Dealers trying to push Saab NA into bankruptcy

Saab North America acknowledged that the chances were exceptionally slim, but it hoped to avoid bankruptcy long enough to give another company a chance to buy it. Shortly after Saab NA appointed a third-party administrator, McTevia & Associates, it was decided there was no way to save the company short of liquidation, and on January 23, the administrator announced plans to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

But Saab NA was beat to the filing by a group of 162 out of the 188 Saab dealers, who filed for involuntary Chapter 11 bankruptcy in Delaware. The dealers said last week they were going to file for Chapter 7, but instead chose Chapter 11 because of its lower costs and in case China's Youngman or Turkey's Brightwell Holding's bid for Saab NA's parent succeeds and they want to restart operations here. The document was filed in Delaware because the dealer body feels they'll get better hearing "further away from Detroit." Dealers also wanted the force of court orders to back up any decisions made, not that of a third-party administrator.

Underneath all the legal machinations, though, if estimates from Saab NA dealer attorney Leonard Bellavia are accurate, then the parties could emerge without getting financially kneecapped. When McTevia announced its plan to file, Bellavia suggested that Saab NA's liabilities were $10.5 million and assets at between $75 million and $125 million. With no more parts on the way and 2,400 cars on lots, McTevia had earlier said that the parts distribution business is "the only meaningful asset."

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