SWEDEN: Government "heavily involved" in Asian Saab electric discussions: source
Reliable sources in Sweden claim the government is "heavily involved" in Asian consortium discussions for Saab that could see the iconic name disappear in favour of electric vehicles.
Receivers in Gothenburg acting for bankrupt Saab are likely to make a decision within the next few days on a bidding short list thought to include Chinese manufacturer Youngman and India's Mahindra & Mahindra but it now appears the waters may be muddied by a third serious consortium with potential involvement by the Swedish government - a situation on which the adminstration declined to comment.
"It [consortium] is a really bad thing for Saab and will be a threat for Youngman and Mahindra," the source told just-auto from Sweden. "They are planning to build electric cars in Trollhattan using the 9-3 as a first car and producing batteries.
"Most likely they will not be branded as Saab [but] they are extremely secret about everything."
The source added Stockholm firm Springtime was heading the public relations drive behind the Asian consortium bid, with one of the communications company's co-owners Birgitta Ed, married to Swedish social security minister Ulf Kristersson.
"The Swedish government are heavily involved [in] this situation, it is for sure," added the Swedish source. "Several meetings [happened] between parties from the consortium, the Japanese government and the Swedish government.
"The government likes [this] kind of environmental electric car which will never fly in the next 15 years. There is no commercial point in this right now. I would not be be surprised if they [Swedish government] put money behind it."
A spokeswoman for the enterprise ministry in Stockholm told just-auto she had no knowledge of any government involvement with a consortium bid and insisted the administration's role was not to play a major part in the process.
"Our role in government is the same as it has been all along - mainly answering questions different interested parties might have regarding the Swedish system when it comes to science and financial support available to the automotive industry," she said.
"We don't make comment on who we need and who don't need."
Springtime in Stockholm was not immediately available for comment.