GM to liquidate Saab

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From the Guardian:

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General Motors announces closure of 62-year-old Swedish carmaker after collapse of negotiations with Spyker

One of the most famous names in European motoring, Saab, is set to be consigned to automotive history following a decision today by its owner, General Motors, to shut down the business after a last-ditch attempt at a sale failed.

GM announced that negotiations towards a buyout of the 62-year-old Swedish carmaker by a Dutch sports car firm, Spyker, had broken down. Expressing "regret", the Detroit-based automotive empire said that it was starting an orderly wind-down of Saab’s operations. The outcome was greeted with gloom in Sweden, where most of Saab’s 3,400 employees are located. The closure will hit 1,100 car dealerships around the world. In Britain, it means uncertainty for 3,000 people whose jobs are tied to 87 Saab franchises.

GM’s vice-president for corporate planning, John Smith, said the US corporation had been trying to sell Saab since February and had been working with the Swedish government and the European Investment Bank, which had offered to loan money to aid a buyout. But he said that during due diligence, issues had arisen that could not be resolved to the satisfaction of both GM and Spyker.

"Like everybody, we would have preferred a different outcome," said Smith. "We’ve all worked hard for that different outcome and we’ve come up short. I think it’s time to move on."

Sweden’s industry minister, Maud Olofsson, described the news as "very, very depressing". She said: "It’s a very sad message for all employees and it comes at the worst possible time."

There is huge overcapacity in the auto sector and this move was inevitable. But this is definitely the worst possible time for GM to send this message.  My heart goes out to Saab’s employees.

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