Dutch sportscar maker Spyker is the only viable bidder for Saab and a deal could be struck by the end of the year, the US automaker's board deadline.

Asked if the deal could be completed in time to meet the board's deadline, chairman and acting chief executive Ed Whitacre said: "It's possible."

Spyker declined to comment to AFP.

The structure of the deal would be similar to one proposed by Swedish luxury carmaker Koenigsegg and a Chinese partner, Beijing Automotive Industry Holding (BAIC), which fell through last month and put Saab's future in doubt, a GM spokesman told the news agency.

"It's really to take the brand forward," Tom Wilkinson told AFP.

BAIC on Monday said it had agreed to buy the intellectual property rights for some of Saab's assets. Saab will also help BAIC develop its own-brand cars using the Swedish carmaker's technology, it added.

Swedish financial daily Dagens Industri on Tuesday valued the sale at SKR1.4bn (US$194m, EUR134m), saying that was enough to keep the crisis-ridden iconic brand afloat until the end of the first quarter.

Wilkinson said Spyker would retain the intellectual property for Saab's newer models and would also gain access to a distribution network that was being created as part of the earlier bid.

The European Investment Bank agreed a EUR400m ($600m) loan for Saab during Koenigsegg's negotiations based on its business plan for Saab but the Swedish government had yet to agree to act as guarantor when the automaker withdrew its offer.

A Swedish government official said the government was analysing the Spyker deal.

"We, both the European Investment Bank and the Swedish government, have been given one main lead that we are beginning to analyse, though we are also looking more broadly at a few other interested parties," Joeran Haegglund, state secretary in the Swedish enterprise ministry, told Swedish radio.

GM "is now putting all its energy into concluding the necessary negotiations in order to meet the deadline set for the end of the year," Haegglund said.

The Swedish centre-right government has repeatedly refused to take a stake in the carmaker, arguing that the state should not own companies - and especially not one that a major corporation like GM has been unable to turn around.

Auto market intelligence
from just-auto

• Auto component fitment forecasts
• OEM & tier 1 profiles & factory finder
• Analysis of 30+ auto technologies & more