Despite last-ditch efforts by China's Zhejiang Youngman Lotus to save the 64 year-old brand with an additional $5m cash injection, the bid proved unsuccessful after continued blocks by Saab shareholder General Motors.
The announcement finally came from Saab Automobile on 19th December in a short statement which said:"After having received the recent position of GM 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."
The battle to keep Saab afloat has been continuing since the beginning of 2010 when GM, itself in financial trouble, announced the closure of Saab. The Swedish brand then limped on with promises of sale to a number of potential suitors.
Salvation was believed to have been found in Yougman and another Chinese auto business, Pang Da. However, delays in approval from the Chinese and Swedish authorities and GM's decision to block the move in light of potential threats to its own activities in China, finally left the Swedish car maker with no option but to file for bankruptcy. No vehicles had been produced since April 2011 and salaries had not been paid for some months.
Automotive News China's Editor, Yang Jian, was one of a number of commentators who believe that the decision could seriously damage China's chances of purchasing a major global automotive brand.
There was, however, one positive note with Youngman claiming to have purchased Saab's Phoenix architecture, salvaging the platform on which Saab was hoping to develop its new models from the wreckage of the company.
Published 23rd December, 2011
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