AMS cover the Swedish government’s response on Saab

Auto Motor and Sport have a very good summary of the press conference just held by Swedish Deputy PM, Maud Olofsson.
What follows is a translation, tidied up by me:
Industry Minister Maud Olofsson and the government have said “no” to aid that would help Saab and their owner, General Motors. Thus the future looks very bleak for Saab, which can hardly expect so much from the economically beleaguered GM. Olofsson’s statement may well be the beginning of the end for Saab as car manufacturers.
At 11.05, the Industry Minister Maud Olofsson, the press conference which aimed to comment on General Motors future plan, which came on Tuesday night. Olofsson’s statement was a repetition of what she has previously said – the state does not want to become owners of an automobile company.
“To begin with, I would say that I am deeply disappointed in the GM, who do not themselves dare tell the truth, that they have taken their hand from Saab,” said Maud Olofsson. “GM has not performed its role as owners, and are not doing it now. Instead, they want to put the responsibility on the Swedish taxpayers.
“It will be a process now until the end of March. We do not know what will happen until the U.S. government responds. There is also considerable uncertainty about what will happen with Saab.
“My previous position remains firm: the Swedish state is not prepared to take car plants. In this situation, GM is a stubborn negotiator, there are so many jobs that are jeopardized. But GM has also decommissioning, such as the dealer. In the moment we take over ownership, we also agree settlement costs. We are not prepared to jeopardize the taxpayers’ money.”
“The taxpayers have not requested to take car plants’ continued Maud Olofsson. “History teaches us about [trans not working] crisis, which the state invested 100 billion in today’s money and did not got anything.”
“We need to face the truth. It is very, very difficult to see how GM would be able to take ownership of Saab. We close the door for the Swedish government. It is not our strategy to own car plants. By 2010 Saab may require 8-10 SEK, which we will go in with 5 billion. This is not a realistic option. If GM cannot make Saab profitable, how are we to develop profitability?
“Saab have many good cars. The skills are we trying to make something of. We have proposals for research grants. What can lead to new industries? The sooner we do it, the better. Expertise available to develop into other areas, outside the automotive industry . Windfarms, for example. We see a growing interest in plug-in hybrids, electric cars, and the like. Let us see what can go to do there. ”
Asked if there is any realistic future for Saab was Maud Olofsson doubts:
“The realistic way is reconstruction. But it is not the Government. I can not answer if Saab continues to exist. We provide tools for good business ideas.
Maud Olofsson was also critical of General Motors’ ability to meet customer demands for more fuel efficient cars. She visited the Motor Show in Detroit two years ago and not much has happened.
“GM has a good deal to prove,” said Maud Olofsson. “It amazed not directly over the new idea that GM supplies (??? – SW). They do not understand the need for environmentally friendly cars. That’s why they go around the world with their hand out to various governments and ask for money.”

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