Saab owners file for bankruptcySwedish carmaker fails to secure investment

21 December 2011

Saab models

Saab's owners have failed to secure investment for the future

Swedish car manufacturer Saab has filed for bankruptcy. Disputes between former owners General Motors and potential new Chinese backers meant Saab failed to secure vital investment.

Saab’s parent company, Swedish Automobile NV, said: 'Saab Automobile AB, Saab Automobile Tools AB and Saab Powertrain AB filed for bankruptcy with the District Court in Vänersborg, Sweden this morning (19 December).'

The brief statement added Swedish Automobile NV does not expect to recoup any monetary value from its shares in Saab, and is abandoning its interest in the vehicle manufacturer.

General Motors refuses funding plans

Former custodians of the Swedish brand, American firm General Motors (which also owns Vauxhall), refused to approve plans for Chinese automobile firm Youngman Lotus to fund Saab’s ongoing restructuring programme.

GM cited the transfer of control 'in a manner that would be detrimental to GM and its shareholders' as the reasons for vetoing the Chinese deal.

As a result, Youngman Lotus withdrew its offer of the funding needed to complete the shake-up at Saab, effectively sounding the death-knell for the 63-year-old brand.

The bankruptcy of Saab Automobile AV follows the British division of the firm, Saab GB, going into administration last month. The UK was Saab's largest sales market outside Sweden.

The future of Saab’s 58 UK dealers, 20 of which are exclusively Saab, is still uncertain.

Second-party warranties

As yet there is no official word on Saab’s warranty policy and whether or not it will honour any warranty claims.

A statement sent to Which? from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) said: 'Because of the early stage that proceedings are at, we’re unable to offer specific advice on warranties.  

'In the first instance, the advice is to contact your dealer.  

'Once the administrators make clear the situation with warranties, the Motor Codes Advice Line (0800 6920825) will be able to relay this to Saab customers.'

There is, however, still a possibility that Saab owners experiencing difficulties with their vehicles may be reimbursed for repair costs.

Under the Sale of Goods Act, consumers may find some protection. If a vehicle does require any remedial work, owners may be able to claim through the small claims court. This depends on the fault, and the age of the car in question. 

More on this....

  • New car warranties - read our advice guide
  • Saab reviews - get test scores for Saabs new and old
  • Your rights - check out our consumer rights pages