STOCKHOLM - Swedish carmaker Saab said on Monday the field of potential bidders for the General Motors unit had been narrowed down to a few candidates with a final sale to be agreed hopefully sometime in early summer.

Saab sought protection from creditors in February to buy time to find a new owner after GM said it would cut ties with the brand by Jan. 1, 2010.

Sources told Reuters last week GM was running due diligence on 10 bidders for the company out of an original field of 27 with which it had signed confidentiality agreements.

Earlier on Monday Swedish news agency TT, citing the court-appointed administrator of Saab, reported two to three interested parties were still in the running. The administrator, Guy Lofalk, was not immediately available for comment.

I would say there are a few (left), spokesman Eric Geers told Reuters.

Those that are left are those who are extremely interested (in buying Saab).

Geers said Saab hoped to ink a deal sometime around early summer, in line with the June deadline for completion of a deal set by the company. Geers would not say which bidders remained in the process.

Italian automaker Fiat SpA (FIA.MI), which has agreed to acquire a stake in Chrysler LLC, has said it wants to merge its car unit with GM's European operations, which include Opel and Saab, to create the world's second-largest automaker after Toyota Motor Corp (7203.T).

Fiat did not bid in the first round of the Saab auction but said last week it has spoken with the Swedish government about buying Saab and GM said it welcomed Fiat's interest.

Saab, currently under business reorganisation, aims to win court approval for an extended period of creditor protection on May 20. (Reporting by Victoria Klesty; Editing by Sharon Lindores)