General Motors announced today that it will shut down its Saab brand after several efforts to sell the Swedish carmaker could not be completed.
After a deal to sell the company to Koenigsegg Group AB fell through in November, GM had been in talks with a small Dutch automaker, Spyker Cars. But according to a statement from GM Europe President, Nick Reilly, "it has become very clear that the due diligence required to complete this complex transaction could not be executed in a reasonable time. In order to maintain operations, Saab needed a quick resolution."
GM says that it was still seeking assistance from the European Investment Bank to close the sale as late as this morning. 3,400 employees will be affected by the closure worldwide, as well 1,100 dealers.
Recently, GM sold the rights to the powertrains of several of Saab's soon to be discontinued model lines to Chinese automaker BAIC. During a conference call with media today, a GM spokesperson said it is leaving the door open to the transfer of additional technology as part of the dissolution of the company, and did not rule out the possibility that a last-minute buyer for the entire brand could still surface.
Stressing that this is not a forced liquidation, GM plans to begin winding down the company in January over a yet to be determined timeframe. Warranties will continued to be honored, and parts and service provided to existing Saab owners.