Swedish car maker Saab has filed for bankruptcy, setting up an end to its protracted struggle for survival.
The Swedish brand's parent company, Swedish Automobile N.V (Swant), announced the move yesterday on the same day a Swedish court was due to decide on whether the company could remain protected from creditors.
Swedish Automobile issued a statement announcing the bankruptcy and blaming former Saab parent company General Motors for blocking critical investment from a Chinese company, Youngman.
“Swedish Automobile N.V. (Swan) announces that Saab Automobile AB (Saab Automobile), Saab Automobile Tools AB and Saab Powertrain AB filed for bankruptcy with the District Court in Vänersborg, Sweden this morning,” said the statement on Saab’s official media site.
“After having received the recent position of GM [General Motors] on the contemplated transaction with Saab Automobile, Youngman informed Saab Automobile that the funding to continue and complete the reorganization of Saab Automobile could not be concluded.
“The Board of Saab Automobile subsequently decided that the company without further funding will be insolvent and that filing bankruptcy is in the best interests of its creditors. It is expected that the Court will approve of the filing and appoint receivers for Saab Automobile very shortly.
“Swan does not expect to realize any value from its shares in Saab Automobile and will write off its interest in Saab Automobile completely.”
GM has refused to back any of the proposed Saab deals with Chinese companies, citing that the transfer of its technology still used in Saab models risked compromising its own fortunes in China, the world’s biggest new-car market.
The CEO of Swedish Automobile, Victor Muller, says he hasn’t given up on Saab yet, telling a news conference yesterday that the brand still had potential investers who could buy the car maker from receivers.
“There are parties out there that have expressed an interest to pursue a possible acquisition of Saab from bankruptcy,” said Muller. “Although this may seem like the end, it is not necessarily so.”
Saab’s expected demise will end a 66-year history in the car business, though the company was founded – as Svenska Aeroplan Aktiebolaget (Swedish Aeroplane Company Limited) – in 1937 as a manufacturer of military aircraft.
It was established in Trollhatten, Sweden, where it built its cars until production stopped in April this year after it hit troubles.