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The number-crunchers have been earning their keep the last few weeks. With their mathematical weapon of choice in hand, be it a calculator, tally counter or even a trusty abacus, they’ve kept an exacting total of how many vehicles automakers sold over the past 12 months. How did things shake out? Which brand nearly doubled its sales for the year?
A stockpile of about 900 Saabs is finally set to be sold off after having sat in three U.S. ports since December 2011 as collateral in the company’s financial snafu.
The saga of Saab‘s bankruptcy seems to be never ending, but that hasn’t dampened the spirits of Saab enthusiasts. The last Saab 9-3 Griffin is scheduled to come off the production line at the end of this month, and SaabsUnited is hoping to purchase the vehicle and place it at the Saab Cars Museum.
Back in 2009, Beijing Auto was able to purchase the rights to several Saab platforms, engines and transmissions. Now that buyout will result in the C70, set to debut at the upcoming Beijing Motor Show.
Alright, so it’s not actually a new Saab per se, but the C70 is one of three Saab-based models that Beijing Auto hopes to launch shortly. Despite having the rights to the Swedish automaker’s platform and some of its drivetrains, Beijing Auto had to come up with a new body for the car. Rumors have us to believe that Italy’s Pininfarina was tasked with the job.
As the Saab bankruptcy saga starts to come to a silent end, or so we hope, the deadline for companies to place their final bids for the Swedish carmaker has been set for April 10th.
Currently, the only company that has publicly registered its interest is Chinese automaker Youngman that has been in the picture since the bankruptcy began. Youngman’s original buyout was essentially broken up by General Motors, which still controls key Saab technology today.
Other companies rumored to be interested include Indian automaker Mahindra & Mahindra and an unnamed Japanese and Chinese consortium interested in producing electric vehicles through the Saab name.
Alas, it seems unlikely that assets raised will cover Saab’s current debt which is estimated to be about $1.8- to $1.97-billion. In fact, the attorneys handling Saab’s estate says any sale is unlikely to even cover “a portion” of the debt.
[Source: Automotive News]
Since Saab‘s bankruptcy, multiple automakers and outfits have expressed interest in purchasing the Swedish marque albeit no deals were sealed. As for Saab Cars North America (SCNA), the distribution company continues its fight against an involuntary bankruptcy filing in Delaware by its dealers and is working to move the case to Michigan.
In the meantime, its North American imports are held in limbo, as roughly 900 new Saabs were spotted at building 263 of a Newark, New Jersey port facility. A disheartening sight, Saab 9-3 and 9-5 sedans and sport combis as far as the eye can see lie neglected under layers of grime. More still are kept inside the warehouse buildings.
According to original poster aireeca of Found Our Own Road, “It’s hard to explain what it was like to just stand there and look at these cars and think, ‘This is it. These are the last new Saabs we’ll ever see.’ It’s not like Oldsmobile or Saturn or Hummer where the parent company lives on.”
GALLERY: Saabs At New Jersey Port
[Source: Found Our Own Road]
Despite the demise of the Saab automaker, racing team Tidö and Flash Engineering are hard at work developing and performing shakedown tests on their new Saab 9-3 TTA race car that will compete in the Swedish Racing Elite League.
Recently, the Saab 9-3 TTA was seen conducting first round testing in France with Swiss driver Fabian Thuner lapping around the Alés track. Then, the race car as well as the new information and developments found during testing will be carried over to undergo official tests in Karlskoga and Anderstorp.
Competing against Saab in the Swedish Racing Elite League include automakers Citroën, BMW, and Volvo. Racing head to head against the Volvo S60 TTA, Flash Engineering Managing Director says enthusiastically, “I have longed for 40 years to see the fight between Saab and Volvo on the race tracks. It becomes reality this summer and my biggest dream is to get all Saab fans to the TTA races to cheer us on.”
GALLERY: Saab 9-3 TTA
Check out the test teaser video of the Saab 9-3 TTA taken at the Alés track of France after the jump: Continue Reading…