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Published: Friday, 6/24/2011

Swedish car maker losing battle to keep brand alive

Saab says it's unable to pay its 3,700 workers

ASSOCIATED PRESS
Saab's owner, Swedish Automobile, says it can't pay workers' wages at the factory in Trollhattan, Sweden. Saab's owner, Swedish Automobile, says it can't pay workers' wages at the factory in Trollhattan, Sweden.
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STOCKHOLM -- Saab, the Swedish car company renowned for its sometimes quirky designs, moved closer to bankruptcy Thursday after it conceded that it didn't have any money to pay employees' wages.

After months of production stoppages and problems with paying suppliers, Saab said the situation is so dire that it won't be able to pay its 3,700 employees, raising doubts over how long the brand can survive.

Its Dutch owner, Swedish Automobile, previously known as Spyker Cars, has courted Chinese and Russian investors and put the Saab factory up for sale in its attempts to revive the brand it took over from General Motors Co. last year.

Analysts said the future for the company was very bleak indeed.

Saab has been fighting for its survival since Spyker, a small luxury sports car maker, brought it out of liquidation. Skeptics questioned how Spyker and its smooth-talking CEO Victor Muller could turn around a car maker that posted loss after loss during GM's ownership.

Saab spokesman Eric Geers insisted the car maker is not headed for bankruptcy.

"We're saying that we don't have funding to pay out salaries, but we're working day and night to find a solution," he said. "We're assuming we'll find a solution."



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