Earlier this week, underperforming Swedish automaker Saab received a crushing blow when Koenigsegg abruptly killed its pending purchase from General Motors. Using Penske’s 86’d Saturn purchase as a yardstick, speculations immediately arose that with no buyer waiting in the wings Saab was next in line to get the axe. Today, however, promising rumors have begun to circulate that three separate entities have expressed interesting in buying Saab, indicating there may be hope for the company yet.
The first candidate is – surprise! – Beijing Automotive Industry Corporation, which purchased the design rights to the Saab 9-5 earlier this year thereby pledging to keep the infamous Saab alive albeit in sub-par Chinese deathtrap form. The remaining two bidders paint a significantly more promising picture for Saab and include two U.S.-based investment firms, Renco and Merbanco. Noticeably absent from the bidding frey is the Swedish government, who just months ago pledged their unwavering and slightly biased support of Saab’s break from GM by guaranteeing the $600 million loan necessary to complete Koenigsegg’s acquisition. Apparently, despite Sweden’s willingness to fork over a hefty lump of Krona to ensure a smooth transfer of ownership, the government has no intention of acquiring the brand for itself.
Despite the abandonment from both their fellow Swedish manufacturer and their native legislature, Saab spokeswoman Gunilla Gustavs assured that company remains optimistic. “We have a close dialogue and close contact with several who have expressed interest in buying Saab Automobile,” Gustavs said. “It is not so surprising, given that there were 27 parties who were interested (when Saab was initially put up for sale) and 10 who came and looked the company over in April and May.”
GM executives are scheduled to convene next week to decide on the future of the brand, and smart money suggests Ake Svensson should start brushing up on his Mandarin.
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