) - After failing to get last-minute backing from Chinese automakers,
may have yet another chance to avoid a liquidation.
Mahindra & Mahindra
may bid on pieces of the bankrupt Swedish carmaker, according to
reports citing unnamed sources. However, it's still unclear whether a deal will emerge or if it would quell intellectual property concerns which halted previous rescue attempts by Chinese automakers.
Earlier in December, Saab headed toward liquidation following the failure of a last-ditch investment from Chinese automaker's Pang Da and Zhejiang Youngman. Like with Hummer, a formerly
-owned division, Saab may wiped away if bids from Mahindra or other automakers from Turkey or elsewhere don't emerge.
Saab's China sale effort stalled as a result of veto provisions that General Motor's retained in the auto maker. In November, GM said it could veto any sale proposal to protect its key Saab patents and its auto-making relationships in China.
The largest automaker in the U.S. said it would oppose a sale unless it could be convinced doing so would not "negatively impact G.M.'s existing relationships in China or otherwise adversely affect G.M.'s interests worldwide," the
New York Times
reports. Through joint ventures, General Motors is the largest car seller in China and counts the region as one of its largest and fastest growing markets.
Nevertheless, bid interest in pieces of Saab from other countries like India or Turkey could pose less of a threat to G.M., potentially paving way for a deal. Saab's Chief Executive Victor Muller said in December that several potential bidders had shown interest in the automaker, according to
The liquidation of Saab -- and a similar discontinuation of Hummer -- also shows that formerly GM-owned brands have struggled to find foreign buyers, in contrast to
, which sold its Volvo brand to China's
for $1.8 billion in 2010 and its Jaguar and Land Rover brands to India's
for $2.3 billion in 2008.
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Saab was a piece of
for nearly two decades until the U.S.'s largest automaker filed for bankruptcy in 2009 and decided to discontinue its Saab, Saturn, Pontiac and Hummer brands.
In 2010, GM sold Saab for $400 million to Swedish Automobile, but the company continued to struggle. In 2006, its best ever year, Saab sold 133,000 cars but has seen its brand diminish significantly.
Saab is reported to have sold just 31,700 cars in 2010. In October, Saab said in a press release that its entered into a sale 'memorandum of understanding' with Chinese automakers Pang Da and Zhejiang Youngman for $142 million. Previously, Pang Da and Youngman had agreed to buy a 53.9% stake in Saab's parent Swedish Automobile for 245 million euros.
Saab halted its vehicle production in March because of cash shortfalls and late payments to suppliers. It narrowly skirted a bankruptcy filing in September after courts in Sweden gave Saab a stay from creditors. In December, after Chinese bids faltered, the company indicated it may head toward liquidation.
-- Written by Antoine Gara in New York