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Saab's future in doubt

General Motors has warned that its Saab subsidiary could go bust within 10 days without immediate state help, but the Swedish government has already ruled out acquiring stakes in troubled carmakers.

GM said the luxury brand could file for reorganization as early as this month but still hoped to reach a deal with Sweden on aid for the ailing brand.

GM is capping the financial support it will give to Saab as part of its restructuring plan and is aiming for it to become an independent business by January 1, 2010.

Maud Olofsson, Swedish enterprise and energy minister, said: “The Swedish state is not prepared to own car factories.

"We are not prepared to risk the taxpayers' money, this is not a game of Monopoly."

She said it was unreasonable to expect the Swedish government to succeed where the world's biggest carmaker had failed, especially in light of the current global economic situation.

Olofsson said: "Voters elected me because they wanted nursery schools, police and nurses, and not to buy loss-making car factories.”

While Sweden's government flatly rejects the option of taking over the brand, it has said it might be willing to act as a guarantor for a European Investment Bank (EIB) loan of five billion kronor (£396.2m) to help keep it afloat.

Saab employs about 4,100 people in Sweden, 3,700 of whom work at its hub in the southwestern town of Trollhaettan.

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