General Motors is considering building a small Cadillac at its persistently loss-making Saab factory in Sweden in an attempt to fill the plant.

According to The Financial Times (FT), insiders say GM has developed a design concept for a small Cadillac, which would share underlying technology with the Saab 9-3 saloon, and is now examining the business case, with a decision expected in the next few months.

If the project gets the go-ahead it would be the first time Cadillac, the US luxury brand, has built a vehicle in Europe, the FT said, noting it would also be the first Cadillac to be sold only in Europe, and would help the brand with its re-launch in the continent, begun last year [using an independent, Dutch-based distributor].

The FT added that Saab is also in discussions with Opel about producing a large car for the Swedish brand using shared technology – this car, known internally as the 9-6, would aim to sell about 30,000 a year and use the same underlying platform as the Insignia, a top-of-the-range model being considered for Opel.

The Financial Times said the discussions are at an early stage and there is no certainty that the Insignia – with sales hopes also at 30,000 – will be approved; both cars would use a [presumably rear drive] platform developed by Holden, GM’s Australian subsidiary.

The FT said the willingness to consider the new vehicles demonstrates the pressure within GM to get Saab back on track – during the past 15 years GM has lost more than 20 billion kronors ($US2.7 billion) on its Swedish involvement, and Saab has been profitable only twice.