There seems to be a new chapter in the Saab saga now that National Electric Vehicle Sweden AB is buying most of Saab's assets, including the primary assembly plant, which it will use to build electric vehicles for the Chinese market.
This latest development will be of little comfort to former Saab dealers in the United States. And it is unlikely to extricate General Motors from the $3 billion lawsuit filed by Dutch sports car company Spyker, which bought Saab from GM in early 2010. Spyker charges that in 2011 GM effectively blocked deals that could have saved the Swedish automaker when GM refused to supply vehicles and technology to the Chinese companies that wanted to revive Saab, which eventually went bankrupt last December.
At the time, GM's decision was criticized for what some viewed as a financial death warrant for Saab and its stakeholders. It seemed ironic given that GM itself had been saved from financial ruination in late 2008 when President George W. Bush used billions of dollars from the federal Troubled Asset Relief Program to extend a lifeline to GM.
Saab's new owner may or may not develop a viable business model using Saab 9-3 technologies as a platform for electric vehicles. But it would be hard to do worse than the previous two owners. Spyker couldn't keep Saab solvent, and under GM the company had not earned a profit since the 1990s.