Olofsson confirms Fiat’s interest in Saab

Sweden’s enterprise minister Maud Olofsson confirmed on Wednesday that Fiat is one of several bidders interested in purchasing Saab Automobile from US-based General Motors.

“I have stated that there are several interested parties which could be a good fit, of which Fiat is one,” Olofsson told the TT news agency.

“My primary focus is for jobs to remain in Sweden. They need to present the sort of business plan which shows that they can do so.”

Olofsson has yet to review plans from all potential bidders and she emphasized she had no plans to give any preliminary indications about possible loan guarantees until the purchase of Saab had been completed.

“It’s only after we have a new owner for Saab that we have the ability to take a position on loan guarantees. As I’ve said before, taxpayers should not own car factories,” she said.

While she admitted she’s been accused of taking a hard line with automakers, Olofosson also rejected criticism that Sweden hasn’t done enough to support its domestic auto industry.

“Many countries say they’ve done a lot, but if you scrape beneath the surface of what they’ve done, it’s not all that much,” she told TT, adding that the governments of Germany, Belgium, the UK, and the United States had also placed tough demands on automakers seeking public assistance.

According to Olofsson, news that GM is getting closer to seeking Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the United States is proof that the Swedish government was right to reject calls for support from the US automaker.

“We’re lucky that Sweden and the Swedish government didn’t invest a lot of money in GM because that would have meant all our money would be in the United States,” she said.

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