February 23, 2009

Saab asks for clarity from Sweden

Saab Chief Executive Officer Jan-Ake Jonsson asked for clarity from the Swedish government concerning a possible bailout of the struggling carmaker.

We get mixed messages from the government, Jonsson said during a televised debate with Swedish Enterprise and Energy Minister Maud Olofsson, Tidningarnas Telegrambyra reported Monday.

Saab filed for court-supervised protection Friday with the government holding to its stance of not offering aid to the automaker.

Jonsson said the government recommended Saab apply for a loan from the European Investment Bank but later said General Motors Corp., Saab's parent company, should submit the application.

It's important for us to get a signal from the government. I think the signals we've been getting from the government have been different, Jonsson said.

Saab has applied to EIB for a $647 million loan but the bank first wants to know if the government plans to step in emergency loans, TT reported.

Olofsson, who is scheduled to tour a Saab's manufacturing plant in Trollhattan, said the company's current business plan was too optimistic.

Last week Olofsson said she it would be irresponsible to use taxpayer funds to help a company that has lost money for years.