GM to phase out Saab without deal by year end

AP News
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Posted: Dec 01, 2009 3:45 PM

General Motors Co. said it will phase out its storied Swedish Saab brand if no deal is reached by the end of this month.

GM's board met Tuesday to decide the fate of Saab after a group led by Sweden's Koenigsegg Automotive AB dropped out of a deal last week to buy the company. About 4,500 jobs at Saab are at stake.

New potential buyers have emerged, GM said, so the board put off a final decision until the end of December. The automaker said in a statement that if it can't find a "suitable arrangement" for Saab by then, it would "will begin an orderly wind down" of the unit.

GM would not identify the potential bidders. Last week, the Chinese company Beijing Automotive Industry Holdings said it would re-evaluate Saab, but stopped short of saying it would make an independent bid. Beijing Automotive had been part of the Koenigsegg team.

The failed Saab sale marks the third time this year that GM couldn't close a deal for an unwanted brand that it is shedding as part of its reorganization.

GM decided to close Saturn after a deal with auto dealer Roger Penske fell through. And the automaker's board decided to keep the European automaker Opel after deciding it was too heavily integrated into the company for GM to let it go.