Saab is in trouble. That's been clear for a long while now. Just how much trouble has come into focus in the last few weeks. Now, Saab has decided to license its core next-generation sedan architecture to a "special purpose" vehicle company called Swedish Automobile coöperatief U.A. (SPV).

The Phoenix architecture is what Saab had been planning to build its next 9-3 on, eventually moving its 9-5 and 9-4X crossover to the platform as well. Even the proposed 9-2 could be built, should Saab survive, on a smaller version of the architecture.

Based loosely on GM's Epsilon platform, which is the basis for the current 9-3, the Phoenix architecture makes some alterations: it's longer, wider, and lower, with a new rear axle type and many technological upgrades.

The license agreement for use of the Phoenix platform will transfer from SPV to Youngman, a frequent player in Saab's ongoing debt struggles, through yet another licensing agreement. Youngman has guaranteed the payment of the license price.

But looking beyond the non-exclusive licensing of the rights to the platform, Saab secures itself a healthy chunk of cash to help repay its debts to its workers and the Swedish government. Saab is still awaiting official approval of a 245 million euro ($320 million) equity investment from Youngman and Pang Da.