Saab, the Swedish-based subsidiary of General Motors Corp. (GM), filed for bankruptcy protection Friday, officials said.

The move comes after the Swedish government declined GM's request to help Saab. Saab, in turn, went to a Swedish court for protection from its creditors and asked the Swedish government for help to restructure in a process similar to a Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the US.

We explored and will continue to explore all available options for funding and/or selling Saab and it was determined a formal restructuring would be the best way to create a truly independent entity that is ready for investment, Saab's managing director, Jan Ake Jonsson, said in a statement.

Saab also said that the company would continue to operate as usual.

Support from the Swedish government is still uncertain. Support in the form of money is not on the agenda, a spokesman for the industry ministry, Hakan Lind said, according to Reuters.

GM bought a half interest of Saab two decades ago and assumed full ownership in the 1990s. But Saab is G.M.'s worst-selling brand in the United States, selling 21,383 vehicles in 2008, down 34.7 percent from 2007. Its best-selling vehicle is the 9-3, of which G.M. sold just over 10,000 cars last year.

Saab lost about 3 billion Swedish crowns or $343 million in 2008 and said it would lose a similar amount this year. It has about 4,000 employees in Sweden, according to New York Times.