General Motors has mounted a robust defence of its actions following Saab's formal entry into bankruptcy, insisting the development was "not for lack of effort."

The US automaker has had a barrage of criticism in Sweden, given its tough stance regarding future licensing agreements should Saab have secured a new ownership structure, but has now come back fighting its corner.

"We were very consistent and very honest in all of our discussions, that we could not support the sale or a structure that would result in a change of control," GM financial news spokesman James Cain told just-auto from the US.

"It is unfortunate. We did what we could over many months...but the end game of the sale of the company was not anything we could support."

Saab's IF Metall union - which also criticised GM's role in the Saab affair - told just-auto today (20 December) it knew of two potential bidders for the Swedish company, but the US manufacturer is holding its cards close to its chest regarding any possible new buyer.

"If there were people who were to bid on the assets, they have to go through the Court process," said Cain. "At this point in time, I am reluctant to say one way of the other what we might do, except to say anything that gets proposed will get look [ed] at through the [GM] filter and its shareholders."

The GM spokesman also outlined some of the thinking behind its hard stance after many months of first, both Chinese distributor Pang Da and Youngman, then solely the latter, attempting to find a solution to any Saab ownership structure.

"The fact it was Chinese certainly did not help," he said. "Also the fact it was a distressed company selling to a potential new market entrant - our interest is in making any GM technology deployed benefits our shareholders.

"The receivers will deal with Saab's assets, but the technical licences remain GM property - it is not as if they could be sold. It is unfortunate it did not work out, but it was not for lack of effort, including our own."

Receivers have now been appointed by the Court to handle any Saab sale, with IF Metall calling for any disposal to be made of the whole company and not piecemeal.

"The sale proposal was the end game of a very lengthy struggle in an economy where calling it [a] difficult environment would be a massive understatement," said Cain.

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