It’s been four years since GM sold Saab, and somehow, some way, the plucky Swedish brand has held on through several sales and potential bankruptcies. But now the company that owns Saab, National Electric Vehicle Sweden (or NEVS) is facing more than $600,000 in outstanding bills, causing one of its debtors to file a petition for bankruptcy.
The Wall Street Journal reported today that the petitioning company, Labo Tests, has since withdrawn its petition over the sume of about $21,000 it is owed. But that doesn’t mean NEVS or Saab is out of trouble, not by a long shot. The company has been producing just six cars per day, and recently halted production when it ran out of money. Saab has been selling its cars online, both in Sweden and in China, where NEVS has its financial backing.
But the money has apparently run out, and plans to rekindle Saab production by finishing the next-generation Phoenix platform have apparently hit a wall…not that it would help.
The current Saab platform is already woefully out of date, dating back more than a decade, and as Tesla is finding out, building an all-new car platform is difficult and costly. An all-electric Saab was supposed to be in the works too…but that’s not going to save the company either.
Saab has been on a downward trajectory since it was slated for closure by GM in 2009. First supercar maker Koenigsegg expressed interest, but backed out, leaving China’s BAIC to buy the IP and machine rights from the previous-generation Saab 9-3 and 9-5 for $197 million. Then came along Spyker, which gave GM $74 million in cash and $320 million in shares for the rest of Saab. In 2011 came bankruptcy, and in 2012 NEVS came to the rescue with Chinese financial backing…until that ran out too.
And so here we are again, Saab facing bankruptcy and holding out hope for one last chance at redemption. Though the company has held out more times than it ought to be able, this might be it.