Saab Automobile files for bankruptcy today, blaming General Motors for blocking a lifesaving takeover by a pair of Chinese investors and likely spelling an end for the 64-year-old Swedish auto maker.

GM sold Saab to Dutch entrepreneur Victor Muller for $74 million two years ago, when the Detroit auto maker was slimming down its business in the wake of its own bankruptcy. GM retained a small stake in Saab and continued to supply technology and contract assembly.

The fire sale was thought to save Saab from liquidation, but its new parent company, Swedish Automobile, never was able to generate enough capital to keep the car company alive independently.

Muller courted a number of investors and landed several cash infusions to keep Saab limping along. Then earlier this year, dealership giant Pang Da and auto maker Zhejiang Youngman Lotus Automobile agreed to buy the brand under the premise of growing its business in Asia.

GM saw the expansion plan as a threat to its booming operations in China and voted against the deal.

Swedish Automobile says in a statement today: “After having received the recent position of GM on the contemplated transaction with Saab, Youngman informed Saab that the funding to continue and complete the reorganization of Saab could not be concluded.”

It is expected courts in Sweden will approve the bankruptcy filing and appoint receivers for the company’s assets, including its idled Trollhattan assembly plant, shortly.

Saab employs about 3,700 people in Sweden. Saab markets and sells cars in about 60 countries.

jamend@wardsauto.com