STOCKHOLM, Sweden (AP) -- The Swedish government on Wednesday said it's ready to support U.S.-owned automakers Volvo and Saab but doesn't want to take over the troubled brands.
Industry Minister Maud Olofsson said the center-right government would not be the best-suited buyer if Ford decides to sell Volvo and General Motors puts Saab up for sale.
"I don't see it as the government's task to own automakers," Olofsson told reporters in Stockholm. "I think the taxpayers have to understand that it is a risky project to invest their money and buy either Volvo or Saab at a time when there are such great losses."
The government was looking at other solutions to boost the Swedish car industry, for example by boosting funds for research and development, she said.
Her comments came as the government faces mounting pressure to prepare a rescue plan for Volvo and Saab, whose future has been thrown into uncertainty by the crisis in the U.S. auto industry.
Earlier this week, Ford reiterated its intention to offload Volvo, by either selling the Swedish automaker or spinning it off into a separate company, while GM said it was conducting an "expedited and strategic review" of Saab.
Olofsson said Sweden was in contact with the German government about how it plans to deal with GM-owned Opel, noting that Saab and Opel have been closely linked within the GM system.
GM and Opel officials have met with German Chancellor Angela Merkel to ask the German government for €1 billion ($1.3 billion) in loan guarantees.
Merkel said last week the government would monitor the situation at GM in the U.S. She said the government should come to a decision on the matter by Christmas.
For Saab, Olofsson outlined two options: either GM develops new models with broader appeal to the market, or a new owner comes in to boost the brand. She noted, however, that it might be hard to find a buyer given the industry's woes.
"There aren't any lines forming of buyers who want to invest in the auto industry," Olofsson said.
Still, Saab officials have said there are a number of companies interested in buying the brand.
"There are many interested parties," Saab Automobiles Chief Executive Jan Ake Jonsson told Swedish radio, but didn't give details.