General Motors on Tuesday said the proposed sale of its Saab subsidiary to Koenigsegg Group was terminated "at the discretion of the buyer". With no other buyers in sight, the move could signal the end of the Swedish brand.
"We're obviously very disappointed with the decision to pull out of the Saab purchase," said GM president and CEO, Fritz Henderson.

"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.

"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."

"We regret that after six months of intense and goal-oriented work we have come to the painful and difficult conclusion that we are not going to be able to carry out the acquisition of Saab Automobile," Koenigsegg head, Christian von Koenigsegg, said in a statement.

The low volume maker of specialist sportscars had announced in September that it had teamed up with Beijing Automotive (BAIC) to buy Saab from GM.

But it needed a a EUR400m (US$600m) loan from the European Investment Bank and wanted the Swedish government to act as a guarantor.

News agency AFP noted that Swedish media had suggested that Saab was short of money to continue its daily operations while there had been doubts Koenigsegg would have the necessary expertise to run a major car company.

Founded in 1994, it has just 45 employees and produces only 18 high-end sports cars a year at more than EUR1m ($1.4m) each.

The Swedish government had as of Tuesday still not decided whether to act as guarantor, AFP said.

"The time factor has from the beginning been critical for our strategy to breathe new life into the company. Unfortunately, delays in completing the deal have led to risks and uncertainties that prevent us from successfully carrying out our business plan for Saab Automobile," von Koenigsegg said.

Citing "a person familiar with direct knowledge of the matter", Reuters said GM's board would will meet next Tuesday to consider Saab's fate.

GM had not been in active discussions with any other bidders for Saab and the decision by Koenigsegg to end the deal meant that a wind-down of the brand was now likely, this person added.