Spyker or Closure for Saab, GM confirms

Updated 20:05

Dutch luxury car maker Spyker Cars is the only bidder left in the negotiations over a sale of Saab, General Motors told the news agency Reuters on Tuesday.

The GM company chairman Ed Whitacre told reporters in Detroit that he thought it was possible to finish the sale before the end of the month. But if the deal falls through, GM will close Saab, Whitacre said.

At the Swedish Ministry of Enterprise and Energy, the top civil servant Jöran Hägglund told the news agency TT that they are currently looking carefully at the financial situation of Spyker Cars to see if the state is able to give the necessary guarantees for a loan from the state.

"The work has started, but you could say it is far from finished. We are aware of the time table, so we are working as actively as we can," Hägglund said.

Asked how he sees the chances of this deal to actually happen, Hägglund said he is a "realistic optimist". "The time table is very tight, but we will be doing the tests we need to make because we have no reason to risk the taxpayers money. But the mere fact that there is an interested party and that there are negotiations going on is a reason to be a realistic optimist," Hägglund says.

The comments from Saab were scarce on Tuesday evening, but TT spoke to Mats Fägerhag, head of technical development at Saab, who was not aware that Spyker Cars is the only bidder left in the negotiations. But if that is the case, he said he thought it was good news. "Spyker cars has shown a good understanding for Saabs Business plan and the value of Saab's brand name," Fägerhag told TT.

Spyker Cars is - just like the former Saab-bidder Koenigsegg, a very small luxury car maker. It makes 50 exclusive sports cars per year and has 135 employees. The main owner of Spyker is the Russian millionnaire Vladimir Antonov.

But Mats Fägerhag at Saab says he is not worried that Spyker will just be a repeat of the Koenigsegg story, which fell through last month. "Spyker cars has a lot of knowledge from the trade and I feel that they have both more experience and more stability than Koenigsegg Group," Fägerhag told TT.