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Dutch luxury car maker Spyker interested in Saab

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - A second small luxury car maker, Spyker SPYKR.AS of the Netherlands, is talking to General Motors GM.UL about buying Saab Automobile, weeks after Sweden's Koenigsegg dropped its bid.

A spokesman for Spyker, which made 43 cars last year that sell for 200,000 euros ($301,400) and upwards, said the Dutch auto maker was interested in Sweden’s Saab and was talking to GM but declined to say whether it had submitted a bid.

Last month, Koenigsegg, which makes sports cars valued at $1 million, pulled out of a deal backed by China’s Beijing Automotive Industrial Holding Ltd (BAIC) to buy Saab, putting in doubt the future of the 60-year-old mass-market automaker, known for its 9-5 and 9-3 sedans.

U.S. automaker GM, which has been restructuring its European operations after a period in bankruptcy protection earlier in the year, has said it would consider offers for Saab until the end of December and then take steps to close it if nothing suitable materializes.

Automotive News first reported Spyker’s interest in Saab.

Spyker itself has never turned a profit and has had to secure financing since it was resurrected as a luxury car maker in 2000 to compete against Lamborghini, Ferrari FIA.MI and Bentley VOWG.DE.

Spyker’s roots go back to 1875, to a family firm that once built a coach for the Dutch royal family and later moved into automobiles and aircraft, but was liquidated in 1926.

The maker of the C8 Aileron and D8 luxury sport-utility vehicle got rescue financing in 2007 from Abu Dhabi’s sovereign fund Mubadala, which holds 23 percent, while Russian banking tycoon Vladimir Antonov holds 29.9 percent. Chief Executive Victor Muller owns 10 percent.

Saab has not made a profit since it was taken over by GM 20 years ago and estimated it would make a loss of 3 billion Swedish crowns ($434.5 million) this year and again in 2010.

It needs huge investment to bring its models up to date and reverse a dive in sales in recent years, and many analysts believe the brand has little future in an industry struggling with overcapacity.

As for Spyker, CEO Muller told Reuters in July that it still needed to secure financing for 2010.

Reporting by Reed Stevenson, editing by Will Waterman

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