Saab pulls out of Frankfurt

In a rare display of carmaker poverty, Saab has pulled out of a major motor show because it can't afford to go.

It says that instead of spending fortunes on a lavish Frankfurt Motor Show stand, it will concentrate on more fundamental issues like keeping its Trollhattan factory going, and paying staff wages.

It is also working on developing the new 9-3 saloon - a car that, if it comes to market in time, might just save the company.

Saab has had a turbulent time over the last few years, and recently looked like it would have to close for good.

However, having been thrown a number of financial lifelines - including selling and leasing back its property - the maker is clinging on.

After being horrendously mismanaged by General Motors, it was sold to Dutch supercar maker Spyker early in 2010.

Spyker is failing, however, because Saab simply isn't selling enough cars: in 2010 it sold 30,000 - a quarter of what it needed just to break even.

Matters looked terminal for Saab in June, when it announced it could no longer afford to pay staff wages. Although loans and the recent sale of 582 cars to a Chinese buyer gave it a stay of execution, it is hanging on by a rusty camshaft.

Over the next few days Saab will be forced by Sweden's Debt Enforcement Agency to pay off some of its creditors to the tune of hundreds of thousands of pounds - a move that could bankrupt it. It's reported that over 100 debt claims against the company have been filed.

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