Saab 'a few days away' from being killed for good
The man in charge of the ongoing administration of Saab has, rather sensationally, told the Swedish press that he'll decide whether or not to kill the company off over the next few days.
Saab Automobile has been on life support ever since GM bought the Swedish carmaker then systematically broke its spirit, using a baffling combination of replacing one of its models with something as entertaining as the average YouTube blog, and forgetting to replace the other until about a decade too late.
Saab first went into administration in 2009 and, after a few broken promises from various buyers, in 2010 GM conceded it would probably be forced to eradicate the brand entirely.
Enter Dutch supercar maker Spyker, who eventually stumped up the cash and outlined some giddy - but very naive, it transpired - future planning.
Rather than ushering in a Saab resurgence, Spyker quickly realised it had bought a Swedish anvil that was actually dragging it down into oblivion; Spyker threw its core business - that of making brilliantly idiosyncratic supercars - overboard to lighten the burden, but it still couldn't stop the Good Ship Saab sinking.
So, in stepped the Chinese. And then it got really complicated - and continues to be so. It's really easy to get confused about what the hell's been going on at Saab in 2011, but you can read all about it here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here. China quite fancies making Saab its own, basically, but can't seem to wrestle it from the administrator.
The ongoing administration has seen Saab 'rescued' more times than one of Jack Bauer's mates. And now it seems that Chief Administration Overlord Guy Lofalk (his official title) is pig sick of it too, telling Swedish business paper Dagens Industri that "I immediately have to decide if it really is possible to continue this restructuring". He will come to a conclusion within the next few days, he says.
This latest administrative facepalm comes after Saab's current official owner, Swedish Automobile, didn't cough up some funds it promised it would on Monday. They're funds set aside for staff wages, and to make sure the vending machines stay stocked with meatballs and loganberry sauce, presumably.
However, the boss of Swedish Automobile, Hans Hugenholtz, says that Lofalk is dealing poorly with the administration - though he hasn't yet offered an explanation for the missed payment, or a real reason why he's so narked with Lofalk, but to say Lofalk has put a deal with Chinese investors in jeopardy.
Lofalk, for his part, has reportedly told Chinese investors, Pang Da Automobile and Youngman, that they should take 20 percent of Saab each, while the other 60 percent could be paid for from a Chinese regional investment fund. Thus, Saab would be wholly Chinese owned.
Problem is though, GM is reticent to give the technology that underpins Saabs to the Chinese companies in any event. We know not why. Sigh.
What we do know is that Saab is better than the Bee Gees at staying alive, so we've no doubt that something else will happen within the next few days that prevents the Sword of Damocles from finally dropping onto its unintentionally retro head. Can't wait to find out what it is...