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Tuesday September 1, 2020
Saab, the Swedish automaker “born from jets” to build quirky teardrop-shaped cars Kurt Vonnegut once labeled “yuppie uniforms,” has hit the end of the road after 64 years.
Swedish Automobile, the company’s parent, played its last hand today when it filed for bankruptcy in Vanersborg, Sweden. It said it “does not expect to realize any value from its shares in Saab Automobile” and “will write off its interest in Saab Automobile completely.”
Saab CEO Viktor Muller said the company’s fate was sealed when previous owner General Motors rejected a last-ditch bid for the company from Zhejiang Youngman Lotus Automobile Co. Muller, the Dutch entrepreneur who once led supercar manufacturer Spyker, bought Saab from GM almost two years ago. He paid $74 million in cash and $326 million in preferred shares, but couldn’t line up the financing he needed to revamp Saab’s aging lineup and spur sales.
“This is the darkest day in my career, probably in the history of Saab. But we had no other alternatives,” Muller said Monday, according to Swedish media quoted by the Detroit News.
It was an ignominious end to a company that built cool cars known for understated exceptionalism.
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Photo: A Saab 92 leaves the factory back in the day. / Saab