Dutch sports car maker Spyker Cars is still interested in buying Saab from General Motors and is not aware of any deadline imposed on the process, a spokesman has said.

Swedish daily Svenska Dagbladet had reported earlier that Joran Hagglund, the head of Sweden's enterprise ministry, told GM it needed to decide this week if it would sell the loss-making unit.

GM was close to deciding which of Saab's bidders would proceed to final negotiations, Swedish news agency TT reported on Thursday, citing a source, Reuters reported.

The reports said the buyer which GM is leaning towards has experience in car production on a small scale, and that it plans to run a full-scale car production line, including design and development, in Sweden.

It said the preferred buyer was one of the groups already mentioned in the press and that all in all, TT said, pointed to Spyker as a favourite.

Saab spokesman Eric Geers declined to comment on the report but said it was evident things would have to unfold soon.

"There are signals everywhere showing we are well on track," Geers said.

Spyker first said on 2 December it was interested in Saab, which GM is scrambling to sell after a deal with Swedish luxury car builder Koenigsegg collapsed. GM has said it would hold on to Saab through year's end and close it if it appears it cannot be sold.

"They're not aware of any deadline," the Spyker spokesman said on Thursday, adding that the company's interest was unchanged.

Saab also said there was no deadline, but that all sides would need to move quickly to make a deal this year.

Two people with direct knowledge of the discussions told Reuters on Monday that GM was in talks with China's fifth largest car maker, Beijing Automotive Industry Holding (BAIC), about a partial sale of assets associated with Saab.

There had been reports that Saab was selling BAIC tooling for the old 9-5 and 9-3 model lines - Saab is poised to launch a fully redesigned 9-5.

Any such deal would likely lead to the liquidation of the unsold assets and the loss of more than 3,000 jobs in Sweden though Saab has said it was optimistic a deal could be agreed that would avoid a carve-up, Reuters noted.

Spyker, which has roots dating to 1875, last year sold 43 of its luxury cars at prices from EUR200,000 ($294,200). Its primary backers include Russian banking tycoon Vladimir Antonov and his Convers Group, with a 29.9% stake.

See also: Dave's blog

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