Saab bites the dust

Saab's struggle for survival ends, not with a bang, but with a whimper, as a final deal to save it is blocked by GM.

Saab 9-5

(Credit: Saab)

The company, founded in 1947 and owned by GM since 2000, was due to be shut down in 2009 as GM consolidated its brands. Victor Muller, former CEO of Spyker Cars, threw Saab a lifeline, taking over the company and attempting to arrange financing.

Most recently, Chinese automaker Youngman Automobile Group was set to purchase Saab. But GM, which still owns Saab technology licences, spiked the deal by refusing to extend the licensing to Youngman.

Saab fans might see GM as the villain in this corporate drama, as it had the choice of maintaining some small revenue from the licences or squashing a potential competitor.

The name of Saab's last concept car did not, in the end, prove prescient. The Phoenix was shown off at the 2011 Geneva Auto Show, a final bid by the company to show it could rise from the ashes.

The last iteration of the 9-5 had considerable promise with its modern design, a turbocharged 2.8-litre engine and cabin technology built around a hard drive-based navigation system.


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