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Deal Reached on Saab Sale

Posted: Jun 16, 2009 11:05 a.m.

Fans of oddly-placed ignitions and clamshell hoods, rejoice. In its quest to shed brands, GM has finalized a deal to sell Saab.

According to Reuters, "Sweden's Koenigsegg, maker of some of the world's fastest and most expensive sports cars, has struck a deal to buy loss-making Saab Automobile from General Motors, the companies said on Tuesday."

The New York Times reports, "The companies said they had signed a memorandum of understanding, contingent on $600 million of financing from the European Investment Bank that is to be guaranteed by the Swedish government. They did not release further financial details, but Saab has said it would need about $1 billion to upgrade its operations. The deal is expected to close in the third quarter of this year."

Reuters calls the sale, "one of the most unlikely pairings in automotive history" noting that Koenigsegg, a "tiny sports car firm of 45 staff is expected to take over a company that employs around 3,400 staff, a cherished Swedish brand that became a national icon for stability and reliability."

Still, while Saab's production volume is greater than Koenigsegg's, Saab's no Toyota. As the Times notes, " Saab, which has a narrow, though loyal, customer base focused on Sweden, Britain and the American Northeast, sold just 93,000 cars last year."

The sale of Saab is just one of many changes to brands owned by GM this year.  General Motors has sold Saturn and Hummer, as well as its European Opelbrand, earlier this year.  The Los Angeles Times characterizes the Saab sale as GM "unloading the last major piece of the shrinking automaker's empire that had been on the block.  The L.A. Times also notes, "GM has about 220 Saab dealers in the U.S.; by unloading the brand, GM is expected to spare them the ax that has fallen on about 1,350 other GM dealers this year."

If you're in the market for a new car, check out the U.S. News rankings of this year's best cars as well as this month's best car deals.