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Saab Decision Delayed

Maker gets bridge loan but fate still uncertain.

by on Nov.23, 2011

A partially assembled Saab sits idle in Trollhattan. The plant has been shuttered since March.

Saab’s fate appears to be hanging by a thread despite finally receiving a cash infusion from a Chinese alliance looking to buy the struggling Swedish automaker.

Any decision on the fate of Saab has been delayed as the Swedish court that was scheduled to hear arguments over the company’s reorganization has temporarily put off a decision. No date has been set for a new hearing, Saab officials said.  There had been pressure from Saab creditors – and its Swedish unions – to force the company into bankruptcy, which would likely have shut it down.

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Meanwhile, Saab officials are growing slightly more confident about receiving final approval from the Chinese government for the deal that will allow an infusion of Chinese cash into the company. Last summer, dealer network Pang Da and automaker Zhejiang Youngman Lotus initially agreed to purchase a majority stake in Saab. They are now hoping to purchase the maker outright – but for barely a third of their original offer.


Saab Looks for Solution to GM Objections

Court-appointed administrator says negotiators are still working to save automaker.

by on Nov.09, 2011

Another day, another desperate attempt by Saab owner Swedish Automobile to save the tiny Swedish automaker.

Swedish Automobile CEO Victor Muller told Reuters that it would have to go back to the drawing board after General Motors rejected its proposed rescue plan where it would be sold to Chinese investors Pang Da and Youngman Lotus.

Court-appointed administrator Guy Lofalk told Reuters that GM’s decision may just be one bump in the road as negotiators try to find a solution to save the automaker.

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GM owns preference shares of Saab and supplies the automaker with powertrains as well as the Saab 9-4x crossover that it builds alongside the Cadillac SRX in Ramos Arizpe, Mexico. The automaker offered to continue to supply Saab if the company paid $500 million to the Detroit automaker.

“I had warned the Chinese that GM would have a mega problem with any other deal other than the original 54 percent stake in Swedish Automobile. Unfortunately, I was right,” Muller told Automotive News. Muller engineered the purchase of Saab from GM in 2009 and remains an investor in Swedish Automobile.


Will GM Block Saab Sale?

“Many unanswered questions.”

by on Nov.07, 2011

GM - which still produces the 9-4X crossover - says it has "many unanswered questions" about the planned sale of Saab to the Chinese.

The Saab soap opera could take yet another turn, General Motors warning that it could move to block the sale of the cash-starved Swedish automaker to a Chinese consortium.

That $142 million deal, announced on October 28, appeared to be the only way out for Swedish Automobile after failing to raise the cash it needed to save Saab.  But the carmaker’s former parent, General Motors, indicates it could use its remaining veto power to prevent the Chinese from creating a new global competitor.

GM sold Saab in early 2010 after agreeing to sell or close four of its eight North American brands as part of its government bankruptcy bailout.  The new owners proved to be seriously underfunded, a situation which became clearly apparent this past March, when key suppliers began boycotting Saab’s headquarters assembly plant over unpaid bills.

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Swedish Automobile raced to negotiate a series of possible deals to raise some much-needed cash.  In June, it inked a preliminary agreement with China’s largest auto dealer network, Pang Da, along with emerging automaker Zhejiang Youngman Lotus.  But their goal of acquiring a 53% stake in Saab was set back by reluctant bureaucrats who refused to give their authorization.


Cash-Starved Saab Purchased by Chinese

Current owners take substantial hit; new owners still have to get factory re-opened.

by on Oct.28, 2011

One of the first goals for Saab's new owners will be to reopen its shuttered Swedish assembly plant.

Facing imminent collapse, Saab has agreed to a fire sale that will give two Chinese companies complete control of the Swedish automaker – thought the deal must still be approved by Chinese regulators.

The 100 million Euro – or $141.4 million — purchase price is a fraction of what the two new owners had originally offered for a significantly smaller stake in Saab, but the company appeared to have few other option, with a court-appointed administrator ready to force the troubled firm into bankruptcy.

Saab becomes the second Swedish automaker to fall into the hands of the Chinese, following Ford Motor Co.’s sale of its former Volvo subsidiary to China’s Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Co. in early 2010.

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The new deal means “a much stronger future for Saab,” proclaimed Tim Colbeck, CEO of Saab’s U.S. sales subsidiary, during a conference call Friday morning. Colbeck said that efforts will begin almost immediately to re-open the automaker’s primary assembly plant, which has been idled by financial problems since March.