General Motors says no to new Saab deal, wants to protect its IP


DETROIT, Michigan–General Motors Co. on Saturday repeated its opposition to the sale of the Swedish automaker Saab to a group of Chinese investors. GM spokesman James Cain said the company remains opposed to the deal as structured and insisted no deal can move forward without GM’s approval.

“Saab’s various new alternative proposals are not meaningfully different from what was originally proposed to General Motors and rejected,” the spokesman said.

“Each proposal results either directly or indirectly in the transfer of control and/or ownership of the company in a manner that would be detrimental to GM and its shareholders. As such, GM cannot support any of these proposed alternatives.”

Various new proposals that have been floated by Saab in recent days, including statements that inaccurately suggest that the consent of GM is not required for them to move forward, said Cain.

Saab continues to cling to life, but it is facing some long odds in its continuing battle for survival.

The company received some good news Tuesday when its new Chinese partners transferred cash to Saab’s corporate accounts. The amount wasn’t disclosed, but the transfer allowed the Swedish automaker to pay some bills, a Saab spokeswoman said.

“We remain optimistic and are hopeful a resolution will be reached by the end of the week,” said Saab spokeswoman Michele Tinson.

Saab has struggled since last spring when it was forced to shut down its production plant in Trollhattan, Sweden, following a dispute over payment with a supplier.

The dispute cut off production of Saab 9-5, which the company was counting on to generate cash.

Up until now, Victor Muller, the Dutch businessman who purchased Saab from General Motors in early 2010, has kept the Swedish automobile company alive through persistence and sheer will power.

However, the Swedish judge supervising Saab’s bankruptcy proceedings could suspend the court action, forcing Saab into liquidation and spelling the end of efforts to rescue the company.

Saab’s chances of survival also suffered a serious blow earlier this month when General Motors said it would not sanction any deal with Chinese investors. GM fears intellectual property in Saab’s hands, which originated from GM, could be transferred illicitly to other Chinese companies.

GM has also cut off production of one of the vehicles Saab was counting on for its comeback, the Saab 94-X crossover, which was scheduled to be built at a GM assembly plant in Ramos Arizpe, Mexico.