Saab expected to be declared bankrupt

Article by Christian Andrei, on October 11, 2011

Saab is on the brink of being declared bankrupt as it’s possible that the administrator responsible for Saab's restructuring under court protection may terminate the process, according to Swedish newspaper Svenska Dagbladet.

Sources say that Saab still hasn’t received a bridge loan of 70 million euros ($96 million) that Chinese car company Zhejiang Youngman Lotus Automobile secured. Saab has a shortage of cash and it has to pay wages before the restructuring process could proceed. A state salary insurance scheme expires on Oct. 21.

The paper said that the end may come as early as Tuesday when Saab's court-appointed administrator may stop the restructuring process.

This means that the court is expected to declare the company bankrupt, according to Autonews. Saab had been hopeful that protection from creditors will enable it to keep its head afloat long enough before China's authorities approve a 245 million euro ($336 million) investment by Youngman and Chinese car dealer Pangda.

China's NDRC may make its decision by Friday at the earliest. Swedish Debt Office spokesman Daniel Barr had denied media reports that the government will pay off Saab's debt to the European Investment Bank and convert the security on the loan to shares in Saab.

The last model that Saab released was the 9-4X. For this model, Saab brought its very own engineering values and design to the mid-size crossover class, then a growing segment. It was officially unveiled during the Los Angeles Auto Show in 2010 and it had a look clearly inspired by aircraft and Scandinavian design. The 9-4X also challenged the benchmarks in its class when it came to ride characteristics and handling.

With the 9-4X, Saab now has three car lines under its portfolio, offering an alternative and essentially a fresh option for independently-minded customers looking for a new crossover. More than anything, the 9-4X plays an important part in the revitalization of the brand as an independent premium automaker. The 9-4X revealed different options for the V6 and compact engines fitted inside it. One of this is the 3.0-liter version that produces 265 hp.

Though it is fitted for the entry model, it comes with variable valve timing and direct fuel injection. Another engine, which is exclusive for the Aero versions, is the 2.8-liter unit with output at 300 hp. Unlike the entry model variant, it uses twin-scroll turbocharging instead of direct injection. These two though are paired with the automatic 6-speed transmission with electronic and adaptive control. Clearly, the 9-4X is a vehicle that is sporty to drive.

In terms of size and appearance, one can see that it would be slotted between the 9-3X and the 9-5 sedan. As seen on both its interior and exterior, the 9-4X is able to display the brand’s very identity given that it has that signature themes and the neat and clean design. Examples of these include a cockpit that is now more driver-focused, the wrap-around effect of its windshield, flexible cargo handling, and the ice block lighting theme.

Indeed, as expected from a Saab model, the 9-4X was indeed able to meet the expectations of having an athletic quality. This is because it was manufactured by making sure it had a crossover body structure that was distinct yet purposeful and thus results in excellent ride properties and handling. Supporting its driving dynamics are the innovative all-wheel-drive system from the brand, DriveSense adaptive chassis control, and the Saab XWD.

Topics: saab, bankruptcy

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