Saab hovers on brink without GM support

City A.M. Reporter
GENERAL Motors said yesterday it would not support a proposed ownership structure for Saab that included a Chinese bank, moving the Swedish auto company closer to liquidation.

“We have reviewed Saab’s proposed changes regarding the sale of the company,” GM spokesman James Cain said in a statement. “Nothing in the proposal changes GM’s position. We are unable to support the transaction.”

GM has said it would be difficult to support a sale of Saab that hurts GM’s competitive position in China and other key markets.

Without GM’s technology licences and production contract, analysts have said, Saab would be unable to continue in its present form.

Saab owner Swedish Automobile said on Monday it was in talks with a Chinese bank about taking a stake in Saab.

The new proposal was part of an effort to address the concerns of GM, which still has preferential shares in Saab and licenses technology and previously built a vehicle for the Swedish carmaker, which halted operations in April.

When asked about GM’s rejection, Swedish Automobile chief executive Victor Muller said in a text message: “There is always Plan B.” He said it was too early to provide details.

Saab has lurched from crisis to crisis in the past year and has not produced any cars for several months as its main factory in Trollhattan, Sweden, has been shut because of unpaid salaries and bills.