2010 Saab 9-5  (Source: AutoBlog)

1950 Saab 92  (Source: Wikimedia Commons)
One of Sweden's top two auto brand may be headed the way of Saturn

In its 9 years of full ownership of Saab Automobile AB, GM never once saw its investment turn a profit (Saab did post a rare profit in 1995; GM owned roughly half of the company at the time).  However, Saab seemed destined for better things when Swedish supercar maker Koenigsegg vowed to salvage the brand, purchasing it from GM.

However, earlier this week it was announced that the deal had fallen through.  Koenigsegg refused to go into specifics, but some speculated that the company was scared off by dealership closures and that some of its investors might have backed out.

Now it appears that Saab may share the same fate as GM's Saturn brand -- it may be shuttered.  A GM source, speaking to The Detroit News, says that GM's board will meet next Wednesday to decide on the brand's fate and that they may decide to shut it down.  While Beijing Automotive Industry Holdings, a previous bidder, had voiced some interest in a new deal after the Koenigsegg deal fall-through, the GM source said that GM has been in no further talks with other parties, yet.

There are approximately 4,500 jobs on the line, much of which are in Sweden and the U.S.  Saab's employees must wait as GM weighs three options: closing the brand, selling the brand to another bidder, or keeping the struggling subsidiary.  Keeping Saab seems unlikely, but not out of the question, as GM was supposed to sell its two other European subsidiaries -- Opel and Vauxhall -- as well, but decided to keep them after talks stalled.

One factor that makes GM less likely to want to keep Saab is the fact that it's a luxury brand.  Opel and Vauxhall are more mainstream brands, which helped spare them from closure.  However, GM is determined to make Cadillac its international luxury brand, with Buick filling in the remaining entry-level gaps in its higher-end offerings.  Thus finding a way to fit Saab, another high-end brand, into its new business plan will be difficult, to say the least.

Saab produced its first vehicle in 1949: the 1950 Saab 92.  The car featured an impressive industry best drag coefficient of 0.30 at the time, aided by the company's aerodynamic expertise.  The company still has some valuable properties, namely its promising new 2010 Saab 9-5 sedan, its 9-3 sedan, and its 9-3x XUV.

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