By Kyle Olson
In late 2011 Saab, the Swedish automobile manufacturer, filed for bankruptcy after 61 years of business.
According to Reuters, a Chinese born-Swedish investor has agreed to purchase the stagnant car company in hopes to restructure the business model to produce electric automobiles.
The initial focus will be on the Chinese market, according to the report.
Saab was declared insolvent in 2011 with debts around $1.8 billion, according to Reuters.
Part of the debt was owed to the Swedish Debt Office.
Before Saab filed for bankruptcy, the General Motors owned car manufacturer was sold to Dutch group Spyker.
Despite a loyal customer base with admired vehicles, Saab struggled to keep up with its competitors for years.
The most recent purchase was part of a bidding process that saw Chinese group Zhejiang Youngman Lotus Automobile lose out on the sale to the aforementioned Chinese-Swedish investor.
The amount of the deal is undisclosed at this time.
Swedish media had previously reported that Youngman submitted a bid in early 2012 to the tune of around $280 million.
The new owner of the previously heralded car manufacturer stated that it will need roughly 200 employees to develop the first model, which is slated to be released sometime in 2013 or 2014.
The number of employees needed is drastically lower than the 3,500 employees that Saab previously employed.
However, according to Reuters, the number of employees will rise as the release date of the new vehicles approaches.
The aim is to build an electric car based on Saab’s 9-3 model that was previously engineered as an entirely gasoline based vehicle.
Among missing in the new deal are the rights to the 9-4x and the 9-5 models which are still owned by General Motors and therefore are not a part of the new ownership’s plans for Saab’s future endeavors.
Bankruptcy And The Bailout
In the lean years of 2008 and 2009 the auto industry was facing a crisis of epic proportions.
Seen as the cornerstone of American industry, the government backed a bailout program that kick started the industry back into its fighting form.
Among those lost in the cloud of smoke that was generated from the massive bailout were lesser known subsidiaries of American auto giants such as Saab’s relationship to General Motors.
The Swedish auto maker just couldn’t hack it in the newly volatile car industry and ultimately filed for bankruptcy.
Despite the drastic decline, experts iterate that there is a lesson to be learned from Saab.
That lesson; there’s life beyond bankruptcy and with Saab’s new venture, a particularly prosperous possibility.