Mike Stevens | Nov 25, 2009

LEAVING THE SWEDISH luxury carmaker facing closure, the Koenigsegg Group has pulled out of negotiations to buy Saab from General Motors.

After signing a Memorandum of Understanding with the Koenigsegg Group in August, GM had hoped to close the deal by the end of next month.

While Koenigsegg, and its backers in the bid, Beijing Automotive Industrial Holdings, has yet to make its own announcement, GM CEO Fritz Henderson confirmed the decision in a short, two-paragraph statement today.

"We're obviously very disappointed with the decision to pull out of the Saab purchase," Mr Henderson said.

"Many have worked tirelessly over the past several months to create a sustainable plan for the future of Saab by selling the brand and its manufacturing interests to Koenigsegg Group AB. Given the sudden change in direction, we will take the next several days to assess the situation and will advise on the next steps next week."

The US carmaker's 13-member board will meet next Tuesday for a regular monthly meeting, where it will consider its options for Saab.

GM spokesperson Ryndee Carney has previously said that if the Saab deal falls through, GM would likely close the Saab brand.

Speaking with industry paper Automotive News today, Carney reiterated GM's position but would not be drawn on how the brand's dealerships would be affected.

GM's plan to offload its underperforming brands saw upheaval recently when the former number one announced it would retain ownership of its European arm Opel/Vauxhall.

The proposed sale of Hummer to China's Sichuan Tengzhong appears, at last report, to be on track, while a buyer for the US-market Saturn brand continues to be sought.

It remains to be seen how this latest development will affect the launch of the production-ready Saab 9-5 sedan.

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