Swedish government representatives say they have been in touch with General Motors to stress the importance of just how how many jobs are at stake following the US automaker’s decision not to continue with existing licence technologies should Saab enter 100% Chinese control.
GM’s decision has thrown the complex negotiations between Saab, Youngman and Pang Da into confusion, with crisis talks taking place this week in a bid to engineer a new solution acceptable to the Americans.
“We can’t go into details of the conversations [with GM], but the Swedish government told them a lot of jobs are at stake in Sweden, that we hope they can find a positive solution,” a spokeswoman for the Swedish Enterprise Ministry told just-auto.
Previous estimates have indicated should Saab finally go bankrupt, nearly 4,000 direct posts at the manufacturer would be lost as well as potentially up to 12,000 indirect jobs in the supply chain.
But GM – which has close ties with Chinese manufacturer SAIC – poured cold water on a proposal put forward by Youngman and Pang Da to obtain 100% control of Saab – insisting it would not allow the supply of 9-4X vehicles either.
Despite maintaining it was not a mediator between GM and its proposed partners, the Swedish Enterprise Ministry spokeswoman confirmed the government had been in dialogue with China’s National Reform and Development Commission (NDRC) that must give ultimate approval to any deal.
“We have been in touch with the Chinese authorities and have ongoing contacts with them, with the NDRC,” said the spokeswoman.
“I would not say the government is acting as a mediator, we are following the process closely and the government has been in touch with GM on how they see the situation and why they said no in the way they did.”
Saab’s main blue collar union IF Metall told just-auto the Chinese had injected US$7.5m into the company, but a wages deadline of 26 November is rapidly approaching.
Allied to that a creditors meeting is slated for 22 November at which Saab is due to outline how it will pay a EUR150m suppliers bill.
Youngman was not immediately available for comment.