Automaker Saab files for bankruptcy

Automaker Saab files for bankruptcy

STOCKHOLM - The Associated Press
Automaker Saab files for bankruptcy

AFP photo

Saab Automobile filed for bankruptcy today after attempts by Chinese investors to take over the loss-making brand were blocked by previous owner General Motors Co.

The Vanersborg District Court in southwestern Sweden said Saab CEO Victor Muller personally handed in the application for bankruptcy for the company that built its first cars more than 60 years ago.
The court is expected to approve the filing later Monday and although there is still a small chance the bankruptcy administrator could sell the brand, experts say that would most likely involve chopping up the company into smaller parts.

Saab's current owner, Swedish Automobile, said Chinese investors pulled out of attempts to finance Saab's reorganization after their last proposal for a solution was rejected by GM, which sold the brand in 2010 but still owns some technology licenses.

The bankruptcy filing comes as a blow for the town of Trollhattan in southwestern Sweden, where Saab employs some 3,700 people at its factory.

Originally an aircraft maker, Saab entered into the auto market after World War II with the first production of the two-stroke-engine Saab 92. It soon became a household name in Sweden and in the 1970's it released its first turbocharged model — the landmark Saab 99.

To auto enthusiasts Saab was known for its quirks such as placing the ignition lock between the front seats and becoming the first car to sport heated seating in 1971.