Most US auto eyes will be on Washington DC this afternoon (GMT) when General Motors and Chrysler submit final restructuring/viability plans to the US treasury as part of the conditions of a first tranche of bailout loans at the turn of the year, and more help expected to be made available today. But nervous eyes will be watching from this side of the Atlantic, too as GM's European brands brace for the effects of the parent company's survival plan.

News agency Reuters is this morning suggesting GM's plan might include wide-ranging changes at its European operations, including Germany's Opel, Vauxhall, with two plants here in Britain, and Saab in Sweden.

Several potential scenarios are suggested.

One is for General Motors Europe (GME) to obtain government loan guarantees and state aid. GME president Carl-Peter Forster reportedly wants up to US$1bn in support from the Swedish government for Saab and under EUR2bn ($2.56bn) in German guarantees for Opel for 2009 and 2010.

An unnamed senior GM official was quoted at the weekend as saying the Opel aid was a certainty but it was expected the German government would wait to see what was in the US plan before making its final decision.

Sweden has said it may grant up to SKR25bn ($2.93bn) in credit guarantees and emergency loans to the industry, including Saab, as long as the money is spent in Sweden to preserve jobs and achieve profitability, the news agency said.

Swedish broadcaster SVT last weekend cited sources saying GM and Sweden had been unable to agree terms of loan guarantees, though industry ministry state secretary Joran Hagglund told Reuters on Monday that talks were continuing.

The German government, meanwhile, is open to giving aid to Opel as long as it is ring-fenced. Administrators in Europe could check that any funds from a loan guarantee plan go to specific projects, ensuring no taxpayer money finds its way to Detroit.

Alternatively, Reuters suggested, states could inject  fresh equity into Opel and Saab but Sweden so far has made clear it wants to sell state assets, not buy them.

The report said German officials have not ruled out taking a direct stake in Opel as a last-ditch measure to save jobs though GME labour leader Klaus Franz has said he does not want the government running the automaker.

Carving out both Opel and Saab as independent entities may be another outcome. The Swedish government insisted Saab was to be independent before it would grant any aid, a step that the German government might also require for Opel as insurance that state aid was not siphoned off to Detroit.

GME labour leaders reportedly favour this approach to guarantee the long-term viability of the businesses and avoid plant closures.

Selling Saab - which has languished under a decade of GM ownership - is also on the cards. Forster said last month an investor had approached GM but that talks would not conclude before the end of March.

Swedish minister Hagglund has said Stockholm has no "political or ideological" preference for a new owner as long as it knows the manufacturing sector and is committed to Saab and Volvo, according to Reuters.

According to the report, any disposal and 'deconsolidation' of Opel or Saab would likely require business contracts between the two and with parent GM to be renegotiated at arm's length since all engines and transmissions are sourced separately via GM Powertrain.

The German labour force has long lobbied for Opel cars to be sold in the US market, according to Reuters. Right now, the Astra is available there as a Saturn. One industry proposal reportedly has been to let Saturn dealers exchange their franchise for an Opel one, giving GM's second-largest brand a global sales network.

Although a sale is the preferred solution, "all options are being examined" including a complete closure of Saab, a source at GM has acknowledged to Reuters.

The news agency suggested this could be expensive because GM employs roughly 4,400 workers at Saab and their products are sold in more than 60 countries. A European Cadillac model, called the BLS, is also manufactured in Trollhattan alongside Saab's 9-3 and 9-5 models.

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