bringing the Swedish carmaker to the brink of shutting for good after failing to find investors to rescue the 74-year-old company.



Saab, based in the southwestern town of Trollhaettan, submitted its application with Vaenersborg District Court, and will hold a press conference as soon as the judge issues a ruling, Victor Muller, chief executive officer of parent company Swedish Automobile NV, said today in a text message.

Saab, which General Motors Co. sold to Swedish Automobile in February 2010, won protection from creditors in September and has been seeking funding since then. Guy Lofalk, Saab’s court- appointed administrator, applied on Dec. 7 to end the reorganization, saying the carmaker was out of money and had no realistic hope of gaining financing soon.

“It feels really tough,” Mats Faegerhag, Saab’s product development chief, said today in a phone interview. “We’ve been fighting so hard for so long. Saab is part of Sweden’s industrial history, and it’d be a big blow not just to us if we go under.”

Swedish Automobile plunged as much as 67 percent to 7 cents and was down 62 percent at 11:42 a.m. in Amsterdam. Shares in the Zeewolde, Netherlands-based company, which makes the $235,000 C8 Aileron supercar, have dropped 98 percent this year, valuing the company at 2.9 million euros ($3.8 million).

Saab began as Svenska Aeroplan Aktiebolaget in 1937, making airplanes, and started producing cars in 1947. Saab Auto split from the aerospace operations, now known as Saab AB, in the 1990s, with GM gaining a 50 percent stake in 1990 and full control in 2000. The U.S. carmaker put the brand on the block in 2009 as one of four divisions marked for sale or shutdown as GM worked to restore profit.

Swedish Automobile, which changed its name from Spyker Cars NV in June, was planning for Saab to sell 120,000 vehicles and become profitable by 2012. Saab’s deliveries, which peaked at 133,000 cars in 2006, never met the parent company’s intermediate goals. Sales totaled 31,696 cars in 2010, compared with a target of 50,000 to 60,000.

Saab Automobile was in talks with Jinhua, China-based Zhejiang Youngman Lotus Automobile and a Chinese bank to secure about 600 million euros in loans, Muller said on Dec. 7.

GM, which retains a say in Saab’s future because of the companies’ technology ties, said Dec. 17 that it couldn’t support proposed alternatives as they “are not meaningfully different” from previous plans the Detroit-based carmaker had rejected on the grounds they would hurt the U.S. company.

Failed Suitors Youngman, Chinese car dealer Pang Da Automobile Trade Co. and Russian banker Vladimir Antonov, a former Spyker shareholder, have all been failed suitors for a stake in Saab as Muller tried to fund the unit’s turnaround since its purchase.

There is still a possibility for Saab to be rescued in one piece if a “viable investor” steps in, production chief Faegerhag said. “But that would have to happen quick, in a few weeks, because our employees will be looking for other jobs.”

Saab’s workforce totals about 3,600 employees, including 3,400 in Trollhaettan.

The company suspended production in March, when it couldn’t pay suppliers, and has only occasionally restarted assembly lines since then. It has delayed wages several times and has yet to give workers pay that was due at the end of November.

Saab’s collapse may also hurt competitor Volvo Car Corp., the Swedish automaker owned by Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Co., as suppliers to both manufacturers will be hampered and may go out of business as well, Faegerhag said