McCallum explained negotiations to sell Saab Australia broke down before Christmas and coincided with the parent company demanding repayment of all outstanding amounts, which the local division could not do, forcing managing director Stephen Nicholls to place it into voluntary administration.

McCallum said it was unlikely there would be any immediate impact on Australian Saab owners as a result of the closure, as service centres would continue to be supplied with parts.

“Saab drivers can be confident their vehicles will be kept on the road and they should have no problems accessing parts over the short to medium term,” he said.

“Once we have a better understanding of the level of interest in the business we will be in a position to post a longer-term view.”

He said the administrators were working with dealerships around Australia to minimise any potential impact to the warranties of recently purchased Saab cars.

McCallum said the focus was now on selling Saab Australia’s remaining unsold new vehicles and significant parts inventory to interested parties, as well as working with Saab Automobile’s bankruptcy trustees as part of the sale process.

Saab Automobile endured a slow and painful death in 2011 as it ran out of funds to pay its suppliers and was eventually forced into bankruptcy. The Hong Kong-owned National Electric Vehicle Sweden (NEVS) purchased the bankrupt estate in September 2012, and plans to resurrect the Saab name in 2014 with an EV based on the old Saab 9-3.