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Saab’s Last Sob: Judge Tosses $3 Bil Lawsuit Against GM

Appeal uncertain.

by on Jun.12, 2013

The end of the line for Saab.

A federal judge has tossed out a lawsuit seeking $3 billion in damages from General Motors, accusing the U.S. giant of taking illegal steps that ultimately led to the failure of Swedish automaker Saab.

The suit was filed last August by Spyker cars, the Dutch firm that bought Saab from GM in 2010.  Spyker’s effort was soon revealed to be underfunded and it quickly went looking for outside investors, including several Chinese companies that were interested in taking a stake in Saab or perhaps taking over the failing Swedish maker. But GM blocked the sale by refusing to allow Saab to transfer its intellectual property to the Chinese.

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Saab’s only products, at the time, had been developed by GM and largely used the U.S. maker’s components.

“General Motors had a contractual right to approve or disapprove the proposed transaction,” declared U.S. District Court Judge Gershwin Drain, following a hearing in Detroit. “The court is going to grant a motion to dismiss the matter.”


Saab Museum Emptied – But Brand May Yet Survive

The Ursaab goes on the auction block.

by on Jan.20, 2012

The original 1947 Saab concept, known as the Ursaab, drives off into the sunset.

The process of dismantling bankrupt Saab is well underway and the remains of the Swedish maker’s museum will be sold off, starting today, with 100 vehicles from Saab’s collection – including the original concept known as the Ursaab – going on the auction block.

Yet, even as the symbols of the maker’s 60-year history begin to disappear there still remains a chance that Saab could again rise like a phoenix – the name the maker chose for one of its museum pieces, the Phoenix concept vehicle it rolled out during the 2011 auto show season.

Two active bidders are still hoping to buy up the Swedish company’s assets and put it back into business, including China’s Zhejiang Youngman Lotus and Turkish Brightwell Holdings.

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“A bid for Saab is in the pipeline”, said Brightwell board member Zamier Ahmed, on Thursday.  The firm, which specializes in energy, transportation and technology, would like to not only buy up the failed maker’s assets but keep Saab based in Sweden, its Trollhattan assembly plant considered one of Europe’s most modern.


Saab Story’s Latest Twist: Chinese Makers Take Majority Control

Deal would generate $352 million but still requires approval.

by on Jun.13, 2011

Image By: Len Katz

Saab Chairman Victor Muller agrees to sell majority control of the company to the Chinese.

Over the last several years the Saab story has taken more twists and turns than a Sam Spade detective novel, and the maker has added yet another chapter with news it has agreed to sell majority control to the Chinese.

The latest turn of events brings Zhejiang Youngman Lotus Automobile Co. into the picture, the manufacturer signing a memorandum of understanding, or MOU, that could give it a 29.9% stake in Swedish Saab.  It would now partner with Pang Da, a Chinese automotive distributor that, last month, agreed to purchase a 24% stake in cash-starved Saab.

Together, the two companies would pump $352 million into the struggling Swedish firm, which has had its headquarters factory shut down for much of the last three months due to a boycott by unpaid suppliers.  But the proposed deal isn’t yet a certainty.

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An earlier rescue effort was aborted when the Chinese government failed to give its approval.  The new alliance will need to win the go-ahead from not only the Chinese, but also Swedish regulators, the European Investment Bank – which funded the 2010 purchase of Saab – and General Motors, the company’s former parent.

On the positive side, said Saab Chairman Victor Muller, the proposed partnership “is a step that significantly strengthens Saab’s financial position and would secure the mid and long term financing of Saab Automobile.”