To auto enthusiasts, Saab was known for its quirks such as placing the ignition lock between the front seats and becoming the first car to have heated seating in 1971.
GM bought a 50 percent stake and management control of Saab in 1989, and gained full ownership in 2000. The aircraft and defense company with the same name remained an independent entity, building fighter jets and weapons systems.
Saab Automobile's sales peaked at 133,000 cars in 2006. After that, sales dwindled to 93,000 cars in 2008 and just 27,000 in 2009, as GM — itself in bankruptcy protection following the financial crisis — prepared to wind down the Swedish brand.
Muller stepped in after a takeover attempt by a consortium led by Swedish sports car maker Koenigsegg failed. Analysts expressed doubt over Saab's chances of survival under Spyker, which later changed its name to Swedish Automobile.
Spyker manufactured only a few dozen high-priced cars a year. Without support from other investors, Muller's plans didn't seem credible, critics said.
Concerns mounted as Saab failed to pay suppliers early this year. Production was stopped in March, restarted, then halted again as the liquidity crisis deepened.
AP Business Writer Elaine Kurtenbach in Shanghai contributed to this report.
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