Sign of the times: Saab is MIA in Frankfurt

Rick Kranz is product editor for Automotive News.

FRANKFURT -- Saab promised an important product announcement in Frankfurt.

Instead, Saab is listed as missing in action -- there is no exhibit.

Just six months ago, Saab executives were touting the 2011 Frankfurt motor show.

Saab's new design language would be revealed there, executives said at March's Geneva motor show. The design language would be unveiled on a concept that would clearly prove to naysayers that the Swedish automaker is planning a got-to-have car for its model line.

The styling exercise would essentially be the next generation Saab 9-3, the automaker's most important vehicle by volume. The car was scheduled to go into production in fall 2012.

Frankfurt is the show where the 9-5 Sport Combi also was scheduled for debut. That's Saab's wagon. Production was scheduled to begin this fall.

But Saab is out of money. The company suspended production in June, unable to pay suppliers and workers. It is urgently seeking investors and lenders in order to resume production and avoid liquidation.

Frankfurt was intended to signal Saab's bright, healthy future, executives said back in March.

Instead Saab's absence in Frankfurt is just another sign that the ailing company is on life support.

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