Saab wings clipped, files for bankruptcy after 65-year lifespan

James Raia

Saab, the 65-year-old carmaker whose motto was "made from jets," has now been jettisoned into bankruptcy courts, ending a two-year quest to save the troubled Swedish manufacturer.

The decision was made, according to a report in the Irish Times newspaper other media outlets, after its former owner General Motors blocked the latest takeover attempts by Chinese investors.

Saab had been in discussions with several potential investors over the last two years. But the deals have fell through. Chinese suitor, Zhejiang Youngman Lotus Automobile had its proposal rejected late last week.

Saab wings clipped, files for bankruptcy after 65-year lifespan 1

Saab chief executive Victor Muller, who handed in the bankruptcy application to a court in Sweden yesterday, described the latest General Motors decision as “the last nail in the coffin of this beautiful company”.

Emmet Hogan of Saab’s Irish distributors OHM Group, said they were waiting to hear further details from Sweden.

Saab began as Svenska Aeroplan Aktiebolaget in 1937, making aircraft, before starting to produce cars in 1947. Saab Auto split from the aerospace operations in the 1990s, with General Motors gaining a 50 per cent stake in 1990 and full control in 2000.

When General Motors was bailed out by the US government in 2009, Saab was designated for sale or closure.

It was bought by niche sports car firm Spyker Cars, but the new Dutch owners struggled to keep it afloat. Production at the firm’s car plant in Trollhatten, in south-western Sweden, stopped in April.

Article Last Updated: December 20, 2011.

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