The Swedish government is putting the pressure on General Motors, saying that it must make a decision this week on the sale of Saab if the deal is to go through by the end of the year. “They must at least have chosen one of the interested parties this week, otherwise it will be tough to complete a deal,” said Swedish Enterprise Ministry secretary Joran Hagglund in an interview published in the country’s daily newspaper, Svenska Dagbladet.
After the deal to sell Saab to a group led by Swedish supercar maker Koenigsegg fell through a few weeks ago, GM was all but ready to give up on its loss-making Swedish brand, when Dutch exotic car maker Spyker announced its interest. Yet another long shot, Spyker always seems to be able to find cash when it needs to, even running a Formula 1 team at one point.
GM has said that if a solid buyer is identified but a deal hasn’t been secured by the company’s self-imposed year’s-end deadline that it would be willing to continue to bankroll the company. GM spokesman Chris Preuss has said that the American auto giant is willing to continue to work to find a buyer for Saab but hinted that the wait might not be a long one saying that, “a decision about Saab is going to come very soon.”
The Swedish government does, however, have a say, as does the European Investment Bank, as both parties need to investigate a buyer’s business plan before supporting the purchase.
China’s Beijing Auto (or BAIC) has also expressed an interest in Saab, but is only after the company’s tooling a technology behind the previous generation of cars in order to build those vehicles for the Chinese market. BAIC had agreed to support the Koenigsegg-led deal in exchange for those assets but when that deal fell through has offered once again to buy them.
So far, GM has had little success selling off its many brands. The company is in the process of closing its Pontiac unit but couldn’t find a buyer for the Saturn brand after a deal with the Penske Automotive Group fell through. A deal to sell Hummer to a Chinese industrial equipment manufacturer has yet to be completed.