GM identifies Spyker as possible Saab savior

AP News
Posted: Dec 15, 2009 3:17 PM

If Dutch luxury car maker Spyker doesn't buy the Saab brand, General Motors Co. will let it die a quiet death by Dec. 31, GM's chairman said Tuesday.

Chairman and interim CEO Ed Whitacre Jr. told reporters he has "a sense it's possible" that the Saab sale to Spyker could still go through.

"Saab is just about done," Whitacre said in a meeting with reporters. "If we don't find a buyer by the end of the month, we're going to close it."

Officials in Stockholm said work has begun to secure state-guaranteed loans for a possible sale of Saab, which employs about 4,500 people.

Hakan Lind, a spokesman at the Ministry of Enterprise, also confirmed that the European Investment Bank has been provided with the name of the potential contender for a loan.

Ever since the Koenigsegg Group consortium _ led by a tiny Swedish sports car maker Koenigsegg _ pulled out of its planned Saab purchase in November, speculation has been rampant about the future of the Swedish GM unit.

On Monday, China's Beijing Automotive Industry Holdings _ originally part of the Koenigsegg consortium _ announced it had agreed to buy technology from Saab. It gave no details of costs or timing of that purchase.

Spyker posted a loss of euro8.7 million in the first of 2009, compared to a euro8.6 million loss in the same period a year earlier. Sales fell 29 percent to euro4.1 million.