GM to press ahead with Saab shutdown: report
AFP/The Local · 25 Dec 2009, 09:53
Published: 25 Dec 2009 09:53 GMT+01:00
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Svenska Dagbladet (SVD) newspaper reported on Wednesday that GM would not enter into further negotiations with Dutch sportscar maker Spyker.
"Saab's board had a short meeting yesterday. GM representatives were on the phone from the US. And the discussions were entirely about the shutting down Saab – not about the new bid," the newspaper wrote.
GM announced last week it would wind down its loss-making Swedish unit Saab after breaking off sales talks with Spyker.
But the Dutch company then made a last-ditch bid for the iconic brand, which it extended indefinitely hours before it was due to expire Monday.
"The word (at the meeting) was to shut down Saab and that is what we have started working on," Håkan Danielsson of Sweden's engineering union told SVD.
Danielsson was at the meeting and told the newspaper he estimated the wind down of Saab could take many years.
Spyker's new bid was received with scepticism in Sweden, and the government went ahead with preparing for a Saab closure despite the news of Spyker's second attempt to take over the auto brand.
On Monday, Enterprise Minister Maud Olofsson vowed to help Saab's employees and home region, announcing public funding of 542 million kronor ($75 million) to create jobs and growth.
Matts Carlsson, one of Sweden's most respected auto industry analysts, meanwhile told Swedish radio that GM was probably not interested in selling Saab at all, suggesting the US carmaker would rather shut down Saab because of fears over future competition.
But Danielsson told SVD: "GM wants to sell Saab.... It is of course better to have money come in than pay the costs associated with shutting down."
"But it is dragging on and it is going to take more time before everything is ready" for the deal to be completed,” he said.
Spyker chief executive Victor Muller told SVD Tuesday he was "working under a very difficult timeline" to reach a deal with GM.
The troubled US carmaker set a December 31st deadline for a potential sale or closure of its Swedish operations.