Swedish media on Wednesday reported that Saab Automobile was close to bankruptcy, a day after luxury sportscar maker Koenigsegg abandoned its bid to buy the group from General Motors.

AFP said financial daily Dagens Industri headlined ‘The Death Knell’ on its front page, while the country’s leading newspaper Dagens Nyheter blazed ‘It’s Over Now’.

In an analysis piece, conservative daily Svenska Dagbladet said “everything was pointing to the closure of Saab,” and it was “unlikely” a new buyer would turn up.

Saab employs 3,400 people in Sweden and sold just over 93,000 cars worldwide in 2008. Sales have fallen by around 65% since the start of the year, while rival automakers have begun to see a recovery.

“Considering the galloping drop in sales this autumn and its rapidly dwindling coffers, the risk of closure is now imminent,” Svenska Dagbladet said.

Dagens Nyheter, which called Koenigsegg’s bid “a joke from the beginning,” said that “unless a miracle happens – such as a quick and unexpected bid from BAIC or another Chinese manufacturer – then this is probably the end for Saab.”

“The decline in sales has gone too far, the brand has been damaged beyond repair,” it said.

While about 3,400 people are employed at Saab’s factory in Trollhaettan in southwestern Sweden, another 12,000 work for suppliers or subcontractors that directly rely on the automaker for their income.

“This is a tragedy primarily for the employees, who have suffered so much, hoped so much,” Dagens Industri wrote.

“It’s also a tragedy for the Saab brand, brimming with tradition and a proud history, so many strengths and possibilities – if only it had had the right owners.”