16 Suitors For Saturn, GM Says

Jill Lajdziak, general manager of GM's Saturn Division, poses with the Saturn Aura after being awarded the North American International Auto Show Car of the Year in Detroit, Sunday, Jan. 7, 2007. AP Photo/Paul Sancya

General Motors Corp. says it has 16 buyers interested in purchasing its Saturn brand, while three parties are interested in the Swedish Saab brand.

Company CFO Ray Young told reporters and industry analysts on a conference call that GM is continuing to pursue manufacturing agreements with a new Saturn buyer.

Bridge loan discussions with the Swedish government are progressing, Young said.

He and CEO Fritz Henderson are hosting the call.

Earlier, GM had said it has a tentative deal to sell its Hummer brand. Young said the company is not prepared to identify the buyer because both sides are still working through sale documents.

GM will continue to make Hummers for the new buyer for a transition period. That deal is expected to close by the end of the third quarter.

GM will sell or get rid of Saab, Hummer, Saturn and Pontiac as it tries to shrink into a leaner, stronger company through its bankruptcy protection filing.

Henderson told CBS' The Early Show Tuesday that the company was still "open for business" and tried to allay fears the failed automaker would not honor existing warranties.

The struggling automaker, which has received $19.4 billion in U.S. government loans and will get a total of $50 billion in aid, hopes to emerge from bankruptcy protection in 60-90 days.

GM would like to keep the money-losing Saturn brand's dealership network, contracting with the new buyer to make some of its cars while the buyer gets other vehicles from different manufacturers.

At Saab Automobile, a Swedish court last month approved a three-month extension for its reconstruction process, in which a sale of the car maker is imminent.

The Vanersborg district court's ruling Friday means that the General Motors Corp.-owned unit can continue its process until Aug. 20, after which a new extension needs to be sought.

Trollhattan-based Saab went into creditor protection on Feb. 20 in an effort by GM to spin off or sell the unit.

GM has been trying to sell Hummer for months, with its dealers waiting for news.

Young said the new GM will be a leaner company with fewer executives and employees, and an ability to make faster decisions.

"We're still going to be a global company, but how we're going to operate as a global company will change," he said, especially with partnerships with other companies.
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