GM blocks technology in proposed Saab sale

AP News
Posted: Nov 07, 2011 1:49 PM
GM blocks technology in proposed Saab sale

General Motors Co. on Monday said it won't allow two Chinese companies to use its technology if they go ahead with a planned purchase of Saab Automobile, a former GM unit.

The announcement raises doubts about a rescue plan for the ailing Swedish brand, which is being reorganized under bankruptcy protection after running out of cash to pay suppliers and staff.

Zhejiang Youngman Lotus Automobile Co. and Pang Da Automobile Trade Co. agreed last month to buy Saab from current owner Swedish Automobile for euro100 million ($140 million).

GM, which sold the loss-making brand in 2010, said in a statement it would block existing technology licenses and stop supplying the GM-built Saab 9-4X crossover SUV "following the proposed change in ownership as it would not be in the best interests of GM."

Swedish Automobile CEO Victor Muller told the Swedish news agency TT that GM's decision means going "back to the drawing board."

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Saab has been fighting for survival since Muller took it over through his Dutch company Spyker Cars, which has since changed names to Swedish Automobile.

It was on the verge of liquidation when the two Chinese companies said they would buy the brand, and inject euro610 million ($860 million) to restart production, settle the company's debts and fund operations between 2012 and 2013.