General Motors (GM) has announced that its proposed sale of the Swedish car-maker Saab to Koenigsegg Group AB has been terminated by Koenigsegg. GM's President and CEO, Fritz Henderson, expressed his disappointment at the decision and said "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".

Given its small size, Koenigsegg had always appeared an unlikely buyer of Saab. However, it had been hoped that as a Swedish manufacturer of highly distinctive super-cars, Koenigsegg would at least be well-equipped to understand Saab's corporate DNA and help Saab to come up with more imaginative designs than the slightly dull GM-derived models that have been produced in the recent past.

When GM initially agreed to sell Saab to a group led by Koenigsegg, it had appeared that the likely alternative to such a deal would be closure but it is not clear whether this is still the case; GM has already dramatically reversed its decision to divest itself of its other European marques, Opel and Vauxhall, so the possibility that Saab may yet find a place in GM's future European line-up cannot be ruled out entirely.

A decision will need to be reached fairly quickly as Saab is due to start selling its new large 9-5 model next year. Whoever owns the company at that stage – assuming it survives until then – will be relying heavily on the 9-5 for future success.

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