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Formula One boss in Saab sale talks

SWEDISH carmaker Saab could be sold for a nominal $1, but only if the buyer can convince General Motors that it has a sustainable long-term business plan for the brand.

Nick Reilly, GM Europe president, said that although the American carmaker had begun the process of winding down Saab, it was still talking to "at least a couple of potential buyers", including Bernie Ecclestone, the Formula One boss.

Speaking at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit yesterday, Mr Reilly said that a team led by Mr Ecclestone and backed by Genii Capital, a little-known Luxembourg-based private equity firm that was interested in buying Saab, was still looking at "what they can make out of it".

Even though it will cost GM between €50m and €100m to wind down Saab, the American company will proceed with closure unless it can find a buyer with a viable business plan and loan support. Final decisions on Saab and on the restructuring of GM's Opel business in Europe are likely to be finalised this month, Mr Reilly suggested.

Irish Independent