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GM set to wind down Saab

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GM set to wind down Saab
14:44 CET+01:00
US car maker General Motors is to shut down Saab as talks collapse with Dutch sportscar manufacturer Spyker over the acquisition of GM's Swedish unit, Reuters reports

GM said in a statement it failed to reach an agreement with Dutch sports car maker Spyker on a sale of the division, following the withdrawal of a bid from Sweden's Koenigsegg Group AB.

"GM had been in discussions with Spyker Cars about its interest in acquiring Saab," the Detroit firm's statement said.

"During the due diligence, certain issues arose that both parties believe could not be resolved."

"Despite the best efforts of all involved, it has become very clear that the due diligence required to complete this complex transaction could not be executed in a reasonable time," GM Europe president Nick Reilly said.

"In order to maintain operations, Saab needed a quick resolution. We regret that we were not able to complete this transaction with Spyker Cars. We will work closely with the Saab organization to wind down the business in an orderly and responsible manner. This is not a bankruptcy or forced liquidation process."

GM said the move to end Saab operations was among "some very difficult but necessary business decisions" as the new US auto giant tries to restore profitability after a massive bankruptcy restructuring aided by the US and Canadian governments.

The company has decided to end its Saturn and Pontiac brands in the United States and has reached a deal to sell its Hummer brand to a Chinese buyer.

Earlier this week, GM agreed to sell some Saab assets to China's Beijing Automotive Industry Holding Co.

State-owned BAIC will acquire the technology for Saab's 9-3 and 9-5 car models, turbine engines and gearboxes, allowing the Chinese firm to develop its own-brand cars using the Swedish carmaker's technology.

GM said that in the wind-down of Saab, it would satisfy debts including supplier payments and would continue to honor warranties and provide parts to Saab owners around the world.

GM said that in the wind-down of Saab, it would satisfy debts including supplier payments and would continue to honor warranties and provide parts to Saab owners around the world.

Saab employs some 3,400 people in Sweden and sold just over 93,000 cars worldwide in 2008.

Up to an estimated 15,000 jobs could disappear in a Saab shutdown, including those of suppliers and subcontractors, and if they also shut down that could pose a problem for Sweden's other carmaker Volvo, owned by US-based Ford Motor Co.

Under GM's stewardship spanning almost two decades, Saab rarely posted a profit and last year lost 3 billion kronor ($341 million at the time).

Last month, GM reversed plans to sell its European Opel/Vauxhall division and to restructure those operations on its own. Analysts noted that Opel, unlike Saab, is integrated into GM's global operations.

Saab's history as an automaker dates back to the 1940s, when the first cars were produced by the Swedish aircraft maker Svenska Aeroplan Aktiebolaget or SAAB. GM acquired Saab Automobile in 1990.

An iconic brand: Saab's history in pictures

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