As we keep digging up the corpse of Saab and beating it back down in its afterlife, at least we now know that it will go a little more peacefully into the night. A U.S. judge just threw out the lawsuit the Swedish automaker’s parent company filed against former parent company General Motors for halting Saab’s business efforts.
The Dutch company Spyker NV purchased Sweden’s now-defunct Saab out of GM’s bankruptcy, but after running into financial problems of its own, it wanted to sell a chunk of the brand to the Chinese firm Youngman Lotus Holdings.
“General Motors had a contractual right to approve or disapprove the proposed transaction,” U.S. District Court Judge Gershwin Drain said at a hearing in Detroit. “The court is going to grant the motion to dismiss the matter.”
Saab folded up shop in May 2011 after it could no longer pay suppliers. It had developed a slew of new products, including the ultra-rare 2011 Saab 9-5 sedan and Saab 9-4x crossover. And it had a new version of its compact 9-3 hatchback waiting in the wings. Alas, when you run out of money, picking back up becomes a little tough.
General Motors didn’t want its technology falling into Chinese hands, as emerging Asian markets are where GM is making a good chunk of its money these days. Saab’s assets were eventually offloaded to a Chinese-Japanese consortium called NEVS, which hopes to eventually revive the brand using the new, never-produced Saab 9-3 as the basis for an electric car. Chinese BAIC, which has a partnership with GM in China, purchased the rights to the previous-generation 9-3 and 9-5 and uses their chassis for new models in the Chinese market.
Last month, several former Saab executives were arrested for skimming money out of the company with some creative accounting. Former Saab CEO Victor Muller was not among them. But he was at the hearing in Detroit. He said that he will look over the judge’s decision on whether it is in Spyker’s best interests to appeal. What do you think?
Source: Reuters via Automotive News (Subscription required)