Saab and GM dealership signage

Spitting out the equivalent of "No soup for you," General Motors has made stronger noises about shutting Saab off from its technology and component pipeline and the new 9-4X, due to the Swedish company's proposed takeover by Chinese firms Pang Da and Youngman. While the GM statement didn't appear to make a definitive statement of walking away, it did say "GM will not agree to the continuation of the existing technology licenses or the continued supply of 9-4X vehicles to Saab following the proposed change in ownership as it would not be in the best interests of GM shareholders."

The mere fact of the Chinese accessing GM technology is obviously part of it, but this would also involve a Chinese competitor – not a joint-venture partner – ingesting a steady stream of GM's current and ongoing platforms and engineering. Since GM's shareholdings mean it needs to approve a Saab sale, the latest arrangement looks like it's going to take some reworking to come to fruition.

Saab CEO Victor Muller saying "We go back to the drawing board" is admitting that GM's stance all but unravels the Chinese agreement to purchase Saab and provide $850 million in long-term funding. We aren't entirely sure what Muller can do when he gets there: the Chinese are the only suitors on the board, no one knows if they even have government approval yet, and GM is the only company that can keep Saab in products without it costing a lot more than $850 million. But Muller's kept the ball in the air this long, we won't be the ones to count him out yet.