IMPORTANT NEWS: National Electric Vehicle Sweden has agreed to buy the assets of Saab Automobile and the sale is expected to be finalized during the summer.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Saab up and running again - More on the production disruption at Saab

Update II: According to Victor Muller, it was a transport company that wanted better payment which caused the the production disruption on Tuesday afternoon. In other words, it was just a silly little thing that lead to massive bad publicity.

Update I: Factory up and running according to Expressen, so maybe this was just a storm in a teacup:
Saab factory operating as usual
Production at Saab Automobile in Trollhättan started as usual on Wednesday morning after Tuesday's stop, said press spokesman Thomas Schulz.
The morning shift starts at half past seven in the factory. About the Tuesday's stop, Schulz says:
- There was some disturbance in the afternoon. I can not say exactly how long it lasted, but there was some problems with the incoming parts.

Swedish radio was in contact with Victor Muller last night:

New questions about Saab's financial state
Saab Automobile is reported to have problems paying the subcontractors. Deliveries have been stopped and yesterday the factory in Trollhattan stood still. Saab's President Victor Muller confirmed that the factory had stopped, but did not want to talk about what caused it.

- We have always temporary stops, but there's nothing we're talking about, said Muller.
Is the stop due to unpaid invoices?
- No, I do not think so. I'm in the middle of a meeting, but we definitely do not comment on something like that.
Saab's chairman Victor Muller is saying that he does not believe that the recent production has stopped because the Saab has been unable to pay bills. But several sources say that Saab yesterday forced to suspend production after supplies failed to arrive because of unpaid bills.
Hakan Skött, Chairman of the IF Metall union at the factory in Trollhattan, confirmed to TT that production stopped because of problems with material deliveries.

Svenåke Berglie, president of Automotive Suppliers Association, says that Saab has had problems paying its suppliers on time.

Advertising agency Lowe Brindfors has long had cooperation with Saab, but now stops working with the company since the ad agency has not been paid since December, according to Resumé online edition.

The questions are piling up around Saab.

On Friday the news was that Jan-Åke Jonsson has resigned as president of the company.

The National Debt Office is the guarantor for the loan of 400 million euros that the European Investment Bank gave to Saab when it was most turbulent around the company. Following the announcement last Friday, Bo Lundgren at the National Debt Office wanted to know more about what the change in Saab's leadership would mean.
The National Debt Office said on radio that they have now had contact with Saab, but would not go into what has been said. However, new contact with Saab can be neccesary after the news on the production stop.
According to the business plan, Saab should have sold 80 000 (wrong, correct number is 65 000 - Arild) cars last year, but ended at only 30 000. And thus lot less money than expected came to the company. Last year, Saab had a loss of around SEK 1.3 billion.

The halt in production yesterday, is another sign that things are going really bad for the brand. But President Victor Muller does not want to answer questions about how Saab is doing.

- I'm in the middle of an interview now, it's not the time to talk about it. But the situation is okay.

So you have no major problems?
- No of course not.

I will update as new information becomes available.