I have to admit to a deep sinking feeling when the news flashed into my inbox that the Koenigsegg Group had suddenly pulled out of the deal to buy GM’s unwanted Swedish subsidiary.
Saab’s operation is currently balanced on a knife-edge. It needs a £400m loan from the European Investment back to tide it over until the new 9-5 is launched next spring.
Reports from the Swedish media say that the Swedish government had still not agreed to act as the guarantor for the EIB loan.
According to the Swedish newspaper The Local, Christian von Koenigsegg has just made this statement.
“The time factor has from the beginning been critical for our strategy to breathe new life into the company. Unfortunately, delays in completing the deal have led to risks and uncertainties that prevent us from successfully carrying out our business plan for Saab Automobile.”
Earlier this year, General Motors said that Saab could be closed down if it hadn’t been disposed of by Christmas. GM won’t say much for the next few days while the damage is assessed, but the Saab operation is clearly at risk of coming to a halt.
It’s likely that Chinese carmakers (who are keen on picking up European brands) will be sniffing about, including Beijing Auto, which was a minority shareholder in the Koenigsegg Group.
However, as the MG Rover collapsed showed, the Chinese, while cash-rich, will play hardball and are likely to want to pick up defunct operation rather than trying to keep the current show on the road.