Consumer Confidential: Saab’s woes, Nissan recalls, bearish penalty


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Here’s your ain’t-no-mountain-high-enough Monday roundup of consumer news from around the Web:

--Sayonara, Saab? Saab Automobile has filed for bankruptcy, bringing the Swedish carmaker to the brink of shutting for good after failing to find investors to rescue the 74-year-old company. Saab, which General Motors sold to Swedish Automobile in February 2010, won protection from creditors in September and has been seeking funding since then. Guy Lofalk, Saab’s court-appointed administrator, applied on Dec. 7 to end the reorganization, saying the carmaker was out of money and had no realistic hope of gaining financing soon. Swedish Automobile’s stock plunged as much as 76% to 5 cents. How do you say ‘fare thee well’ in Swedish? (Los Angeles Times)


--Speaking of vehicles, heads up: Nissan is recalling some 2010 and 2011 models of its Sentra small car for a battery-related problem -- the second time in a month it has recalled the cars for a battery issue. And it’s recalling its Juke small car because a bracket could break and cause the engine to stall. The latest recall involves Sentras built from May 11 through May 22, 2010, and from July 8 through Oct. 25, 2010. A zinc coating on a bolt that holds the battery cable is too thick and can reduce voltage, resulting in hard starting and damage to the engine control module. As a result, the engine could stall and be hard or impossible to restart. (USA Today)

--The bear necessities: The people who make the Build-A-Bear toy bears have agreed to pay a $600,000 penalty for failing to report a safety defect that resulted in injuries to consumers. The penalty results from the company’s alleged failure to immediately report problems involving a toy bear beach chair. The Consumer Product Safety Commission said sharp edges of the chair’s folding frame could pinch, lacerate and even amputate a child’s fingertip. The chairs were recalled in May 2009, by which time there were at least 10 reports of injuries, which the St. Louis-based company apparently knew about but didn’t report. In agreeing to the settlement, Build-A-Bear said it denies allegations about the existence of a defect or hazard, or that it violated the law. (

-- David Lazarus