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No government rescue for Saab: Olofsson

AFP/The Local · 18 Dec 2009, 16:14

Published: 18 Dec 2009 16:14 GMT+01:00

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"It is very bleak. Very sad news for all of the employees and it comes at the worst possible time," Enterprise Minister Maud Olofsson told Swedish news agency TT.

GM said in a statement Friday it had failed to reach an agreement with Dutch sports car maker Spyker on a sale of the division.

"We regret that we were not able to complete this transaction with Spyker Cars. We will work closely with the Saab organisation to wind down the business in an orderly and responsible manner," GM said.

Saab chief Jan Åke Jonsson told the press conference he was "very disappointed".

"But now the decision has been made and we are waiting to see how GM plans to carry out the winding-down," he said.

Following the announcement, Olofsson told TT: "I am the first to regret that GM did not want to complete the deal."

Olofsson has called a meeting between union representatives, authorities and the company to discuss the situation in Saab's hometown of Trollhättan in southwestern Sweden on Monday.

But she reiterated the centre-right government's position that the Swedish state would not step in to become Saab's owner, saying it has no place owning car companies.

"We don't have the expertise and we don't have the money," she said.

Story continues below…

"I don't think GM really knows how the wind-down is going to take place, but GM has to take its responsibility," Olofsson said, adding: "The most important thing right now is to take care of the employees and the future, how to make the most of their know-how."

Saab employs about 3,400 people in Sweden. According to media reports, a closure of Saab could lead to more than 8,000 job losses, including subcontractors and others dependent on the carmaker.

An iconic brand: Saab's history in pictures

Related links:

AFP/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

17:16 December 18, 2009 by Great Scott
Nothing worse than incompetent government.

Why does this woman keep saying that she is not going to buy out Saab, no one has asked her for a penny, the only request is for a guarantor . She should stop lying to people.

The EU has agreed to a loan, that the Swedish government applied for, why did they apply for it if they were not going to act as a guarantor.

Why does she continue to blame GM when GM and Spyker came up against the same brick wall?

Saab have a new 95 waiting to go, why does she not allow the Swedish people to build it and let the Swedish people feel proud.

The woman should resign now.
18:13 December 18, 2009 by tillerman
Why should taxpayers subsidise cars that people do not want to buy? I would rather use the money to pay for our social benefits.
20:03 December 18, 2009 by wenddiver
Government of, by and for the Social Benefits. To hell with he country and people, save Socialism the modern future brought to you by the 19th Century.
21:31 December 18, 2009 by Renfeh Hguh
Smart decision!
22:42 December 18, 2009 by lingonberrie
Would you prefer to have a Government of, by, and for Corporate America and Wall Street?

The people of America are living in the streets, sub-standard housing, being foreclosed upon by the millions, have fifteen million five-hundred thousand, and counting, unemployed, fifty million not covered by any health-care, and after their phony "Reform" dies, most likely double that number, and those who do have private coverage by their corrupt insurance industry pay $1000 or more/month and still have co-payments and deductibles that are designed to force them into bankrupty.

Only those average citizens who have Government jobs that carry them in the flag from the cradle to the coffin ( a.k.a. "Socialism) have anything that resembles what Sweden and other European nations provide for their citizens.

You can always apply for entry into the States, and you have a better chance of being accepted than many others from other Nations.
03:09 December 19, 2009 by 2394040

I don't know if you live in the USA, but I do, and you definitely hit the nail right on the head. The interesting thing to me, as an American, is that Sweden is slowly but surely headed in the same direction that we are: downhill. But as I've stated previously on this website, these decisions are made on a much higher level than just the national government level.
10:13 December 19, 2009 by skatty
I don't get why so many car companies should be around the world! May be there is no more need of SAAB product (cars). In one side there is problem with air pollution and in other side keep people in unnecessary jobs. The best thing is to build a very good and effective public transport and reduce care manufacturing as much as possible.
15:17 December 19, 2009 by gavas

while your "facts" are "slightly" exaggerated (I live in the US and pay $180 a month for my wife and myself for health insurance with very low copays, my company picks up the rest, I'm no exception, but the norm), your "facts" are the trade-off for not paying the 50-60% taxes that Swedes are accustomed to. The average American lives much more comfortably than the average Swede. The difference is that the Americans in the lowest 10% income bracket have a harder time than the corresponding Swedes.
01:12 December 20, 2009 by glenn_dallas
I truly believe Sweden will regret not saving its manufacturing sector. Just like in America, Sweden is outsourcing all of the manufacturing. What a true shame...
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