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GM figuring out what to do with Saab

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TEXT OF Interview

Steve Chiotakis: The board at General Motors will decide next week what to do with Saab. GM had a deal to sell Saab to the Swedish car maker Koenigsegg, But that ended yesterday, when Koenigsegg backed out.

Let’s get more from our European correspondent Stephen Beard, who’s with us live from London. Good morning, Stephen.

Stephen Beard: Good morning, Steve.

Chiotakis: So why did the deal fall through?

Beard: Koenigsegg is blaming it on delays in finalizing the deal. There have been months of negotiation over this. But you know, it does look as if reality sank in — Koenigsegg is a tiny company making relatively small numbers of super cars. It seems to have finally decided that it was biting off more than it could chew with Saab, a company we should remember which has lost money in 19 out of the past 20 years.

Chiotakis: Yeah and Stephen, where does GM go from here, what are their options?

Beard: Well, the Swedish government has made it clear there will be no taxpayer bailout. There are three possibilities: GM could find another buyer, it could keep the company, or it could let it fold — let the brand die.

Chiotakis: And what are you hearing about, you know, the likely outcome?

Beard: Well, in this climate, anything could happen, literally. A Chinese buyer could materialize — the Beijing Automotive Industry Holding Company was involved in the consortium that Koenigsegg had put together. But if that doesn’t happen, GM could pull the plug on Saab. Sorting out Saab has been described as a Herculian task, and GM has already got a lot on its plate now that it’s decided to keep its European divisions, you know, Opel and Vauxhall. But you know, finally, some analysts are saying, Steve, that GM could keep it. They’ve got a spring in their step now, that they’re out of Chapter 11, they might just well want to keep Saab.

Chiotakis: All right. Marketplace European correspondent Stephen Beard in London, many thanks.

Beard: OK, Steve.

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