A last-minute rescue deal to save Saab is virtually certain to be blocked by the Chinese government, Autocar has learned, meaning the company is almost certain to be declared bankrupt – possibly as soon as later today.
Saab, which is currently in control of the courts while it applies to restructure, has been waiting on a £60 million loan from Chinese carmaker Youngman in order to pay wages.
In addition to that short-term loan, Saab is waiting on the Chinese government to approve a further £210m investment in Saab by Chinese car firms Zhejiang Youngman Lotus Automobile and Pangda.
However, Autocar has learned that the Chinese government is unlikely to ratify any investment or takeover of Saab as the sale does not include the acquisition of any new intellectual property rights. Former Saab owner GM already has a deal to transfer Saab's Epsilon production line and tooling to its Chinese partner firm SAIC.
Reports in Sweden suggest the administrator handling Saab's restructuring under court protection could pre-empt the Chinese government decision, which is not expected to be made formal until the end of this week at the earliest, and declare Saab bankrupt later today.
The Swedish government has already stated it won't bail Saab out.