Saab Auto Owner Running Out of Road

saab_aero_9-3_07For those who didn’t know Saab was’t totally dead… but may now be.

The Saab automobile brand may have finally run out of road at least under its current owners.

The Chinese-backed company that bought the Swedish sport-cars maker out of bankruptcy in 2012 said on Wednesday that it will lay off up to 200 employees as ongoing talks to revive production have failed to reach agreement on long-term financing.

National Electric Vehicle Sweden (NEVS), which sought protection from its creditors after it ran out of cash earlier this year, said that the layoffs will be implemented before the end of this month to rapidly reduce the company’s costs as it attempts another reorganization. NEVS currently has 550 employees.

The company said it remains unclear when production, halted in May, will resume.

“We can’t make a decision to start up production without a long term financing plan in place,” said Mikael Östlund, spokesman at NEVS. The company said talks with potential investors are continuing.

NEVS last month sought bankruptcy protection, saying it lacked the funds to keep afloat long enough to conclude talks with parties interested in investing in its Saab project.

This development follows efforts by NEVS to revive Saab that have lasted more than two years. Sold by GM to Spyker in 2010, Saab has been in and out of bankruptcy protection and produced very few vehicles in recent years.

NEVS restarted production of the Saab 9-3 sedan on Sweden’s west coast late last year and had plans to build an electric car in China starting this year. The company hoped to produce a line of cars built off the so-called Phoenix platform, a vehicle architecture developed by GM that was never fully deployed.

In the latest twist in the long-running struggle to keep the Swedish auto maker on the road, NEVS said earlier this year it had run out of cash to pay its suppliers, and stopped production, which had stood at half a dozen vehicles a day. The company is scheduled to present its court-supervised reorganization plan to creditors early next month.

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