GM Swedish Unit Saab Cuts 750 Jobs

Company says cuts are necessary to increase liquidity in order to attract new investors

Saab, trying to survive as an independent unit after it was cut loose by troubled parent General Motors, said on March 12 it would lay off 750 of its 4,100 employees in Sweden. The layoffs will occur in the company's production facility in Trollhaettan, Saab spokesman Joe Oliver said. "It will likely be 650 blue-collar and 100 white-collar" workers who will lose their jobs, Oliver added.

"This is a necessary action to increase liquidity and the top priority for Saab at the moment is to reorganize efficiently in order to attract new investors," he said.

Last month, Saab's beleaguered U.S. owner basically abandoned the Swedish unit, saying its ownership obligations would lapse at the end of this year. Saab Automobile began restructuring after GM warned it could be pushed into immediate bankruptcy unless it received help from the Swedish government, which in turn flatly refused to step in and rescue Saab.

According to Saab and the Swedish government, several potential buyers have shown interest in the automaker which was once renowned for its cutting-edge technology and futuristic designs but which in recent years has suffered from an aging product line and plunging sales.

Out of Saab's around 4,100 employees in Sweden, 3,700 work at its hub in the southwestern town of Trollhaettan.

A GM factory in Mexico also makes Saab cars but the jobs there are not dependent on the Swedish unit.

Including suppliers, some 15,000 jobs in Sweden are believed to be at risk if the unit disappears.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2009

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