GM said in a statement the move was not a bankruptcy or forced liquidation process, and it expected Saab to satisfy debts, including supplier payments. GM would start an orderly wind-down of Saab operations, it said on Friday. GM Europe president Nick Reilly said it had become clear that the due diligence required to complete this complex transaction could not be executed in a reasonable time.
Saab would have needed a quick resolution in order to maintain operations, he added.
GM had been in talks to sell Saab to niche luxury carmaker Koenigsegg, with the backing of China's BAIC.
But the deal fell through in November, and GM said it would consider other offers until the end of the year, and then decide whether to close the unit.
BAIC said earlier this week it had agreed to buy some assets from Saab, including the intellectual property for the 9-5 and 9-3 sedans, as part of a push to develop its own-brand cars.
Saab has around 3,000 staff, and about the same number are employed in ancillary industries.