GM wants Sweden’s help with European loans for Saab: report

The US-owners of Saab Automobile want Sweden to secure loans worth $600 million from the European Investment Bank (EIB) to keep the Swedish automaker running until it can be sold.

Citing a person familiar with the talks, the Bloomberg news agency reports that the loans, together with around $400 million in financing from GM, would allow Saab to bring new models to market and remain competitive.

According to Saab spokesman Eric Geers, it is “possible” that GM has told the Swedish government that if the company doesn’t receive the aid it needs to keep Saab going, it may shut down the unit.

According to Bloomberg, the EIB won’t make loans to GM without support from the Swedish government because of the US automakers battered credit rating.

GM is facing a February 17th deadline to find a solution for Saab. That’s when GM must report to the US treasury about how it plans to remain viable so it can pay back $13.4 billion in US government loans by 2011.

In January, GM Vice Chairman Bob Lutz said that Saab has been on “life support” for twenty years.

In 2008, General Motors sold 93,295 Saab models globally, a drop of 25 percent.

“Saab got watered down and lost its way and nobody at GM has been able to figure out what to do with it,” analyst Jim Hall, principal of 2953 Analytics in Birmingham, Michigan, told Bloomberg.

The Swedish government has been in a “continuous dialogue” with GM and Saab about how to support the troubled Swedish brand, Greers told Bloomberg on Wednesday.

GM announced back in December that it planned to sell Saab.